Maloney Wins By Just 1 Second

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the final race in its Winter Series on Sunday 27 November, and so concluded a very full programme of sailing events for 2022.

The weather had been forecast as unsettled, and competitors were greeted with steady rain and a falling breeze; not the most attractive conditions to say goodbye to the season.  As the boats crept towards the start line so the wind veered south-southwest and dropped to 5 mph but with a flood tide under them the helms were away; Ken Potts leading the fleet in his Laser, followed by John Tappenden’s RS Aero and Robert Mitchell in his Laser.  Whilst the main body of dinghies remained on port tack, staying close to shore as they headed down the coast to the Eastcliff mark, Chris Maloney tacked early and headed out to sea in his Solo.  Whilst this gave him the benefit of a slightly stronger tide to hurry him on his way, it did mean that as he reached the buoy on port tack he would have give way to any boat on starboard.  By now Tappenden had taken the lead, but the second leg proved quite a painful reach out to the Seaward buoy, the helms having to compensate for the tide which was now acting against them.  Paul Stanton, in his Laser, appeared to be closing the gap on his rivals but the light airs made it a very slow affair.  As they rounded Seaward it was Tappenden, followed by Potts, Mitchell, and then Stanton; Eddie White in his Comet beginning to trail a bit.  It was surprising, on the third leg into the AWS buoy, to see one or two of the more experienced helms being caught by the tide and getting dragged towards Clacton Pier, but Maloney used this faux-pas by others to work his way up into fourth place.  The boats then crept out to sea before what should have been a run up to the Kingscliff buoy.  However, it was realised that the negative tide, coupled with an almost non-existent wind, would only hold the boats stationery so helms made back towards the shore before gybing and reaching parallel to the water’s edge.  Tappenden hoped he had cracked it by coming in as close as possible but Mitchell and Maloney both spotted a breeze appearing just a little further out and took full advantage; they were away and rounded Kingscliff ahead of the rest of the fleet.  Maloney was actually first to round the buoy but Mitchell slipped past him and pulled away as they sailed, close hauled, to the finish line; the race having been shortened to one lap.  When the handicaps were calculated it was victory for Maloney over Mitchell, by just one second, Potts coming third; the latter’s position being sufficient to take the series overall. 

Results – Winter Series - Overall:  
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    Solo – Chris Maloney
3.    Laser – Robert Mitchell


Course Board
Date 27 November 2022
Race Winter Series - 6
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 1 - 2
Wind Direction South-Southwest
High Tide 13:50
Course E - S - AWS - S - K - Line