Reports 2015

Gunfleet Sailing Club’s younger members had a great sail last Saturday 5 September when they concluded their SOS – Sailing on Saturday with class racing.  Whilst the sun shone, there was a strong offshore wind that veered several degrees in the gusts and meant the young sailors had to constantly be on their toes.  In the Topper fleet it was Harry Swinbourne and Hannah Aylen that lead the fleet but confusion with the course resulted in some interesting legs being sailed.
Just over a week after the beaches in front of its headquarters were open, Gunfleet Sailing Club held its annual Regatta weekend, starting on Saturday 29 August with the Cadet Day.  Twenty-five of the Club’s younger members soon had their craft rigged in the morning and were busy sailing up and down the line, in a force 3 southerly breeze, eagerly waiting for the gun to start the race for the Cadet Day Trophy.
Members of the Gunfleet Sailing Club celebrated the official opening of the new beach in front of its headquarters by holding two races last Sunday 23 August, with a double celebration for Ken Potts who took first place in both events.  
The Gunfleet Sailing Club once again had the opportunity to get afloat just prior the beach recharge directly in front of its headquarters.  Last Sunday afternoon 2 August thirteen boats took part in the race for the Bill Geddes Trophy, sailing in idyllic conditions of sunshine, blue skies, and a pleasant force 3 east/south-easterly breeze.  This was an important race as it also counted towards class points for those dinghies with three or more in the Club.
With the Clacton/Holland coast protection works nearing completion it won’t be long before Gunfleet Sailing Club is back in action on the water full-time.  However, members were given a real bonus over the last weekend, and the previous Wednesday when the contractor gave them the thumbs-up to getting their boats out.
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.
It wasn’t so much gunfight at the OK Corral as an OK night at the Gunfleet Sailing Club.  In fact it was far more than was a brilliant evening of fun and entertainment.  As the members moseyed on down to the Clubhouse they were greeted with a “Rootin’ Tootin’ Table Quiz”, all about the Wild West.  This ended up as a draw (go for your guns) between two teams but in the end the No-Hopers just beat the Lodgers.  Then we all went for our flags – well, red, white or blue; if you happened to match what was pulled out the bag you remained in the game.

The Club is presently closed to sailing whilst the Clacton/Holland Coast Protection Scheme is underway directly in front of Gunfleet.  However, short-term pain....long-term gain as it won’t be long before we are back on the water, nestled in a superb bay with wonderful beaches; allowing Club members to sail at all states of the tide.  During this “down-time” the actual Club is still open and it provides a superb opportunity for members to work on their boats. 

With the coast protection scheme in full swing, and the contractors working in front of the Club, it was no surprise to receive the notification that there could be no sailing this bank-holiday weekend.  However, this did not deter the members from coming down to the Clubhouse.
Gunfleet Sailing Club was busy over the last weekend with the first cruise of the season “Westward-Ho” on Saturday 16 May.  In gusty and veering offshore winds a fleet of dinghies, accompanied by one of the Club’s Rescue Boats, sailed down the coast and past Clacton Pier, heading St. Osyth way.  The conditions certainly kept the crews on their toes but fortunately there was only one capsize.  After about an hour and half sailing, the craft landed at a secluded beach for a picnic before heading back home.
There was a strong turnout of competitors for the Hertford County Shield race at Gunfleet Sailing Club last Sunday morning 10 May, with a pleasant force three south/south westerly wind greeting the sailors as they rigged their craft.  Under a freshly flooding tide the boats jockeyed for position and as they edged their way towards the start line so the wind swung southerly and freshened to force four.  One or two helms were just a bit too eager to be right on the button and, at the last minute, were forced to go about to avoid jumping the gun, so losing valuable time.

Mixed May Bank Holiday weather disrupted Gunfleet Sailing Club’s race programme, with force six winds and a large swell on the sea forcing the Officer of the Day to abandon the race on Sunday for the London Trophy; the event being rescheduled for later in the year.  Conditions on the Monday proved to be ideal and, as well as some social sailing, the Club members took part in the Rescue Boat, Radio and Winch Training.

Gunfleet Sailing Club held the fourth race in its Spring Series last Sunday 26 April in a chilly north/north-easterly force three wind.  The competitors, whilst rigging, had to contend with a steady drizzle but fortunately this ceased just as the five minute class flag was hoisted.  It was good to see the Hobie 405 fleet back on the water and it was Beth Elliott, with Sailing Secretary Paul Davis crewing, that got a cracking start; the bow of their boat being a hair-breadth from the line.
It was an early start for members of Gunfleet Sailing Club, last Sunday 19 April, when they held the first race in the Egg and Bacon Series.  The sun shone which, coupled with a force two touching three northerly breeze, provided a very pleasant backdrop to the event.  Andy Dunnett had a fine start in his Laser but was soon overhauled by the much more powerful RS 600, sailed by Ken Potts.  The wind, however, had a few tricks up its sleeve and started to swing easterly, requiring the competitors to beat to the first mark when the original plan was a fetch.

Sunday 12 April came, and so did the wind.  Building from a Force 5 to a Force 7, just as forecast, the south/south-westerly wind put pay to any chance of racing.  The Officer Of the Day hoisted the appropriate signal flag (Answering Pennant over A) and everyone retired to the Clubhouse.  But this is just the start of the season and there will be plenty of opportunities to get out on the water in the coming weeks - so don't despair.