Winter Series Gets Underway - At Last!

After strong winds and rough seas over the last few weeks prevented the first three races in the Winter Series being held, Gunfleet Sailing Club members celebrated the favourable conditions on Sunday 10 November which allowed them to get on the water.  Bright sunshine and blue skies welcomed the competitors, along with offshore winds that gusted from force two to force six at times.  Andy Dunnett got a flying start in his Laser with Paul Davis and Beth Ford hot on his heels in their RS400.  The reach to the St. Michael’s mark was a speedy affair with the freshly flooding tide helping the boats on their way; however, the strong gusts did catch one or two out and as a result Harry Swinbourne retired in his Topper.  As the boats rounded the mark Nick Cottee capsized in his Topaz and lost several minutes righting the boat.  It was then out to the Seaward buoy on a broad reach and those with asymmetric spinnakers really took off.  The beat that followed, in to the AWS buoy, was tricky as the winds shifted constantly and it was at this point Cottee realised the cold was getting to him so he retired back to the beach.  The dinghies then ran back out to Seaward and gybed before fetching to the Kingscliff buoy.  It was this gybe mark that caught many of the competitors out with Brogan Bates and Robert Gutteridge in the 405 capsizing, then righting, then capsizing before finally getting up and back on their way.  Soon after it was Steve and Daisy Swinbourne that went over in their Topaz and again it was a struggle to right the boat but, determined, they got back into the thick of things.  Further capsizes amongst the competitors occurred and, in some cases, assistance was required by the Rescue Boat, resulting in more retirements.  Slowly, by a process of elimination, the numbers dwindled until only two boats were left to fight it out.
Results – Winter Series 4:
1. Laser – Andy Dunnett
2. Topaz – Steve and Daisy Swinbourne