A Summer Scene For The Winter Series

Members of the Gunfleet Sailing Club could have been forgiven for thinking it was still summer last Sunday 20 November when they took part in the fourth race of the Winter Series.  Early sea mist lifted to reveal blue sky and unbroken sunshine but sadly, for a sailor, very little wind.  With an hour to go before low tide the competing boats ghosted to the start line on a flat sea with a 3 mph east/south easterly breeze.  The helms held back at the start for fear of crossing the line too early, mindful of the last of the ebb, and first away was Cadet Matt Downing in his Contender, followed very closely by another Cadet, Robert Gutteridge, in a Laser.  The first leg to the Kingscliff buoy didn’t take too long and there then followed a close haul out to the Seaward mark.  As the boats reached the offshore buoy it was still clearly anybody’s race with yet another Cadet, Sebastien Mathewson in his Byte, once again in amongst the faster handicapped craft.  As the fleet headed in towards the AWS buoy the wind became even lighter and as they rounded the mark the helms were faced with a daunting tack back out to sea.  Eddie White in his Solution was doggedly hanging onto the Vortex of Simon Mathewson but both were slipping back against the tide.  Once round the Seaward buoy for the second time it was a run to the Eastcliff mark and back through the line.  At the end of the first lap Clarke had a strong first place but a little later the light breeze faded to almost nothing and Ken Potts started to close the gap; whilst several of the other competitors limped to the shore, retiring early.  With conditions now tedious the Officer of the Day shortened course, by which time Potts had gained sufficient time to take victory.  Credit must go to White though, who kept going and completed the course in 2 hours 4 minutes, taking fourth place overall. 

Results: Winter Series 4
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Solution – Simon Clarke
3. Byte – Sebastien Mathewson