Members Celebrate A Great Sailing Season

Members of the Gunfleet Sailing Club celebrated the end of their 2014 sailing season at the Laying-Up Dinner and Dance last Saturday 15 November.  Commodore Richard Walker welcomed 86 members to the event, held at Clacton on Sea Golf Club, and, after an excellent meal, he looked back at yet another very successful year.  He particularly focussed on the younger members of the Club, highlighting the many current adult members that had their roots firmly in the Club having started off as Cadets many years previously; three senior members having been with the Club since joining as youngsters sixty years ago.  Commodore Walker then called upon the Chairman of the Directors of Gunfleet Sailing Club Ltd. Malcolm Jolly to present the following trophies:
March Hare: Peter Downer
Spring Series:  Ken Potts
Toppo Single Helm:  John Tappenden
Cadet Single Helm:  Robert Gutteridge
Wallet Trophy:  Conor and Finlay Williams
Egg and Bacon:  Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
Jubilee Trophy:  Ken Potts
RNLI Charity Shield:  Paul and Katie Davis
Tee Dee Challenge Trophy:  Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
Potterer’s Pot:  Richard Walker
Ken Potts’ Pot:  John Tappenden
Austin Ladies Trophy:  Yvonne Gough
Double Dan (Clacton Sailing Club Trophy): Charlie and Harry Spence
Bill Clarke Shield: Conor and Finlay Williams
Hertford County Shield:  Andy Dunnett
London Trophy:  John Tappenden
Jim Suckling Shield:  Peter Downer
Summer Series:  Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
Tony Chadd Trophy:  Ken Potts
Class Points:
    Laser:  Andy Dunnett
    Solution:  Sonny Hart
    405:  Brogan Bates & Nick Cottee
    Topaz:  Steve and Daisy Swinbourne
    Topper:  Harry Swinbourne
    Sea Ranger:  Richard Walker
Bill Geddes Trophy:  Ken Potts
Double “G” Trophy:  Harry Swinbourne
Bob Agate Trophy:  Finn Harkin
SOS Trophy:  Conor and Finlay Williams
Long John Silver Shield:  Robert Gutteridge
Spirit of the Wind:  Conor and Finlay Williams
Fleet Championships:  John Tappenden
Autumn Series:  Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
Tarrant Trophy:  Derroll Pedder
Senior Leading Helm:  John Tappenden
Junior Leading Helm:  Conor Williams
Terry Baker “Cheers” Trophy:  Steve Swinbourne
Stan Camp Progress Cup:  Harry Swinbourne
Junior Merit Trophy:  Brogan Bates
Cissbury Merit Trophy:  Daisy Swinbourne
Stein Ladies’ Merit Trophy:  Nikki Hayes
Gentlemen’s Merit Trophy:  Chris Williams
Sailing Secretary Paul Davis then made a special presentation of a brand new Topper sail, which he had kindly donated, to the Topper sailor who had shown most dedication and commitment to the sport, and this went to Harry Swinbourne.
The evening then continued with entertainment, dancing, and much merriment to “Topper The Pops”
The next day a light onshore breeze greeted the members of Gunfleet Sailing Club when they arrived to take part in the fourth race of the Winter Series, but as the time got closer so the wind just faded away to nothing.  As the competitors drifted out to the start line the Officer of the Day hoisted the 15 minute postponement flag, in the hope that the delay would allow a little drop of wind to appear.  A quarter of an hour later the race got underway but conditions were really little better.  The ebb tide appeared slack and so gave no real help to the fleet as they ghosted towards the Kingscliff buoy, Paul and Katie Davis leading in their RS 400; what wind there was now coming from the north.  Just behind was the second RS 400, sailed by Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens, whilst hot on their heels was John Tappenden in his Laser.  Although sailing the slowest handicapped boat, Harry Swinbourne in his Topper was next in the procession while the three Hobie 405’s were completely neck and neck as they got close to the mark.  The next leg, out to the Seaward buoy, allowed those boats with asymmetric kites the opportunity to downwind tack and pick up a bit more speed, although this was hard to detect!  The second leg actually proved to be a slow and painful process and once round the competitors sheeted in and sailed close-hauled into the AWS buoy.  If the previous leg had seemed trying then this proved even worse.  Robert Gutteridge decided to call it a day in the Solution and accepted a tow back to shore from the Club’s Rescue Boat.  This started a bit of a trend with a further six boats accepting assistance back to the Club.  Meanwhile those that persevered headed back out to sea before beating back through the line, relieved to see the shorten course flag hanging limply from the yardarm.  Even on the last leg one or two wilted and sought a tow home but David Evans refused to retire and edged his Laser to within a metre of the line before being dragged backwards on the freshly flooding tide, taking a further 15 minutes before receiving the finishing gun. 
Winter Series - 4
1. Laser – John Tappenden 
2. RS 400 – Paul Davis & Beth Ford
3. RS 400 – Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
The sailors, along with many of their Club members, sat down to a full English breakfast, prepared by Social Secretary Phil Hayes and Helen Swinbourne.  This concluded a great weekend for the Gunfleet which celebrated probably being the best little sailing club on the east coast.