Big Seas Greet Competitors For The Second Winter Series Race

The second race in Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Winter Series was held on Sunday 17 October in lively conditions and, after a hard-fought battle, was won by Ken Potts in his Laser.

A force four to five southerly wind greeted the competitors as they rigged on the beach; a lively but very sailable wind, only exacerbated by the large waves breaking on the shore.  Laser sailors Robert Mitchell and Paul Stanton decided to swap their individual dinghies for a joint effort on Mitchell’s Dart 16 catamaran, and were soon flying up and down in eagerness for the start.  Meanwhile the remaining Laser sailors were left toying with which rig would be most suitable for the conditions, and in the end there was a mix of full, radial, and 4.7 sails to be seen.

With high tide just half an hour earlier, and the first leg being a fetch down the coast, against the tide, the competitors remained quite close to the Outer Distance Mark as they cautiously waited for the start.  Mitchell and Stanton had held back a little further than the rest, only to power-up with seconds to go and so set off on a flyer; Stanton out on the wire.  Potts led the monohulls, whilst Carlo Bardetti capsized his Laser but was soon back upright and in full control.  It didn’t take long to make the Eastcliff buoy before a short close-hauled leg to the Lilley Farm mark, followed by a broad reach to AWS.  At this point it was a beat out to the Seaward buoy with the ebb tide pushing the sailors down the coast; the choice was whether to point high for a more direct route, but compromising speed, or to bear off the wind slightly, so gaining greater speed but resulting in having to cover a greater distance.  The sailors seemed divided but as Andy Dunnett gybed around the offshore mark he capsized and lost valuable time in righting his Laser.  All the time the sea had a not insignificant swell, with an uncomfortable chop to contend with.  Yvonne Gough wisely chose to tack her Laser round at this point and closed the gap on the more cavalier competitors.  The penultimate leg proved to be a run, in order to make the Kingscliff buoy, and whilst the dinghies chose a direct goosewing approach, the catamaran downwind tacked.  Fetching back to the line, at the end of the first lap it was Potts who was leading on handicap and, whilst the gaps closed during the second and third laps, he was able to hold off his rivals to take victory.

Results – Winter Series - 2:
1.    Laser – Ken Potts
2.    Laser – Andy Dunnett
3.    Dart 16 – Robert Mitchell and Paul Stanton