Uninviting Conditions For First of the Autumn Series

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the first race in its Autumn Series last Sunday morning 13 August when fourteen boats took part.  Grey skies, with heavy cloud and a gusting offshore wind that veered between north and north west, made conditions fairly uninviting and certainly kept helms on their toes.  Simon Clarke in his Solution lead on the first leg to the Kingscliff buoy although all the boats, be it the Vortex of Simon Mathewson or the Comet Zero of Roy Wyatt, stayed surprisingly close together.  There then followed a speedy run to the Seaward mark before a beat back to the Kingscliff buoy.  It was this last leg that saw positions change as the competitors tried different tactics.  Unfortunately a number of craft took the buoy the wrong way but, with the exception of Andy Dunnett sailing a Laser, those in error returned to correct their mistake.  The reach to the Eastcliff buoy, hooking around AWS saw competitors achieve some impressive speed and then the boats headed back to the line.  In the classes it was Clarke who lead the Solutions although Eddie White took an impressive second position, whilst in the Lasers, following Dunnett’s disqualification, it was Matt Downing that showed the fleet the way around the course.

Results – Autumn Series1:

1.  Blaze – John Tappenden
2.  Solution – Simon Clarke
3.  RS 600 – Ken Potts

In the afternoon the Club held its class racing postponed from Regatta Day.  In conditions that were far from pleasant it was good to see so many of the younger members of the Club racing for the first time in their Toppers and Topazes.  In the Topper race it was Tom Dench that lead for the first part of the race but on the beat back to the Kingscliff buoy from Seaward Tom Fadden slipped ahead and then pulled away to take the winning gun.  In the Topaz class places changed a number of times.  Charlie and Harry Spence did extremely well although a sudden strong gust of wind capsized them out by the Seaward buoy.  After capsizing a number of times in their Topaz Tilly Thomas and Anna Challis were towed into shore by the Club Safety Boat which left the battle between Dan Challis and Robert Gutteridge, and the solo sailor Aaron Baker.  It was a very close thing but at the end of the day it was Challis and Gutteridge that crossed the line first.  Clarke dominated the Solutions with Sonny Hart second and Dave Fowell third, and in the menagerie fleet it was Dunnett first, followed by Downing and then Paul and Katie Davis third in the Xenon.

Sea Ranger – Richard Walker
Topper – Tom Fadden
Topaz – Dan Challis and Robert Gutteridge
Solution – Simon Clarke
Menagerie – Andy Dunnett (Laser)