Walker Takes Second Race In Autumn Series

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s SOS race series for Cadets and Otters continued last Saturday 21 September with the fourth and penultimate race in their Class Points Series.  In a light south-westerly wind the different classes were set-off at five minute intervals, starting with the Toppers.  Robert Gutteridge lead the class but had Ben Richardson close on his heels as they beat down the coast to the Eastcliff buoy against a strong ebbing tide.  The next class away was the Topaz and Beth Elliott and Daisy Swinbourne took a strong lead from the very start.  There then followed the Hobie 405’s with Charlie and Harry Spence leading the fleet.  All the competitors were in for a shock after rounding Eastcliff for, as they reached out to the Seaward buoy, the exceptional strength of the tide saw many of the boats being dragged past the mark.  The Toppers were first to discover the adverse effect on their craft and Richardson skilfully slipped a small tack in to successfully circumnavigate the buoy but Gutteridge had to make several attempts before getting round and as a result found Harry Swinbourne and Tommy Martin both challenging him.  Witnessing what was going on, the Topazes and 405’s tried to take avoiding action.  As the competitors reached down to AWS the wind got lighter and it was a slow crawl back out to sea, followed by a gybe and a further reach down to Kingscliff.  With the wind continuing to fall the shorten course flag went up and the boats limped across the line. 
Results – Cadet Class Points – 4
1. Ben Richardson
2. Robert Gutteridge
3. Tommy Martin
1. Beth Elliott and Daisy Swinbourne
2. Nick Cottee and Finn Harken
3. Ross Aylen and Hugo Johnson
Hobie 405:
1. Charlie and Harry Spence
2. Brogan and Max Bates
1. Laser – Beth Ford
On Sunday morning, 22 September, fifteen boats took part in the second race in the Autumn Series with Gutteridge getting an excellent start, followed closely by Paul Davis and Beth Ford in the RS400.  In a westerly breeze some competitors started tight against the Inner Distance Mark and, as a result, managed to just make the Eastcliff buoy in one tack; the others needing to go about in order to make the mark.  As the tide was flooding it was a slog on the run out to the Seaward buoy before a gybe, followed by a reach to the Kingscliff mark.  Unfortunately Paul Stanton had a technical problem in his Laser when the boom fell off and he lost many minutes whilst he hastily carried out running repairs.  Surprisingly, as the boats headed out to sea Richard Walker, sailing the slowest handicapped craft – a fifty year old Sea Ranger, was in amongst his much faster handicapped competitors.  As the race went on Walker proved unshakable and at the end of the first lap had a strong lead.  Despite some good downwind kite-work by Zak and Jake Kurtulus in their Hobie 405, and some clever tactics by Dave Fowell and Aaron Baker in the Scorpion they were unable to make any indent on the second lap, and although positions changed in the Laser fleet the lead in the class had to make do with third place overall.
Results – Autumn Series 2:
1. Sea Ranger – Richard Walker
2. Comet – Peter Downer
3. Laser – Andy Dunnett