Finley Is A Real Show STopper

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the sixth, and penultimate, race in its Wednesday evening Tony Chadd Series on 5 June 2024, with victory going to Finley Taylor in his Topper.

Sunshine and blue skies greeted the competitors but a west/north-westerly force 3 to 4 wind dictated it would be gusty conditions.  The helms had to be cautious as they inched their way to the start line as the flood tide risked taking them the wrong side.  As the seconds ticked by, the boats got closer...and closer, but with almost perfect helm precision the race got underway and Derroll Pedder immediately lead the fleet in his RS Aero, followed by Ken Potts and Andy Dunnett, both in Lasers, and John Tappenden in his RS Aero.  With the wind veering more offshore it meant that most boats got to the first mark, at Eastcliff, on a fetch, and as they rounded this buoy it was Pedder that continued to head the fleet but, following him, the places had changed; now it was Robert Mitchell second in his Laser, Brian Allen third in his RS Aero, and then Tappenden, Potts and Dunnett.  The dinghies remained heavily bunched as they ran out to the Seaward buoy, with Allen rounding it first, and then Mitchell and Potts, both neck and neck, and so close that Potts hit the mark but went round it once again.  The third leg was a beat back to Eastcliff and both Tappenden and Dunnett tacked early, breaking away from the rest of the fleet and getting clean air as they headed towards Clacton Pier.  However, they tacked back a little late and realised they were going to overstep the mark so found themselves easing the mainsheet and reaching to the buoy; the increased speed helping to make up for the extra distance.  Tappenden rounded Eastcliff first, but Dunnett had to watch Allen, Mitchell, Potts and Pedder slip round before him.  There then followed a reach out to the Lilley Farm mark, a gybe, and then a second reach up the coast to the Preston Park buoy.  At this point Martin Chivers in his RS Aero was challenging Pedder, whilst Yvonne Gough, in her Laser Radial was level with Simon Kedge in his GP14; slightly further back was Andy Stafford in his Lightning.  However, whilst all this action was going on in the medium fleet, there was a real battle in the slow fleet as Adam Kedge and Finley Taylor challenged each other in their Toppers.  Taylor had lead up to the end of the third leg but as they got to the Eastcliff buoy, Kedge cut tight round the mark and managed to get in front.  Back in the medium fleet, Tappenden lead round Preston Park, the short beat to Kingscliff, and then the fetch back to the line.  At the end of their first lap it was Tappenden first, then Potts, and third Mitchell, on handicap.  Meanwhile. in the slow fleet, Kedge lead right up to the last leg, but by now the wind had backed westerly and a tacking match ensued; Taylor managing to point just a little higher.  With the slow fleet only having to complete one lap, all eyes were on this tussle, and as the helms reached the finish line, Taylor had the lead by a whisker.  At this point both Toppers lay fifth and sixth overall, but on the medium fleet’s second lap the wind began to fall away, and whilst Potts squeezed in front of Tappenden, on handicap, he could only gain third place against the two Toppers.  

Results – Tony Chadd Series - 6:
1.    Topper – Finley Taylor
2.    Topper – Adam Kedge
3.    Laser – Ken Potts

Course Board
Date 5 June 2024
Race Tony Chadd Series - 6
Start Time 19:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 3 to 4 falling
Wind Direction West/North-Westerly
High Tide 11:46
Course E - S - E - LF - PP - K - Line