Peter Pips Them All To The Post

The second race in Gunfleet Sailing Club’s Autumn Series was held in summer-like conditions, with blue skies, unbroken sunshine, and a very light breeze.

Whilst the crews were rigging their boats a force two to three northerly wind blew but as they started launching so the breeze faded away and then returned from the north-east; backing northerly very soon after.  The freshly flooding tide held the dinghies back as they crept towards the line but Robert Mitchell was just a touch over-eager in his Laser, and as the start signal echoed across the water so the individual recall flag was hoisted to indicate his misdemeanour; losing him valuable time returning to correct the mistake.  Meanwhile Jono Dunnett, also in a Laser, had hovered inside the Inner Distance Mark and speedily hooked round it to make the best start.  At that very early point in the race the wind chose to veer east and as the boats rounded the Kingscliff buoy it was Mitchell first, having made-up for his earlier faux-pas, Jono Dunnett, then Andy Dunnett in his Laser.  The second leg initially appeared to be a reach out the Seaward mark and Mitchell found new wind and extended his lead, but the wind then veered again, to the south-east, causing him to fall below the lay line.  As the whole fleet began to get swept towards Clacton Pier both Jono Dunnett and Mitchell tacked, followed shortly after by Peter Downer in his Comet; a smart move by Downer as it put him ahead of Malcolm Smith, who up to then had been in the leading Comet.  After Seaward it was a very broad reach in to the AWS buoy and on this leg Brian Allen sailed his Laser passed Andy Dunnett and started to close the gap on Jono Dunnett.  Mitchell maintained his lead as the fleet reached to the Lilley Farm buoy, ran to the Eastcliff mark and finally fetched back through the line.  As the competitors started the second lap it was Mitchell first, followed by Downer who was just ahead of Jono Dunnett on handicap.  Once again the leg from Kingscliff to Seaward caught the sailors out, despite some of them continuing up the coast before putting a tack in, with the hope of directly making the buoy; sadly this was not to be.  At this point Eddie White retired, in his Comet, frustrated by the light winds; Smith to follow him a little later on.  Throughout the second lap, Downer was nudging his way to the lead and his efforts paid-off when he took the winning gun by 15 seconds, whilst Allen had closed that gap on Jono Dunnett to finish just one boat length behind his nearest rival.

Results – Autumn Series - 2:
1.    Comet – Peter Downer
2.    Laser – Robert Mitchell
3.    Laser – Jono Dunnett