Winter Series Hots-Up

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the sixth and penultimate race in its Winter Series last Sunday 24 November with eleven boats taking part.  As the competitors launched onto the flooding north-sea they were greeted by sunshine, blue skies and a gusting force two to four offshore wind.  Using the tide to hold them back the helms nudged their dinghies up to the start line with many of them timing it to perfection.  Paul Davis and Beth Ford in their RS400 and Andy Dunnett in his Laser put on the power and headed, at an impressive rate, on a reach to the Kingscliff buoy.  On this first leg Conor and Finlay Williams pushed their luck by hoisting their asymmetric spinnaker, finding the angle rather too tight but managing to eek-out some power from it as the wind veered occasionally.  Spotting this move, Beth Elliott and Brogan Bates, also in a 405, hoisted their kite but with less success; losing several positions.  As the boats rounded the first mark Ken Potts had started to carve-out a lead in his RS600 but found Davis and Ford challenging him on the next leg, their RS400 overtaking him on the beat from Seaward to the AWS buoy.  Further down the fleet, in the slow handicapped craft, once again Harry Swinbourne was showing his natural skill in his Topper, being in amongst the Topazes.  The Williams boys, still flying their spinnaker on the downwind leg out to sea, capsized their boat and put a large hole in the kite but carried on in the race.  In amongst all this the Lasers were having a really close tussle with Dunnett holding off John Tappenden, Yvonne Gough and Robert Gutteridge.  The run from AWS back out to sea resulted in a closing of gaps and the beat to the Eastcliff buoy saw positions changing.  As the competitors came through the line on the first lap it was Dunnett first, followed by Tappenden, and then Davis and Ford in third place.  The second lap saw a juxtaposition of the Lasers until a slip-up by Dunnett gave Tappenden the opportunity to get ahead but being narrowly beaten on handicap by Potts’s RS600.
Results – Winter Series 6:
1. RS600 – Ken Potts
2. Laser – John Tappenden
3. Laser – Andy Dunnett