A Gentle Start To The Sailing Season

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the first two races in its Spring Series over the Easter Bank Holiday, amongst mixed weather.  The sun shone on Sunday 5 April, for the first race, and a light force two, touching three, easterly breeze eased the sailors gently into the start of the 2015 sailing season.  Because of the coast protection works, in the vicinity of the Club, it is necessary for the permanent marks to remain ashore this year and, in their place, a set of inflatable buoys will be laid prior to each race.  Paul Stanton lead the fleet across the start line but was shortly overtaken by Ken Potts in his RS 600, along with Paul Davis and Beth Ford in their RS 400; the dinghies beating up the coast to the windward buoy with Davis and Ford being first to round the mark.  There then followed a fetch out to a seaward buoy and then a dead run to AWS, followed by a beat against a flooding tide back out to sea.  By this time Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens, also sailing an RS 400, had pulled ahead of Potts and were out to challenge Davis and Ford, but with little success.  Meanwhile, in the slow handicap fleet it was Tom and Ed Philpot that lead the way in their Topaz.  At the end of the first lap Davis and Ford had carved themselves a comfortable lead and on the second lap, with winds freshening slightly, they increased the gap so taking a comfortable victory.
Results – Spring Series 1:
1. RS 400 – Paul Davis and Beth Ford
2. RS 400 – Simon Clarke and Emily Cossens
3. Laser – Paul Stanton
On the Easter Monday 6 April, as the sailors rigged their boats, the sun once again shone but by the time they launched grey cloud had appeared and there was a real nip in the air; a force three north-easterly wind reminding everyone that it was still early April.  This time it was Potts that got the best start but it wasn’t long before Davis and Ford had pushed their way ahead; whilst making the best of the steady breeze were Dave Fowell and Daisy Swinbourne in their Scorpion.  In the slow handicap fleet Harry Swinbourne struggled to catch the Philpot’s Topaz in his Topper, on the first beat to the windward buoy, but managed to get ahead on the run back to AWS; the medium fleet being, once again, dominated by Stanton in his Laser.  After two laps it looked like Davis and Ford had the race in the bag but they then fell victim to a spinnaker line coming undone.  This, and a freshening wind, gave Potts the perfect opportunity to blast ahead and pull away from his rival, slipping into first place at the eleventh hour.
Results – Spring Series 2:
1. RS 600 – Ken Potts
2. RS 400 – Paul Davis and Beth Ford
3. Laser – Paul Stanton