Andy Dunnett Takes The Autumn - 3 Winning Gun

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s third race in its Autumn Series was held under tricky conditions, with a strong offshore wind requiring the competitors to be on their toes at all times.

Preparing their craft in the compound gave a false impression to the sailors as the West/North-Westerly wind blew straight over the cliff, but the gusting shadows on the water left nobody in doubt it was going to be a lively sail.  The Lasers had radial or 4.7 rigs whilst the Topper had a 4.2 sail to ensure maximum control.  As the seconds ticked away so Robert Mitchell found himself just a bit too close to the line, in his Laser, and bore away in time to avoid being the wrong side as the start gun echoed across the water.  On a reach down the coast to the Lilley Farm buoy Mitchell found himself windward side of Andy Dunnett’s Laser, both going like a train against the last of the ebb tide.  With the offshore wind not only varying in strength as it blew between the buildings, but also altering direction with no warning, it was of little surprise that Eddie White retired back to the comfort of the beach in his Comet.  Meanwhile Yvonne Gough was determined not to let her Laser fall behind the two leading boats, whilst Brian Allen was the first to capsize as he reached Lilley Farm in his Laser.  A little further back there appeared to be a battle going on between father and son Simon and Adam Kedge in the Topaz and Topper respectively, with son Adam pushing his dad to the limit.  The second leg of the race saw a beat to the Eastcliff buoy, and Mitchell took this cleanly and began to pull away as the competitors broad-reached to the AWS mark; sheeting in a little as they continued to the Preston Park buoy.   A close fetch to the Kingscliff mark saw little change and it was then a second fetch back to the line.  At this point Gough had problems with her outhaul and lost a bit of time as she tried to resolve the problem.  Meanwhile Adam Kedge clearly had the better of his father until he was hit by a sudden gust and failed to dump the main quick enough, resulting in an instant capsize.  However, he could take some comfort in the fact that a number of other sailors capsized.  On the second lap Dunnett worked hard and he closed the gap on Mitchell between Lilley Farm and Eastcliff, resulting in the two being side by side as they made for AWS.  By the time the boats got to Preston Park, Dunnett had pulled ahead, and on the third lap Mitchell capsized at Lilley Farm, allowing Dunnett to seal his victory. 

Results – Autumn Series - 3:  
1.    Laser – Andy Dunnett
2.    Laser – Robert Mitchell
3.    Laser – Yvonne Gough