Gunfleet Cadet Week Heralded A Great Success

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Cadet Week was heralded a tremendous success following its conclusion last Friday 26 August.  Forty Five young Club members took part in a week of sailing activities, including a cruise up the coast for a picnic and games, record breaking day; such as how many people can fit on a Topaz before capsizing, how high up the mast one can climb, and kissing the bow of a boat when on its side.  There was also a sail up to the Air Show to watch the [img_assist|nid=473|title=Just because he wouldn't eat all his dinner!!|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=141]planes from offshore, and a day of games on and off the water.

The weather started mixed and variable on a number of days but always brightened up just as the young people appeared at the Club.  One of the biggest successes of the week was training a [img_assist|nid=493|title=Let's go for it|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=180|height=135]number of very young novices to helm their own boats.  Club Cadet Officer Andy Ford said “As well as the Club’s Cadets and Otters having a great time on the water each day many of them significantly improved their sailing skills and are now starting to give the more seasoned adult sailors a real run for their money”. 

On Sunday evening there was a mammoth “End of Cadet Week Party” with over 100 people at the Clubhouse.  Following a massive barbecue and firework display every young [img_assist|nid=497|title=The Clubhouse is heaving, Let the End of Cadet Week Party begin|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=180|height=135]participant was given a unique 2011 Cadet Week T-shirt.  “It was a fantastic end to a fantastic week in which so many Club members worked very hard to ensure its success – the party was just the icing on the cake” Ford said.

During the day on Sunday the Gunfleet held the race for the Tee Dee Challenge Cup with seventeen boats taking part.  What started off as a pleasant westerly wind soon blew up, gusting force 6, and made for some lively conditions.  The competitors, on the first leg to the Eastcliff mark, were torn between beating close to the shore, mitigating the effects of the very strong ebbing tide but sailing under the shadow of the cliffs, or staying further offshore to gain the full impact of the wind but fighting a stronger tide.  In the end those close to shore benefited the most but once on a run out to the Seaward mark a number of capsizes rearranged the positions a number of times.  Several of the less experienced members found the conditions a bit too much and subsequently retired.  At one point it looked like Simon Clarke was a sure favourite to win the race but when tacking around the AWS buoy his mainsheet pulley block came away from its tower and he struck the mark.  Having sorted out the technical problems with the boat Clarke completed a 360 degree penalty and went on to take a very respectable second place.   

Results: Tee Dee Challenge Trophy
1. Blaze – John Tappenden
2. Solution – Simon Clarke
3. Solution – Paul Davis

On Bank Holiday Monday it was the turn of Gunfleet’s female sailors, when they took part in the race for the Austin Ladies Trophy.  Under a grey sky and squally offshore winds the fleet beat to the Eastcliff buoy with Yvonne Gough taking an early lead in her Laser.  Not far behind her was Cadet Bethany Ford in a Topaz but having reached out to the Seaward mark in very good time she lost a number of minutes when she capsized whilst gybing round the buoy.  Slightly further back, and racing for the very first time in a Topper, was Otter Darcie Baker who found the strengthening winds just a little too much and was forced to retire.  Several of the competitors were caught out by the very strong ebb tide on the beat down to the AWS buoy and had to work hard to compensate for this on the run back out to sea.  At the end of the first lap it was clear Gough had a good lead but during the second and final lap Ford narrowed the gap significantly but just missed out on claiming victory.

Results: Austin Ladies Trophy
1. Laser – Yvonne Gough
2. Topaz – Bethany Ford
3. Pico – Lesley Sacre