Simon Scoops Spring Series

Yet another day of unsettled weather greeted the members of Gunfleet Sailing Club on Sunday 28 April when they rigged-up for the final race of the Spring Series, and after a real battle round the buoys it was Simon Clarke that took his Europe to victory, both in the race itself and the series overall.

Up to six minutes before the start a force 4 gusting 5 southerly wind blew cold across the North Sea, but it then veered westerly in a matter of seconds, with quite vicious gusts causing a number of capsizes.  It was of little surprise that, at the start, the fleet beat out to sea to benefit from the flood tide lift, as it headed down the coast to the Eastcliff mark.  Ken Potts lead the way in his Laser, followed by Clarke in his Europe, and then Tim Dye in his Laser.  The second leg was now a run to the AWS buoy with boats gybing a number of times under the wind shifts; Tom Bartlett, in his Topaz, leading in the capsize stakes.  By now, Clarke had taken the top spot and held onto it on the reach out to the Seaward mark, as well as the return journey back to AWS, but Potts reclaimed the lead as the boats then headed up to the Kingscliff buoy.  Dye, hanging onto his third position, then capsized as he made for Kingscliff, allowing Robert Mitchell to move his Laser up a place.  Gybing at Kingscliff, it was out to the Preston Park buoy before beating back to the line.  Unfortunately for Potts, he capsized just before completing the first lap which allowed Clarke to gain first place and Mitchell second.  On the second lap it was Mitchell’s turn to capsize, but he wasn’t alone as Andy Stafford was also having his fair share of going over in his Laser.  Dye, not downhearted because of his earlier capsize, seized the opportunity to take Mitchell and go after Potts; the latter capsized at the Seaward mark, righted the boat, and then capsized again, which gave Dye the chance he had been waiting for, sailing past him to then go for Clarke.  At the end of the second lap, Clarke held the lead, but only just; the third and final lap saw Clarke give it his all, taking the winning gun, with Dye second, and Mitchell third.
Results – Spring Series Overall:
1.    Europe – Simon Clarke
2.    Laser – Ken Potts
3.    Laser – Robert Mitchell