Lively Conditions At Gunfleet 2023 Regatta

Gunfleet Sailing Club held its two-day 2023 Regatta over the weekend of 1 and 2 July, sponsored by Orsted, and Odiin, in lively conditions with a mixture of blue skies, sunshine, and squally winds, keeping competitors on their toes at all times; all money raised during the Regatta being donated to the Clacton Lifeboat Station.

With sailors coming from as far afield as Minorca and America, it was great to be able to offer such a superb location as Holland on Sea to test everyone’s skills on the water.  Day One saw three races for the Gunfleet Diamond Jubilee Trophy, with each competitor’s best two positions counting to the overall results.  The westerly wind, blowing force four, gusting five, made the first race quite a lively affair, with a number of capsizes; the 29er of Ella and Lette Langfeldt being particularly vulnerable when the asymmetric spinnaker was flown.  The beat to the Eastcliff buoy proved gruelling but the broad reach that followed, out to the Seaward mark, kept everyone on their toes and that was the leg that saw many sailors take a ducking.  But before anyone could have a moment’s breather it was a second beat back to the Lilley Farm buoy, a very broad reach to Preston Park, and a final beat back to the line.  Despite being challenged by Derroll Pedder and Michael Gutteridge in their Hurricane, it was Robert Mitchell and Brian Allen that lead the catamarans in their Dart 16, but on handicap failed to make an indent in the leading dinghies; Andy Cornforth taking first place, Ken Potts second, and Jono Dunnett third, all three sailing Lasers.  The second race saw the wind strengthening, and touching a force six, and seeing a change of fortunes for the catamarans – Mitchell and Allen taking the top spot in the Dart 16, Potts second and Dunnett third.  The third and final race proved to be a real decider as there were four possible contenders for the trophy.  In an incredibly tight start it was evident the Laser sailors were determined to get home first and, having just missed out on the top three positions previously, Tim Dye drove his Laser into third place, behind Cornforth second and Potts first.  With a tie for first place, based on the best two results, it was necessary to reinstate the discarded race, and this saw Potts take the trophy.  However, with such a large fleet entering the races it was of little surprise that there were class races going on within each main race.  The three RS Aeros battled it out to see who was to be their lead sailor and whilst John Tappenden, from Gunfleet took the first race, it was visitor Dave Perkins, from Hertford County Yacht Club, who took overall top-spot.  In the GP14s it was Ian Barker and Vince Crabtree that pushed ahead of Simon and Nicky Kedge, and Paul Jackson and Lucy Powell, to lead the way.  Simon Clarke, in his new Europe, sailed in ahead of Clare Giles’s Europe in the first race, but Giles showed Clarke the way in the second race; all eyes being on the third race to see who would nail it.  After some hard racing it was Clarke that just slipped ahead.  The Toppers, fearless to the end, saw some exciting battles taking place. 
Diamond Jubilee Trophy: 
1.    Laser – Ken Potts 
2.    Laser – Andy Cornforth 
3.    Laser – Jono Dunnett

In the morning of Day Two it was the all-in handicap race for the RNLI Charity Shield.  Half an hour before the start a quite vicious squall blew through, causing a number of competitors to decide to sit the race out.  The Laser fleet bunched close to the Inner Distance Mark at the start and were soon close hauled and heading out to sea on starboard tack, in order to gain the tail end of the flood tide; the catamarans accelerating past them at impressive speeds on their way down the coast to Eastcliff. Although the south-westerly wind abated a little, the race continued to be gruelling and Simon and Nicky Kedge capsized and turtled their GP14, allowing their fellow GP14 sailors to pull away.  Mark and George Venables capsized their Dart 18 but wasted little time righting it and chasing after the rest of the fleet.  Meanwhile there was some impressive sailing by the Cadets in their Toppers, handling the conditions really well.

RNLI Charity Shield: 
1.    Laser – Jono Dunnett 
2.    Laser – Ken Potts 
3.    Laser – Yvonne Gough 
Under 18:  Topper – Adam Kedge

After lunch there followed the Class Racing with the catamarans away first, then the Toppers, and finally the Lasers; the Toppers requiring a special mention as they were all sailed by Cadets who showed real determination and skill in taking on the very lively conditions.

1.    Dart 16 – Robert Mitchell and Brian Allen 
2.    Dart 18 – Mark and George Venables 
3.    Hurricane 5.9 – Derroll Pedder and Michael Gutteridge 
1.    Ken Potts 
2.    Jono Dunnett 
3.    Andy Cornforth 
1.    Finley Taylor 
2.    Adam Kedge 
3.    Maddy Challis

Regatta 2023 Slideshow

Photographer Colin Waddell has kindly put together a slideshow of the 2023 Gunfleet Regatta weekend (interspersed with bits of film).

Course Board
Date 1 July 2023
Race Diamond Jubilee Trophy
Start Time 1. 11:00, 2. 13:30, 3. 15:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 4 to 5, gusting 6
Wind Direction Westerly
High Tide 10:46
Course E - S - LF - PP - Line