Tappenden Takes The Honours In His RS Aero

Gunfleet Sailing Club members made the most of the evening breeze to take part in the race for the Tony Chadd Trophy, with John Tappenden taking his new RS Aero into the top place.

It is often said that a race is won or lost at the start line, so it was interesting to see a split in which end of the line the competitors favoured.  Some, like Andy Dunnett in his Laser, stayed offshore at the Outer Distance Mark, with the aim of heading in towards shore on starboard tack and therefore commanding right of way.  Others chose to hover at the Inner Distance Mark, so heading out to sea on port tack and having to dodge the Dunnetts of this world.  With a flood tide and north-easterly long-shore wind, it was a real guess which tactic would pay off but as the start flag fell from the yardarm it was Tappenden, and the Laser of Ken Potts, that cracked it on the port tack.  However, they were not getting it all their own way, with Yvonne Gough working her Laser hard to threaten the leaders.  

The fleet was soon at the windward Kingscliff buoy and it was Potts that circumnavigated it first, followed a little way behind by Tappenden.  As this was the latter’s first race in his new RS Aero it was fair to say all eyes, certainly back on shore, were firmly fixed on Tappenden.  After a clean reach out to the Seaward buoy it was a very quick gybe before blasting into the AWS buoy and back out to Seaward.  It was this second gybe at the Seaward that caught Dunnett out and his Laser capsized before turtling completely; the righting process pushing him further down the fleet.  Meanwhile, only slightly further back were Derroll Pedder and Michael Gutteridge in their GP14, coping well with the lively conditions.  It was the penultimate leg of the course, a broad reach from Seaward to Eastcliff, where Tappenden got a sudden spurt of energy and his Aero just flew past Potts, proving a real spectacle to the onlookers.  Beating back through the line to complete the first lap it was, in fact, Potts that held the lead but during the second, and final, lap it seemed that Tappenden had mastered his new boat and he went on to claim victory.

Results:  Tony Chadd Trophy:
1.    RS Aero – John Tappenden 
2.    Laser – Ken Potts
3.    Laser – Andy Dunnett

Course Board
Date 25 July 2018
Race Tony Chadd Trophy
Start Time 19:30
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 4
Wind Direction North Easterly
High Tide 23:29
Course K - S - AWS - S - E - Line