Chris Claims A Resounding Victory In Very Trying Conditions

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the fourth race in its Winter Series with Chris Maloney taking a convincing win in his Solo.

After a thick mist lifted earlier in the morning, a light breeze appeared from the east and competitors rigged-up in the hope that the wind might continue to freshen throughout the day.  Alas, the force two fell away to just 3 mph as the dinghies launched and headed for the line, the flooding tide proving to be slightly stronger and pulling the boats towards Clacton Pier.  As the minutes ticked by, before the start, so the sailors managed to make their way to the line but it was five minutes after the “off” that Maloney was the first to cross the line and edge his way up the coast towards the Kingscliff buoy.  He was followed by John Tappenden in his RS Aero, then Ken Potts and Robert Mitchell in their Lasers; the others slowly following on behind.  With the hint of a bit more breeze slightly offshore the helms were torn between tacking close to shore, and doing the usual groyne-hopping, to mitigate the negative effect of the tide, or heading out into the stronger tide with the aim of catching that extra bit of wind.  But as is always the case, the wind, what little of it there was, seemed to shift just as the boats arrived.  By now both Eddie White in his Comet, and Finley Taylor in the Topper, had accepted a tow by the Club’s Safety Boat back towards the shore as the strong tide proved too much.  Twenty five minutes after the start the wind did freshen just a little and the boats reached the first mark, Maloney still leading.  The second leg was a beat out to the Preston Park buoy and by now frustration was starting to set in; Dave Ingle deciding he had had enough in his RS Aero and heading home, Dave Fowell following shortly after in his Solo.  Tappenden set a course for the buoy but found himself being drawn away from it; however some fine pointing and considerable concentration got his RS Aero round the second mark first, followed by Maloney, then Mitchell.  Brian Allen decided to sail standing up and force a steady shape in the sail of his Laser, and this seemed to be working well.  Potts felt he too had sat out there quite long enough and made for the shore, by which time Tappenden was heading out to the Seaward mark, ensuring he compensated sufficiently for the pull of the tide to avoid being swept past it.  After that it was a reach to the Lilley Farm buoy and a close haul back to the line, and much to everyone’s relief the shorten course flag was hanging from the yardarm, albeit completely limp.  And despite the best efforts of both Tappenden and Mitchell it was Maloney that took the honours with some fine sailing.

Results – Winter Series - 4:  
1.    Solo – Chris Maloney
2.    RS Aero – John Tappenden
3.    Laser – Robert Mitchell