Clare Takes Her Europe Dinghy To Victory In Ladies Race

Gunfleet Sailing Club held its Ladies Day on Sunday 18 July, culminating in the afternoon with the race for the Austin Ladies Trophy which was won by Clare Giles in her Europe.

With the weather set fair it was not surprising that there was a very good turn-out of female members and the day commenced with everyone getting afloat, whatever their experience.  It was a fine sight to see twelve dinghies on the water, many double handed, and with light airs it was the opportunity for all to have a go at helming.  Such were the conditions that there was a bit of a reluctance to return to shore, but the cream teas organised in the Clubhouse proved just too tempting.  This was then followed by the race which was held in a very light easterly breeze.  The competitors edged their way to the line but it was clear that one or two had let themselves get dragged away by the flooding tide.  At the start it was Giles who was right on the line, with Gill Williams just behind in the GP14.  Next was Shelby Fowell in her Laser and she kept close to the shore as the dinghies beat up the coast to the Kingscliff buoy.  Frustrated by appearing to lose the wind, Fowell put in a tack and headed out to sea which gave Amy and Belle Hart the chance to slip past her in their Topaz.  Whilst all this was going on, a little further back Lauren Hooper and Shelley Smith, in their Topaz, were neck and neck with Via Lowden, also in a Topaz.  With very slight wind shifts team Hart managed to point high whilst Emily Cossens sailed slightly more free in her Solo, so picking-up boat speed but having further to travel.  The second leg was a reach, with the tide under the boats, to the AWS buoy; Giles carving out a definite lead, Williams following, and then the Harts.  The run from AWS to ODM saw all the boats get dragged down by the tide, and the following beat back to AWS really split the fleet; by now both Fowell and Cossens had overtaken the Harts’ Topaz.  Not only was the breeze very light but there were visible patches on the water where there was a complete hole in the wind.  To get from AWS to Lilley Farm buoy required concentration as the tide seemed keen to sweep the sailors past as they just bore off the wind slightly.  Following a run in to the Eastcliff mark it was a close haul back to the line.  Although originally set for three laps, such were the conditions that the shorten course flag was hoisted and Giles crossed the finish line to take the honours.

Results – Austin Ladies Trophy:
1.    Europe – Clare Giles
2.    GP14 – Gill Williams
3.    Solo – Emily Cossens

Course Board
Date 18 July 2021
Race Austin Ladies Trophy
Start Time 14:15
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Up to Force 2
Wind Direction Easterly
High Tide 06:31
Course K - AWS - ODM - AWS - Lilley Farm - Eastcliff - Line