Tappenden Takes The Title

Gunfleet Sailing Club members enjoyed summer-like conditions when they took part in the race for the Bill Clarke Shield last Sunday 21 October; the event being won by John Tappenden in his Laser.

A warm south-westerly force three breeze, coupled with blue sky and unbroken sunshine, greeted the competitors as they eagerly rigged their boats on the beach.  As the dinghies jostled for position on the start like it was Tappenden’s Laser that lead the fleet down the coast, closely followed by Andy Dunnett, also in a Laser.  The first thing the sailors noticed was the very strong ebb tide that they had to fight on the beat to the St. Michael’s buoy.  The best way to mitigate the adverse effect was to beat close to the shore and it wasn’t long before much of the fleet were playing Russian-Roulette between the fishtail groynes.  Bay hopping works well provided those taking part avoid the rock groynes that segregate each bay, but in this instance risks were being taken and helms were cutting extremely close to the underwater objects.  It wasn’t long before a few competitors got caught out and found themselves scraping their boat’s daggerboard on underwater objects.  The first to learn this lesson were Tappenden and Dunnett, allowing Ken Potts to slip swiftly into the lead.  Retiring early with technical troubles was Sonny Hart in his Blaze, finding his centre-mainsheet horse too lose to be able to sail close hauled in the gentle breeze.  

After rounding St. Michael’s buoy the boats returned towards the Club on a run before hooking round the Eastcliff mark and heading, on a reach, out to the Seaward buoy.  At this point Potts held on to his lead and, gybing around the mark, the fleet headed in to the AWS buoy.  The gap was clearly closing and as the craft headed back out to Seaward, on a fetch, Tappenden reclaimed the lead.  Meanwhile, a little further back, Peter Downer worked hard to keep his Comet close to the tail-end Lasers of Yvonne Gough and Eddie White, whilst they could only look on at the leaders some way ahead.  Following a further reach to the Kingscliff buoy it was a close haul back through the line, with risks being taken, once more, amongst the groynes; Tappenden hanging on to his lead and cementing his place in the second lap. 

Results:  Bill Clarke Shield:
1.    Laser – John Tappenden
2.    Laser – Ken Potts
3.    Laser – Andy Dunnett


Course Board
Date 21 October 2018
Race Bill Clarke Shield
Start Time 11:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 3
Wind Direction South-westerly
High Tide 10:12
Course St.M - E - S - AWS - S - K - Line