Tappenden Takes TDC Trophy

Gunfleet Sailing Club members, having been unable to get afloat over the last few weeks due to the coast protection works, were given the opportunity to “stretch their wings” last weekend and take part in Tendring District Council’s first ever Sea and Beach Festival.  On Saturday 4 July, along with catamarans and dinghies from Clacton Sailing Club, a fleet of craft set off to take part in the opening day of festivities at Clacton’s West Beach.  Under bright blue skies, and unbroken sunshine the fleet tacked down the coast.  Despite a fresh breeze it was a hard beat all the way with the wind on the nose and a freshly ebbing tide to contend with.  The original plan was to land and put on a mini boat show but such was the volume of people, both on the beach and more particularly in the water, it was decided it would be unwise to do anything other than entertain the crowd with a sailing display.  After showing the spectators just how exciting the sport of sailing could be the dinghies and cats returned home, the wind and tide now in their favour, making short work of the journey.
In contrast, Sunday morning 5 July brought light winds and a steady fall of rain.  But this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the members to take part in the Tendring District Council Pursuit Race, run between Clacton Pier and Martello Bay, as part of the Sea and Beach Festival.  Joined, once again, by members of Clacton Sailing Club the race was specifically chosen as it operates with a staggered start, depending on the handicap of each class of craft, and plays a game of “chase”; the later your start the more you have to catch-up.  At a set time all competitors, in theory, should be level with each other.  First away were the Toppers, followed, after 6 minutes, by the Topazes; and so it went on, until the fastest craft, a Dart 16, got underway some 26 minutes later.  The gaps started narrowing right from the “off” but as the clock ticked away so it looked like a virtually impossible challenge for some helms.  By the end of the first lap it was Harry Swinbourne, in his Topper, in first place and he kept that position right the way through the second lap, whilst further back the faster handicapped craft were clearly picking-off those slower boats.  It was on the third lap that time started running out and sure enough the positions really began to alter.  By now John Tappenden had pushed his way to the front in his Blaze, whilst Ken Potts had driven his RS 600 into second place.  However Swinbourne fought off the rest of the fleet to take a very creditable third position; all three dinghies coming from Gunfleet Sailing Club.  
Results – TDC Pursuit Trophy:
1. Blaze – John Tappenden
2. RS 600 – Ken Potts
3. Topper – Harry Swinbourne