Paul Takes His Laser To Victory In Closely Fought Battle

For the third Wednesday running, the weather for evening racing on 15 May 2024 at Gunfleet Sailing Club proved just perfect; a force three east/north-easterly breeze, a slight sea, and the last of the day’s sunshine.

Eighteen boats took to the water and they all amassed at the far end of the line, drawing closer as the seconds ticked by.  As the start gun echoed across the water the boats surged forward on starboard tack but, unfortunately Dave Ingle in his RS Aero, and Andy Dunnett in his Laser, were just too eager and the individual recall flag was instantly hoisted.  Ingle immediately returned round the Outer Distance Mark, losing valuable time, but Dunnett pushed on and was disqualified.  The fleet was quick to put in a tack and head out to sea, so gaining the benefit of the ebb tide, and it wasn’t long before the leaders made the Kingscliff buoy; Tim Dye’s Laser was first to round it, followed by Dunnett, then Robert Mitchell and Ken Potts, both in Lasers, and then the RS Aero of Derroll Pedder.  A short fetch to the Preston Park buoy saw Mitchell just behind Dye, with the four Lasers closely bunched on the run down the coast to the Eastcliff mark.  As they rounded the buoy to then beat back to Preston Park it was, the unfortunately disqualified, Dunnett now leading, with Dye and Potts practically level-pegging; Pedder laying fourth, followed by Mitchell and then Paul Stanton in his Laser.  As the boats headed back up the coast so the Lasers and RS Aeros were in juxtaposition; the two classes battling it out, both within their own groups and as a whole.  Rounding the Preston Park buoy it was, first, the Lasers of Dunnett, Potts, Dye, Mitchell and Stanton, followed by the Aeros of Pedder, Martin Chivers, Brian Allen and Ingle.  Slightly further back were the other classes, including Chris Maloney in his Solo, Paul Jackson and Chris Sutton, and Paul Jackson in their GP14s, Eddie White in his Comet, and Andy Stafford, out for the first time in his new Lightning.  The following leg was a broad reach out to the Seaward mark, a gybe, and then what was supposed to be a broad reach in to Eastcliff, but due the adverse effect of the ebb tide, turned into more of a run.  Finally it was a beat back to the line.  At the end of the first lap it was Potts in the leading boat, followed by Stanton, who had pushed his way up the fleet, and then, just one second behind, Dye.  

The second lap saw some more very close racing, and change of positions within the classes.  Unfortunately Dye did himself no favours when he had to complete a 360 degree penalty for hitting a buoy, Allen managed to take his RS Aero ahead of Chivers, whilst Ingle, still smarting from being over the line at the start, closed the gap considerably on his fellow Aeros.  Kedge, sailing singlehanded in his GP14, took a lead on Jackson and Sutton, but then lost it, and Stafford capsized his Lightning and, having righted it, retired back to the beach.  All the time, Stanton was snapping at Potts’s heels, and he saw his chance as the competitors rounded the last mark at Eastcliff.  Potts tacked out to sea before heading for the line, whilst Stanton simply sheeted in, hardened-up, and made a course straight for the finish; his tactic paid off and Stanton took the winning gun, just two seconds ahead of Potts.  Meanwhile, Yvonne Gough in her Laser, split the Aeros, coming in seventh between Pedder and Allen.  It was also good to see a group of Cadets sailing in their Toppers, especially Brooke Sayer, out for the first time in her new boat.

Results – Tony Chadd Series - 3:
1.    Laser – Paul Stanton
2.    Laser – Ken Potts
3.    Laser –Tim Dye

Course Board
Date 15 May 2024
Race Tony Chadd Series - 3
Start Time 19:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 3
Wind Direction East/North-Easterly
High Tide 18:05
Course K - PP - E - PP - S - E - Line