Cadets Plus Catch-Up Make For Busy Weekend

Gunfleet Sailing Club held its final Sailing On Saturday (SOS) for Cadets and Otters on 4 September and this included the last race in the SOS Series for Toppers and Topazes.  As the Topper fleet got underway both Simon Mathewson and Ben Richardson got cracking good starts and were neck and neck as they headed to the Kingscliff buoy.  In a brisk force three wind the small craft went at a great pace, and as they reached the first mark Mathewson pulled ahead and maintained the position to take first place, with Richardson second and Robert Gutteridge third.  Twenty minutes after the Toppers had started the five Topazes got underway.  The Withams boys were first over the start line with Bethany Ford challenging them on their windward side.  The Withams hung onto this lead until the Seaward buoy but on the broad reach down to the AWS mark positions changed.  As the craft then headed to the Eastcliff buoy it was Charlie Venables and George David who got in front but Ford cut inside them at the mark only to be overtaken on the very last leg with Venables and David receiving the winning gun.  Further back Charlie and Harry Spence were battling it out with Connor and Finlay Williams with the Williams boys slipping ahead at the last minute.      
Results – SOS Races:
Topper Series – Overall:
1. Sebastien Mathewson
2. Robert Gutteridge
3. Zak Kurtulus
Topaz Series – Overall:
1. Bethany Ford
2. Charlie Venables and George David
3. Ben and Oli Withams

There then followed the postponed race for the Cadet Single Helm and again at the start it was Mathewson and Richardson both neck and neck, ahead of the Topazes.  Just as in the previous race it was Mathewson that pulled ahead to win the race and claim the Trophy.

On Sunday the Gunfleet played catch-up, holding two races postponed from earlier in the season due to unsuitable weather conditions at the time.  The first race was for the Wallet Trophy and both Matthew Gough in his Laser and Mark and George Venables in their Topaz were over the line.  The individual recall flag was hoisted and Gough, realising his mistake, returned to the start line to cross it again but unfortunately the Venables boys continued racing and were therefore disqualified.  In a force three, touching four, easterly wind the fleet beat towards the Kingscliff buoy and first around the mark was Sonny Hart in his Solution.  Catching him up fast, on the reach out to the Seaward buoy, was Matt Downing in his new Contender.  This extremely fast boat with its large sail area is a handful to any experienced sailor but Cadet member Downing showed he had control of the craft in some quite lively conditions.  Ben Withams and Ben Richardson capsized their Laser 3000 as they rounded the mark when Richardson went flying off the trapeze.  Having righted the boat they found the jib badly caught-up and were forced to retire back to the Club.  The rest of the competitors boats headed down to the Eastcliff buoy before beating back out to sea.  By this time Hart appeared to have gained a reasonable lead but then took the wrong course and lost many minutes overstepping the next buoy.  Yvonne Gough sailed her Laser hard to take-up the lead and husband Matthew chased determinedly after her, picking off the other competitors as the race went on, both taking first and second respectively. 

Results – Wallet Trophy:
1. Laser – Yvonne Gough
2. Laser – Matthew Gough
3. Solution – Sonny Hart

By the second race, for the Bill Clarke Shield, the wind had freshened and was now a good force four.  Immediately pulling ahead was Paul Stanton in his Laser.  Once again the Laser 3000 had trouble, this time with its rudder, and it retired early; whilst the freshening winds were proving rather too much for Downing in his Contender.  On the reach to the Seaward buoy he pulled the boat on top of him and was carried away trying to regain control.  As in the first race Yvonne Gough was lapping-up the conditions and giving Stanton a run for his money.  At the end of the first lap it was Stanton leading, Yvonne Gough second and Hart third.  By the second lap the wind had strengthened to force five with some large waves rolling in.  As the fleet beat out to sea Hart capsized twice and decided to retire, giving Peter Downer the opportunity to take third place in his Comet.

Results: Bill Clarke Shield
1. Laser – Paul Stanton
2. Laser – Yvonne Gough
3. Comet – Peter Downer