Winter Series Concludes In Style, Followed By AGM

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the final race in its Winter Series last Sunday 1 December in very pleasant conditions.  A light offshore wind, blue skies and sunshine greeted the competitors, all eager to make the most of the last event of the year before packing their craft away until next season.  Despite a fresh ebbing tide holding the boats back from the line both Robert Gutteridge and Andy Dunnett, sailing Lasers, were the wrong side at the start.  As the individual recall flag was hoisted Dunnett immediately swung his craft about and went back to start again but unfortunately Gutteridge continued the race, without taking corrective action, and was therefore disqualified.  On the first leg, a reach to the Eastcliff buoy, Conor and Finlay Williams sailed their Hobie 405 cleanly past the other competitors to round the mark first.  Beth Elliott and Ken Potts, also in a Hobie 405, tried using their asymmetric spinnaker but so tight was the angle it failed to give them the lift they were hoping for.  The boats then reached out to the Seaward buoy and the first to make it was Derroll Pedder in his Solution, although by now Dunnett had pushed his way past many of the dinghies to be up near the front.  There then followed a beat into the AWS mark before a dead run back out to sea.  It was on this run that Brogan Bates and Beth Ford, in their 405, started to put the pressure on Elliott and Potts but, in the end, failed to get ahead.  The strengthening tide and falling wind made the second beat from Seaward to Kingscliff quite a slow affair as the helms tried to stop themselves being swept too far up the coast, and then it was a reach back through the line.  In the slow handicap fleet there was quite a tussle between the Topazes and Toppers with Harry Swinbourne once again showing his ability to get the very most out of his Topper.  At the end of the first lap Pedder had a reasonable lead, with Dunnett second and Yvonner Gough, in a Laser, third.  During the second lap Elliott and Potts managed to get ahead of the Williams brothers for a short while but dropped back on the downwind leg from AWS to Seaward.  Dunnett slipped gracefully past Pedder who then got caught in a “hole”, devoid of any wind, so allowing Gough to sail past too.  This meant the honours in the last race went to Dunnett, which gave him clear victory overall; Gough coming in second on the day and Pedder third.  
Results – Winter Series Overall:
1.  Laser – Andy Dunnett
=2.  Laser – Yvonne Gough
=2.  RS400 – Paul Davis and Beth Ford
4.  Solution – Derroll Pedder
In the afternoon the Gunfleet Sailing Club held its 51st Annual General Meeting in the Clubhouse.  Commodore Richard Walker welcomed those attending and looked back on an extremely successful year, with record membership, a long boat waiting list, and very well attended events; both on and off the water.  Major achievements in the year included a new Clubhouse roof, a new Rescue Boat trailer, and several minor improvements to the facilities.  The racing had been well supported and the Regatta had welcomed visiting craft from other Clubs.  Wednesday evening sailing continued to prove very popular, made even more attractive by the bar being open and hot dogs and beef-burgers being on offer.  The cruises had unfortunately not fared so well due to inclement weather, the only one actually taking place seeing a very good turnout despite squally winds and rain showers.  The social activities had proved so popular, thanks to the House and Wines Committee, that several times the “House Full” sign had gone up resulting in some members having to be turned away.  With 73 Cadets and Otters in the Club a Cadet Steering Group had been formed this year and, due to the hard work of its members, a very full Sailing On Saturday programme had been put on; commencing at the end of May and going through until September.  It was no surprise, with all the enthusiasm of the Club’s young sailors, that this year’s Cadet Week had been a sell-out and thanks to all the help of so many adult Club members it had proved the best ever; over 100 people attending the Cadet Week Party.  Commodore Walker ended by thanking the Committee for its commitment and support during the year; making 2013 one of the best seasons ever.
Treasurer Peter Downer then took the members through the Club’s accounts, identifying and explaining the various movements on both the income and expenditure.  He highlighted some of the major expenditure the Club had incurred in 2013 and explained how some capital investment had been part funded by use of the savings made through Tendring District Council’s CAROS scheme.  The Treasurer reminded the members that this grant scheme was an opportunity and not a right and the Club was therefore wisely utilising the saving each year to make investment in the infrastructure; securing the long-term future of the Gunfleet.
The following were then elected to the Committee for 2014:
Commodore:  Richard Walker
Vice-Commodore:  Dave Fowell
Rear-Commodore:  Jon Meggison
Sailing Secretary:  Paul Davis
Social Secretary:  Phil Hayes
Cadet Officer:  Chris Williams
Compound Officer:  Barry Peters
To conclude the meeting the Commodore updated the members on the latest position with regards to the Coast Protection Scheme and was pleased to report the excellent relationship that had already been forged between the Council, the Consultants, and Gunfleet Sailing Club.  He felt that the scheme presented a tremendous opportunity to the Club and by working in partnership it could only be to the benefit of all parties.