Super Turnout For Potts Pursuit Trophy

Members of the Gunfleet Sailing Club were not deterred by the grey skies and wet weather last Saturday 24 August and eleven dinghies, accompanied by the Club Rescue Boat, cruised down the coast and landed on a secluded beach at Jaywick where they had refreshments in the rain, before playing a game of rounders.  A couple of squalls blew through while the boats sat on the beach but as the crews set off to return home, so the wind fell away, and the craft limped back with the ebbing tide taking them very slowly on their way.
Then on Sunday morning eighteen boats took part in the pursuit race for the Ken Potts Trophy.  This annual race sees the boats being starting at staggered times, calculated to the very last second, and 90 minutes from the very first, and slowest, craft to go the race ends and in theory all the competitors should be together; whoever is in fact at the front of the fleet takes the Trophy.  First away were the Toppers and Ben Richardson took a commanding lead, with Tommy Martin working hard to keep-up.  Less than a minute later Lesley Sacre was off in her Pico.  Some further minutes went by before the Topazes got underway and a larger gap occurred prior to the Lasers and Hobie 405’s giving chase.  It was then the turn of the Scorpion, Blaze, and RS 400, and nearly 30 minutes after the Toppers had started the final boats, the RS 600’s, set off with what looked like a giant gap to close.  As boats picked off other boats, so the wind got up and soon it was blowing a force five north easterly.  Unfortunately Andy Dunnett and Mark Venables, both sailing Lasers, took the wrong course and were disqualified.  Capsizes were inevitable and Sacre, Aaron Baker, and Kelvin Morton all found themselves “in the drink” on more than one occasion.  The Kurtulus brothers were brave enough to fly the asymmetric spinnaker in their 405 on the leg from Seaward to St. Michaels but went over, as did Charlie and Harry Spence in their 405.  Pushing through the fleet was John Tappenden in his Blaze but it took him nearly an hour to snatch the lead from Richardson whose Topper had been going like a train.  Matt Gough was having his own battle with his wife Yvonne, both in Lasers, but as he went round the Kingscliff buoy on his second lap he capsized and Yvonne pulled comfortably away.
As the minutes ticked by it looked like top position was really going to be a very close run affair and with seconds before the finish horn went Ken Potts, the donor of the Trophy, was literally snapping at the heels of Tappenden, but alas to no avail.
Results – Ken Potts Pursuit Race:
1. Blaze – John Tappenden
2. RS 600 – Ken Potts
3. RS 400 – Paul Davis and Beth Ford