Sunshine And Blue Skies Greet The Competitors
Last Sunday 11 November saw the fourth race in Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Winter Series, under blue skies and unbroken sunshine, and first away was Paul Davis in his Solution, followed closely by Derroll Pedder, also in a Solution. The initial leg took the fleet up to the Eastcliff buoy with the boats close hauled in a light westerly breeze, the strong ebbing tide noticeably slowing progress down. Once round the buoy it was a reach out to Seaward and at this point the Williams brothers hoisted the asymmetric kite on their Hobie 405 and kept up with the Solutions, whilst Simon Clarke in his Phantom and John Tappenden in his Blaze pulled away from the rest of the competitors. After that it was a beat back to Eastcliff and unfortunately at this point the wind decided to become more fickle. Slowly the craft made their way down to the buoy, the helms avoiding the odd hole where there was a complete lack of wind. For the slower handicapped boats this leg was particularly painful despite some good tactics. Tommy Martin had led this group from the start, in his Topper, but Robert Gutteridge, also sailing a Topper, slipped in front and continued to pull away; although finding it impossible to make any inroad into the top positions of the faster handicapped craft. At the end of the first lap Clarke had a small lead, which he managed to increase during the second lap, but with the wind now fading to zero at certain points some of his fellow sailors decided to call it a day and head back to the shore.