Gunfleet 2018 Splash Proves A Big Hit

It was a busy weekend for Gunfleet Sailing Club, Saturday 8 September being the turn of the Cadets and Otters when some 20 young members took part in the Gunfleet Splash; an all day event for Toppers, Topazes and 405 dinghies. 
The first race of the series had an impressive eight Toppers taking part and in a tightly bunched start it was Cadet Commodore Harry Swinbourne who lead the way, with Harrison Smith snapping at his ankles and then Alfie Searles.  However, as the race progressed Korben Symmonds overtook Searles and started closing in on Smith.  Towards the end of the first lap Smith lost his mainsheet and whilst he made a quick recovery, it gave the opportunity for Symmonds to cut smartly in front of him.  Despite every effort he was unable to stop Swinbourne taking the winning gun.  In the Topaz fleet it was Thomas Aiken and Francesca Cottee that lead from the start and they proved to be a force to be reckoned with.  Despite valiant attempts by Owen Hooper and George Smith, the duo of Aiken and Cottee proved unstoppable.  The 405s had a disappointing start but once underway it became a battle of the brothers.  Tom Philpot and Freddie Spooner took on Ed Philpot and Henry Spooner and despite the latter leading for much of the first lap they were eventually pushed back into second place, partly due to an impressive capsize in front of the Clubhouse.

For the second race it was a surprise change of boat for Swinbourne when he switched to a Topaz and, with Jess MacLean Wright crewing, aimed to give Aiken and Cottee a run for their money; this they achieved after a number of changes in position during the race.  Back in the Topper fleet Smith took an early lead but Symmonds used every opportunity to put the pressure on him, eventually claiming victory.  In the 405 fleet it was Ed and Henry that took the wining gun so levelling everything off and relying on the third race to be the decider.

The final race of the day saw Symmonds take an early lead in the Topper fleet, and for some time he looked unstoppable, but Searles drew closer and closer until he overtook and then nothing could stop him, not even when Ted Newson capsized, almost on top of Searles, and in doing so got his mainsheet entangled with the other boat.  Aiken and Cottee were first Topaz home, and Ed and Henry first 405.

After a really exciting day the 2018 Gunfleet Splash winners were:

Toppers:  Korben Symmonds
Topazes:  Thomas Aiken and Francesca Cottee
405s:  Ed Philpot and Henry Spooner

On the Sunday, 9 September, in force five to six southerly winds the first of the Autumn Series of races was held, with several capsizes and retirements, Ken Potts claiming victory.

Course Board
Date 8 September 2018
Race Gunfleet Splash
Start Time Various
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 4 gusting 5
Wind Direction South/South-West
High Tide 11:17
Course See Charts
Course Board
Date 9 September 2018
Race Autumn Series - 1
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 5 gusting 6
Wind Direction South
High Tide 12:10
Course St.M - E - S - AWS - S - K - Line