Andy Wins The Autumn Series

Gunfleet Sailing Club members took part in the fourth and final race of its Autumn Series last Sunday 26 September with great anticipation as the results to date meant there was, as yet, no clear overall winner.  

The day dawned overcast, with a force four southerly wind blowing, but it didn’t deter ten boats taking to the water.  The tide was almost two hours into the flood as the dinghies edged forward towards the line but moments before the start Eddie White was forced to retire in his Comet when the kicking strap failed.  Ken Potts was shrewd enough to hover by the Inner Distance Mark assuring him of a very tight start and keeping him close enough to the shore to minimise the adverse tide; the rest of the fleet being possibly over-cautious, further down the line.  The first leg was a reach up the coast to the Kingscliff buoy with Andy Dunnett in second place, then Robert Mitchell, and then Paul Stanton; all sailing Lasers.  As the fleet rounded the first mark, Potts hardened up, remaining on starboard tack with the rest of the competitors following suit.  Then he tacked on the layline and, using the gain of the flood tide, headed straight for the AWS buoy.  Dunnett and Mitchell were next to reach AWS, followed by Paul Stanton and then Brian Allen, both sailing Lasers.  Once round this gybe mark it was a reach down to the ODM and then, after hardening up, a beat to the Lilley Farm buoy before a fetch to the St. Michael’s mark.  Unfortunately for Mitchell, he had inadvertently written Eastcliff as the penultimate buoy so whilst everyone else headed towards Clacton Pier he aimed for the much nearer mark and, on realising his mistake, retired.  Meanwhile Potts rounded St. Michael’s, headed towards the shore before bearing off and reaching back to the line; a unique move that nobody else took but it paid off as he held the lead at the end of the first lap.  With Mitchell now out of the race, Dunnett found himself being challenged by Stanton who worked really hard to close the gap, with little success.  Slightly further back Yvonne Gough maintained her lead over Carlo Bardetti, and whilst both were sailing Lasers, Gough had the smaller rig.  At the end of the second lap there was no change in positions; the third and final lap also seeing no changes.  At the end of the race it was Potts who came first, Dunnett second, and Stanton third, but on calculating the overall positions for the whole series it was Dunnett that came out as victorious.

Results – Autumn Series - Overall:
1.    Laser – Andy Dunnett
2.    Laser – Paul Stanton
3.    Laser – Robert Mitchell