Gunfleet Regatta Success

Gunfleet Sailing Club had a full and fun-filled weekend on 9 & 10 July when it held its annual Regatta with some 30 boats taking part.

Saturday was focused on the younger members of the Club when the Gunfleet Cadet Day took place, with a wide variety of games starting with the Treasure Hunt; this took the many teams along the coast, in both directions, looking for clues and scouring the beach for objects.  Further games then followed involving gathering plastic bottles out of the sea containing numbers and letters, and concluded with the tug-of-war and ever-popular egg throwing competition. 

On Sunday morning the race for the RNLI Shield got underway in a light south westerly wind and first across the start line was Derroll Pedder in his Vortex, followed very closely by Cadets Connor and Finlay Williams in their Topaz.  The fleet tacked slowly down the coast in the last of the ebb tide, many of the craft groyne-hopping to mitigate the adverse current.  The first leg took the competitors to St. Michael’s buoy and there then followed a run back to the Eastcliff mark before a reach out to the Seaward buoy.  Pedder continued to maintain his lead, although snapping at his heels was Kelvin Morton in his RS600; both boats being part of the fast handicap fleet.  In the medium handicap fleet it was John Tappenden that led with Barry Peters in his Comet Duo coming in a little way behind him; whilst in the slow handicap fleet the Williams brothers kept everyone else at bay.  As the race went on so the wind started to freshen and, with the sun shining on the wavelets, it made a picturesque view for the public strolling by.  Unfortunately Sebastien Mahewson capsized his Byte as he rounded the Kingscliff mark and, due to gear failure, was forced to retire.

During the second lap the wind picked up to a pleasant force three and veered round to the south but had little impact on the final positions.  All money from the weekend is presented to the Clacton Lifeboat station and the Club welcomed both lifeboats and their crew to the clubhouse at lunchtime.

Results: RNLI Shield
1. Blaze – John Tappenden
2. Comet Duo – Barry Peter
3. Vortex – Derroll Pedder
1st Under 18’s – Topaz – Conor and Finlay Williams

In the afternoon class racing took place with individual starts and courses, along with trophies for the winners.  First fleet away was the Sea Rangers and despite an early lead by Richard Walker in “Scallywag” it was Fred Webster that pulled ahead in “Curlew” on the second leg and held onto it to take the winning gun.  The Toppers followed five minutes after the Sea Rangers and it was Ben Richardson who powered his craft into a commanding first place with Tom Fadden second and Robert Gutteridge hot on his tail in the third place.  In the Topaz fleet once again the Williams brothers lead the way, although Aaron Baker gave the boys a run for their money, followed closely by Bethany Ford.  Those that enjoyed some nail-biting competition certainly enjoyed the Laser race when the fleet appeared inseparable.  For much of the time Yvonne Gough kept the rest of the craft behind her but towards the end of the second lap Paul Stanton eventually broke rank and slipped ahead with Andy Dunnett then following suit.  In the Solution class Eddie White challenged Mark Venables throughout the race but it was Venables that took the winning gun.  The visiting catamarans from Clacton Sailing Club had a course that took them right down to Clacton Pier, and after three laps the difference between the leader Robert Mitchell and Peter Boxer in second position was just a few seconds.  And finally the menagerie fleet were off, with all those boats racing that couldn’t constitute a separate class start.  Once again it was Tappenden that lead throughout in his Blaze with Morton in second place in his RS600 and Pedder third in his Vortex.

Class Racing Winners:
Sea Rangers – Trefoil Trophy: “Curlew” – Fred Webster
Toppers – Mad Hatter Challenge Trophy: Ben Richardson
Topazes – Dave Fowell Trophy: Conor and Finlay Williams
Lasers – Paxton Jug: Paul Stanton
Solutions – Tim Webster Tankard: Mark Venables
Catamarans – Tottie Trophy: Robert Mitchell
Menagerie – 1893 Regatta Trophy: Blaze – John Tappenden