Potts Wins The Long Distance Race

Gunfleet Sailing Club held its long distance race for the Jim Suckling Shield last Sunday 2 October 2022 in almost summery conditions, with Ken Potts sailing home to victory in his Laser.

Once again, an offshore wind greeted the competitors, a gentle force three north-westerly providing a flat sea; the tide having turned just before the start and now flooding.  Following a clean start it was Dave Ingle and John Tappenden that lead the fleet in their RS Aeros, but it wasn’t long before Potts was in amongst them; Simon Kedge just behind in the Topaz.  The first leg was a reach down the coast to the St. Michael’s buoy with the buildings on the land causing a few wind shadows, and gusts.  Potts managed to slip in front and was first round St. Michael’s, followed by Tappenden and then Ingle.  The second leg was a slightly broader reach back to the Lilley Farm mark before an even broader reach out on the third leg to the Seaward buoy.  At this point, frustratingly for Chris Maloney in his Solo, he seemed unable to shake off Peter Downer in his Comet who clung doggedly well up the fleet.  Further back were Eddie White’s Comet and Rob Locket’s Mirror; both helms having their own private tussle.  Once round Seaward it was a beat in to the Eastcliff buoy and at this stage different tactics were taken with some tacking early and using the flood tide to hurry them on their way, whilst others just hardened-up, aimed for the shore, and let the tide pull them towards the mark.  By now, Robert Mitchell had slipped into third place in his Laser but couldn’t touch Potts or Tappenden.  From Eastcliff it was a long reach up the coast to the Holland Haven buoy, which Potts was the first to round, and then a long fetch back to the Preston Park buoy.  Unfortunately Downer forgot to round this and headed straight for the line, resulting in disqualification, and it looked like Kedge was going to follow suit, but at the last minute corrected himself and rounded Preston Park, beat in to the Kingscliff mark and successfully completed the course.

It was particularly pleasing to see four of the Club’s Cadets and Otters out; Laura Kedge, Finley Taylor, Adam Kedge, and Belle Hart all racing their Toppers and showing they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. 

Results – Autumn Series - Overall:  
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    RS Aero – John Tappenden
3.    Laser – Robert Mitchell

Course Board
Date 2 October 2022
Race Jim Suckling Long Distance Trophy
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 3
Wind Direction North-Westerly
High Tide 16:41
Course St. M - LF - S - E - H - PP - K - Line