Tappenden Takes His RS Aero To Victory

Another gorgeous Wednesday evening set the scene for the second race in the Gunfleet Sailing Club Tony Chadd Trophy Series on 8 May 2024.  A force two to three south-easterly wind, coupled with blue skies and the last of the day’s sunshine provided the backdrop for an enjoyable tussle.

The low tide had only just turned as sixteen dinghies headed to the line in the knowledge the initial leg would be a reach against the first of the flood.  The craft edged to the start and, as the class flag fell from the yardarm, it was John Tappenden taking the lead, in his RS Aero, followed by Ken Potts in his Laser, Brian Allen in his RS Aero, and then the Lasers of Tim Dye and Paul Stanton.  Until the competitors reached the Kingscliff buoy it was a bit of a procession, but the beat out to Preston Park helped to break up the fleet; at which point Tappenden maintained his lead, followed by Allen, Potts and Dye.  There then came Derroll Pedder in his RS Aero, Robert Mitchell and Andy Dunnett in their Lasers, and Martin Chivers in his RS Aero; by now it began to look like a two class race.  The third leg was a broader reach into the ODM before a short beat to the AWS buoy.  Tappenden, now comfortably leading, surprised everyone by hardening up and letting the tide pull him towards Clacton Pier, before putting a tack in to make the mark; Most others tacked immediately they rounded ODM so letting the tide take them onto AWS, but Tappenden’s move did him no harm and he only seemed to widen the gap.  At this point Allen fell behind Dye and Pedder.  A second broad reach down the coast to Eastcliff was followed by a third short beat to the Lilley Farm buoy and finally a reach back to the line, at which point Allen had got back ahead of Pedder; out in front, and apparently unstoppable, was Tappenden.  A lot further back, but sailing very well on handicap, was Tom Bartlett in his Topaz.  On the second lap the wind began to drop and the lead positions did not change; on the broader reaches the GP14’s hoisted their spinnakers but it was all too little too late and made little impression on the rest of the fleet.  The shorten course flag lazily fluttered as Tappenden took the winning gun.  Special mention must be made of Bartlett who, on handicap, took a very creditable fourth place, beating several more experienced helms.

Results – Tony Chadd Series - 2:
1.    RS Aero – John Tappenden
2.    Laser – Ken Potts
3.    Laser –Tim Dye

Course Board
Date 8 May 2024
Race Tony Chadd Series - 2
Start Time 19:00
Wind Strength (Beaufort) Force 2 to 3, falling
Wind Direction East/South-East
High Tide 12:54
Course K - PP - ODM - AWS - E - LF - Line