Gunfleet Sailing Club’s 2012 Regatta proved a great success with some exciting racing last Sunday 26 August. In the morning twenty-five boats took part in the race for the RNLI Charity Shield, including a number of Catamarans, a Vortex, and some Toppers from Clacton Sailing Club. In a force three, gusting four, westerly breeze the fleet beat to St. Michael’s buoy before a very broad reach back to Eastcliff and then out to the Seaward mark. The catamarans immediately pulled ahead, along with the RS600 of Ken Potts which they were unable to really get away from. There then followed a fetch to the AWS buoy, back out to Seaward, a reach to the Kingscliff mark and then back through the line. Potts had already established a strong lead by the end of the first lap and went on to strengthen this as the race continued. In the Laser fleet Andy Dunnett lead for much of the race but was overtaken by Paul Stanton on the second lap.
Results – RNLI Charity Shield:
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Blaze – John Tappenden
3. Solution – Paul Davis
1st Cadet: Contender – Matt Downing
The Club was very pleased to welcome the Clacton Lifeboat crew to the Regatta when they turned-up in the Station's brand new Atlantic 85 "David Porter MPS" and the D-Class "Damarkand". The Gunfleet supports the RNLI and recognises the fantastic work the lifeboat service carries out around the British Isles, and was therefore delighted to see the boys at the Club. In the afternoon there was class racing with separate starts; the Catamarans being away first. Taking an early lead was Pete Boxer and Eilish in their Dart 18, closely followed by Ben Chandler, also in a Dart 18, and these positions were held, with Robert Mitchell in third place in a Dart 16. Five minutes after the Cats started it was the turn of the Sea Ranger class and despite some tough competition from Lesley Sacre it was Richard Walker that claimed victory. In the Topper fleet there was a mix of Gunfleet and Clacton Sailing Club boats and the top three positions were hotly contested but eventually it was Zak Kurtulus that took top spot with Robert Gutteridge second and Tommy Martin third. In the Topaz fleet Bethany Ford pulled away early on and held lead place throughout the race with Aaron Baker second and the Spence Brothers third. Paul Stanton repeated his victory from the morning in the Laser class with Yvonne Gough second and Matt Gough literally seconds behind in third place. The Solutions were lead by Paul Davis with a battle for second position between Derroll Pedder and Sonny Hart, Pedder pipping Hart literally at the finish line. Finally, some 30 minutes after the cats had started the Menagerie Fleet were away and this proved a real battle between Ken Potts in his RS600 and John Tappenden in his Blaze, Tappenden eventually winning by 5 seconds; Simon Clarke taking third place in his Phantom.
David Foster Catamaran Challenge: Dart 18 – Pete Boxer and Eilish
Trefoil Trophy – Sea Rangers: Richard Walker
Mad Hatter Trophy – Toppers: Zak Kurtulus
Dave Fowell Trophy – Topazes: Beth Ford
Paxton Trophy – Lasers: Paul Stanton
Tim Webster Trophy – Solutions: Paul Davis
1893 Regatta Trophy – Menagerie: Blaze – John Tappenden
Prior to the Regatta the Gunfleet had held its annual Cadet Week with 40 Club youngsters taking part. In perfect weather conditions there was a mix of racing, each morning, a cruise to Jaywick, and games on and off the water every afternoon. The racing saw three separate starts each day; one for the Toppers, the other for the Topazes and the third for the Menagerie fleet. With 11 Toppers taking part there was some healthy competition and lead positions changed a number of times each day. There were 7 Topazes competing in their races and again much changing of positions as the week went on. The Menagerie race saw the dominance of two boats with each taking two firsts so this proved a nail-biting competition until the very end.
Swallow Trophy – Toppers: Robert Gutteridge
Amazon Trophy – Topazes: Charlie and Harry Spence
Long John Silver Shield – Menagerie: Hobie 405 – Conor and Finlay Williams
At the end of the week there was a massive Cadet Party when every entrant received a 2012 Cadet Week T-shirt and a commemorative coin for the Olympic Sailing. Club Cadet Officer Barry Peters said “It was a real full-on week for our younger members and they all developed their sailing skills as well as having a lot of fun”.