Winter Series Concludes Plus AGM

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the seventh and final race in its Winter Series last Sunday in force four, gusting five, south-westerly winds.  The start caught David Evans off-guard as, having enjoyed a good thrash out to sea in his Laser just minutes before the off, he suddenly realised he would be unable to return to the line in time.  He wasn’t, however, alone as both Andy Dunnett and John Tappenden also suffered from a poor start in their Lasers.  The rest of the fleet got off to a flying start, beating down the coast to the St. Michael’s buoy, with most of the boats immediately heading out to sea to gain the assistance of the flood tide.  This first leg, being quite long, proved somewhat gruelling, but once round the buoy the crews were able to settle down to a broad reach out to the offshore mark, hooking round it before heading out still further to the Seaward buoy.  By this time Ken Potts had his RS 600 humming and seemed to be carving-out a reasonable lead, having clearly pulled away from Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens in their RS 400, despite the latter using their asymmetric kite much of the time.  Conor Williams and Robert Gutteridge in the Hobie 405 were able to hold back the Lasers for a while but a number of them slipped by as the race progressed.  From Seaward the boats reached into the AWS buoy, followed by a run up the coast to the Kingscliff and a beat back through the line.  At the end of the first lap Tappenden, despite his poor start, had pushed his way through the opposition and had even slipped ahead of Potts, only to drop back a place on the second lap.  Potts reversed the positions again on his third lap so allowing Tappenden to take victory, not only in the race but in the series.  The top three places that day being replicated in the overall positions
Winter Series - Overall
1. Laser – John Tappenden
2. RS 600 – Ken Potts
3. Laser – Andy Dunnett 
On Sunday afternoon the Gunfleet Sailing Club held its Annual General Meeting.  Club Treasurer Peter Downer presented the accounts and went through, in detail, the financial activity during the year.  The Gunfleet had continued to invest the generous reduction in rent charged by Tendring District Council under its CAROS scheme on long-term improvements to the Club.  Membership had remained stable and continued to be very buoyant whilst the waiting list for boat spaces had increased a little.  The Club had invested in a set of professional race marks, valued at over £2,000, as it prepared to stage national and regional sailing championships once the coast protection works had been completed in 2015.  
Commodore Richard Walker then gave a comprehensive and detailed review of the year, highlighting the increase in entries to the Club’s racing, the annual Regatta that had attracted 32 boats and brought into the district visiting sailors from other Clubs, and the cruises which had continued to be well supported.  He was particularly proud to say that the Club currently had sixty-nine Cadets and Otters and their sailing prowess was really starting to show; taking several trophies at Club events and, even more impressive, whilst competing in other sailing clubs’ open events.  The young members had enjoyed the Sailing On Saturday season – lasting four months, and had received some expert tuition from the older and more experienced members who so freely gave up their time.  The Cadet Day had seen a tremendous turn-out and the Cadet Week was fully booked within seven days of the application forms being sent out.  The social side had galvanised the members, particularly during the winter months, and the House and Wines Committee had worked tirelessly to provide a real mix of onshore entertainment; the Regatta Party attracting 80 people, and the Cadet Week Part over 100, and it was not surprising to see the “house-full” signs appearing a number of times.
Commodore Walker went on to thank his fellow Flag Officers – Vice Commodore Dave Fowell and Rear Commodore Jon Meggison for their tremendous support but concluded his report on a sad note; the recent passing-away of founder member Richard Murrison who had started sailing from the site 60 years ago as a young lad and had, until his untimely death, continued to sail the family’s Sea Ranger dinghy “Knockonwood” which they had purchased back in 1954.
The following officers were then elected for the 2015 season:
Commodore:  Richard Walker
Vice-Commodore:  Dave Fowell
Rear Commodore:  Jon Meggison
Sailing Secretary:  Paul Davis
Social Secretary:  Phil Hayes
Cadet Officer:  Simon Clarke
Compound Officer:  Frank Aylen
The meeting concluded with an update on the coast protection project and the alternative options available to the Club, in order to continue sailing, when the work was directly in front of the Gunfleet.