Cadet Week A Great Success

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s 2014 Cadet Week was full-on despite bad weather seriously hampering the sailing programme.  The Monday sailing had proved very lively, and the wind on Tuesday proved so strong that the 40 Cadets and Otters were forced to remain onshore but a wide variety of land-based games, including releasing the four team captains from their imprisonment after completing a number of stretching challenges.  There was also a visit to Clacton Lifeboat Station to see how a modern lifesaving organisation worked.  On Wednesday the sun was out and the wind had abated, providing perfect conditions for the planned cruise down the coast; an armada of sailing dinghies heading past Clacton Pier on the way to their destination, accompanied by the Club’s two Rescue Boats, the craft reaching along in a pleasant easterly breeze.  On arrival there were a variety of games and a picnic before the fleet sailed back to the Club, tacking round the Pier with the ebb tide assisting them on their way.  The original plan had been for a race each morning on four days and with Monday’s racing being abandoned in mid-flow, due to the extreme seas, Thursday was the first chance to actually complete a race.  Each dinghy class had its own start and own course and first away were the Toppers.  Max Bates led on the first leg as the fleet beat to the Eastcliff buoy, with Harry Swinbourne pushing hard to overtake.  Just behind these two were Korben Symmonds, Robbie Jay, Harrison Ledger and Ted Newson.  As the boats then headed out to the Seaward mark Harry got in front and opened the gap, increasing his lead as the race went on to take a comfortable first place.  Next away were the Topazes and Darcie Baker and Daisy Swinbourne go into an early lead, with Maddie Wyss and Alice Fuller just behind, followed by Harrison Smith and Mac Symmonds, then Will Marsh and Caleb Aylen, and finally Tom and Ed Philpot.  As the race went on so the places changed, several times, but eventually Maddie and Alice settled into the top spot to take the winning gun.  Finally it was the turn of the Hobie 405’s with a very tight start, Charlie and Harry Spence out in front.  The class had a long beat to the St. Michael’s buoy and with different tactics being deployed it appeared to be a very open event.  Once round the mark the spinnakers went up and it proved a fine site – by now Conor and Finlay Williams having the lead, the Spence brothers were second, and Ross Aylen and Hugo Johnson third.  Unfortunately Ross and Hugo capsized a couple of times during the race, so allowing Beth Elliott and Dom Milham to slip ahead of them, Brogan Bates and Nick Cottee being just behind.  After some close tussles first place went to the Williams boys.  Water-based games were then played in the afternoon.  On Friday, with force seven winds blowing, the Cadets and Otters were unable to put to sea again.  However, a variety of team games in the water, and on dry land, kept the Cadets and Otters entertained and the helpers very busy.  
Saturday evening was the Cadet Week Party Night when 100 members packed the place out for a delicious Hog Roast and the presentation of Trophies and prizes, plus special 2014 Cadet Week T-shirts for every entrant. Cadet Officer Chris Williams thanked everyone for helping to run the week, and looked back over a very hectic five days.  He then announced the winning games team and presented the following sailing trophies:
Swallow Trophy – Toppers:  Harry Swinbourne
Amazon Trophy – Topazes:  Maddie Wyss and Alice Fuller
Captain Flint Trophy – Hobie 405’s:  Conor and Finlay Williams
For a full account of the Gunfleet 2014 Cadet Week go to Cadets and Otters 2014 on the left hand menu.
Last Sunday 31 August Gunfleet Sailing Club held the race for the Fleet Championships with sixteen boats taking part.  Whilst the sunshine and blue skies made it look very pleasant a fresh west/north westerly wind kept the competitors on their toes.  Before the start Ken Potts was forced back to shore with the ratchet on his centre mainsheet block jamming, but with a quick temporary fix he was soon back out in the thick of things.  Leading the fleet from the off was Paul Davis and Emma Hygate in the RS 400, followed very closely by Conor and Finlay Williams in their Hobie 405, then John Tappenden in his Blaze, and Yvonne Gough in her Laser.  By the time they had sailed down the coast, close hauled, to the St. Michael’s buoy Brogan Bates and Nick Cottee in their Hobie 405, were almost level with the Williams brothers and they both hoisted their asymmetric spinnakers on the reach out to Seaward.  Meanwhile Andy Dunnett in a Laser was struggling to keep up with Gough, whilst in the Topper fleet Harry Swinbourne was opening the gap between Korben Symmonds and Robbie Jay, the latter two both racing for the first time in a main Club race, and driving their boats hard.  After the offshore mark the craft had to beat to the Eastcliff buoy, run back out to Seaward and then reach up the coast to the Kingscliff buoy before returning through the line.  As the first lap progressed it looked clear that the RS 400 was going to win but disaster struck on the second lap when the boat capsized on the run from Eastcliff to Seaward, with many minutes passing before Davis and Hygate could get upright again and on their way.  Gough also capsized, which gave the opportunity for Dunnett to get in front, whilst Tappenden, who had not had a good first lap, was now picking-up speed at an impressive rate.  In the 405’s Beth Elliot and Caleb Aylen, who had a very poor start, were now ahead of Ross Aylen and Hugo Johnson and were challenging Bates and Cottee; only to find at the end that they had been disqualified for taking a buoy the wrong side.  In the Topaz class it was Finn Harkin and Deacon Stevens that finished first, just in front of Steve Swinbourne.  
Results – Fleet Championships:
1. Blaze – John Tappenden
2. Laser – Andy Dunnett
3. RS 400 – Paul Davis and Emma Hygate