The Chase Takes Tim To Victory

The superb weather brought eighteen boats onto the water for the Gunfleet Sailing Club Chase on Sunday 23 June 2024.  This is a unique race where, using the official national handicaps, each class of boat has its own start time, and at pre-announced finish time, all craft should be level with each other; therefore, at that moment in time, whoever is leading has won.

There were nine separate starts which certainly kept the Race Officer and Flags Assistant on their toes.  First away was Chris Maloney in his Comet and he was quick to head-up to the Kingscliff buoy on a reach, despite the adverse flood tide, and then beat out to the Seaward mark.  Three minutes later it was the turn of the Lightning, sailed by Andy Stafford to be off, and so give chase to Maloney.  The Europe of Simon Clarke was next to go, a minute later, and then, after a further minute it was the turn of Michael Gutteridge in his Solo, and Simon Kedge and Dave Fowell in their GP14.  All the time, Maloney was covering the course, running from Seaward to AWS and then beating back out to Seaward.  A couple of minutes on, and the Lasers were released and knew there was much ground to be covered if they wanted to take top spot.  The lone RS Aero 7 of Martin Chivers followed three minutes after the Lasers, and after another minute the two RS 200’s were off, John and Sarah Heath immediately using their asymmetric spinnaker and pulling away.  Another two minutes went by and the fleet of RS Aero 9s were heading up the coast, and a staggering 34 minutes after the Comet started its race, the A Class catamaran of Pete Boxer was on its way, with a massive task ahead of it.

After Maloney reached the Seaward buoy, he then headed down the coast, on a reach, to the St. Michael’s buoy and it was at this point Clarke surged ahead in his Europe.  Even now, the Lasers of Tim Dye and Andy Dunnett, having started much later than several competitors, had skilfully passed a number of boats and were in third and fourth place respectively; Kedge and Fowell next, and then Gutteridge; the latter being overtaken by Chivers at St. Michaels.  After one lap of the course, Clarke maintained the lead but, by now, Dye was second and Maloney third.  Places continued to change, further back, and in the RS Aero 9s it was Derroll Pedder that kept ahead of classmates Brian Allen and Dave Ingle.  Boxer, with what appeared “a mountain to climb”, soon picked-off his rivals, moving from 14th to 8th to 4th and then challenging the top three.  Over an hour after the start, Dye passed Clarke and held back all the others to take the winning gun.

Results – The Chase:
1.    Laser – Tim Dye
2.    Europe – Simon Clarke
3.    A Class Cat – Pete Boxer

Course Board
Date 23 June 2024
Race The Chase
Finish Time 12:30
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 3 to 4
Wind Direction Southerly
High Tide 13:43
Course K - S - AWS - S - St. M - Line