Tappenden Takes The Trophy

The Gunfleet Sailing Club held the final race in its seven part Summer Series with John Tappenden taking the top spot.

Seventeen boats took to part in the Series and, if nothing else, the crews enjoyed a break from the ongoing humid conditions back onshore.  

The easterly breeze and flooding tide should have resulted in a clean start for everyone, but such was the eagerness that the boats nudged each other up to the line and unfortunately Michael Gutteridge and Derroll Pedder found themselves just the wrong side in their GP14.  The hoisting of the individual recall flag soon saw them returning to correct their error but, as a result, put them at the very back.  The fleet tacked its way up to the Kingscliff buoy and as it was rounded it was clear that John Tappenden was leading, followed by Ken Potts, and then Robert Gutteridge.  The competitors then reached out to Seaward where they gybed their craft before continuing on a beam-reach down the coast to the Eastclif buoy.  From here it was a beat up to the AWS buoy, a dead run back to Eastcliff, and finally a beat back through the line.  The top half of the fleet was dominated by Lasers but in the slower handicap section it was good to see a number of Comets and Toppers taking the challenge.  

The first lap proved uneventful although Potts had managed to take the lead, Tappenden second and Rob Gutteridge third, but disaster struck Gutteridge when his mainsheet came adrift and he realised the only way to solve the problem was to capsize his Laser.  Completing the rethreading of the rope took longer than expected and as he valiantly swam around sorting out the problem, he witnessed Yvonne Gough, Rob Locket, and Eddie White fly past in their Lasers.  Righting his boat, Gutteridge realised it was now a lost cause and returned to shore.  Meanwhile, in the slower handicap group Peter Downer dominated in his Comet, with Cath Bicknell keeping up the pressure throughout the race.  Alfie Searles, having had a disappointing start in his Topper, bounced back and was impressively closing the gap, pulling away from Kees Levine, also in a Topper.  During the second lap Tappenden slipped in front of Potts to claim the race, and the series overall. 

Results:  Summer Series Overall:
1.    Laser – John Tappenden
2.    Laser – Ken Potts
3.    Laser – Rob Lockett