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GP14 Open at Leigh-on-Sea Sailing Club

by Steve Corbet 19 Jul 2022 17:19 BST 16 July 2022
Leigh-on-Sea GP14 Open Prize Winners © Steve Corbet

Arriving at the club early for opening up I found three visitors already waiting at the gate keen to rig their boats, despite that it was about 6 hours to high tide and 4 hours before the mud would be covered and ready for sailing.

Over the next few hours three more visitors arrived, boats were rigged, problems and tangles sorted, and rig tensions measured, adjusted, and then returned to original settings. The club galley opened to serve tea, coffee and bacon rolls. All to a background of very warm sunshine and a slowly building easterly sea breeze. The beach was rapidly filling with families, but the beach marshal managed to keep a clear route to the water for boats to launch.

After a welcome by the Vice Commodore and a short briefing we took to the water to find the committee boat. For the first race the RO set compact course. Maurice Cleal, 14253, lead the fleet off the line, was first round the windward mark closely followed by David Innes and Steve Cooper. All boats bar one flew spinnakers on the reach, run and reach all be it with a fair bit of flapping. The positions were unchanged through the gate on the beat. Positions remained unchanged at the front for the next two rounds, but in the now brisk breeze boats at the back found that keeping the spinny in the boat was the quickest way round the course.

For the second race the RO extended the course, but the start was delayed as with the strengthened wind the committee boat kept dragging the anchor, after 3 or 4 attempts they managed to fix the boat on station. Charlie Cotter, 13572, found that the conditions were too much and after a slow capsize recovery retired and didn't start race 2. The remaining six boats set off with Maurice leading around the first windward mark, with Steve Cooper in pursuit. There was some place changing with Steve Cooper first through the gate on round 2 but Maurice regained the lead to take the win in race 2. Behind the leaders Andy Shrimpton managed to lose his rudder, but recovered it without a capsize, Jamie Isles capsized and recovered to finish, David Innes had his first capsize for 5 years and needed some help to get the boat upright, he was towed ashore but the club support boat Jubilee.

Race 3 started with a depleted fleet, Maurice Cleal lead the fleet around all three rounds with Steve Cooper a close second. Andy Shrimpton and Steve Corbet were swapping places in third and forth with Andy getting third place by about 30 seconds. Jamie Isles unfortunately lost his rudder again but this time it resulted in a double capsize. The waves kicked up by the strong sea breeze gave some helms not used to the conditions some difficulty when bearing away around the windward mark - more sea sailing needed.

After racing it was sunset drinks on the club balcony with BBQ burgers and sausages.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st14253Maurice ClealRomaek KowalewskiWHSC / Wembley‑1112
2nd14110Stephen CooperCathy HowardWelsh Harp SC‑3224
3rd14179Steve CorbetLiz NobletLeigh on Sea SC‑4347
4th13577Andy ShrimptonRoger JeffsWHSC‑6538
5th13299Jamie IslesKana ButkovicWelsh Harp SC54(DNF)9
6th14234David InnesJohn McGuinnessFrensham Pond SC2(DNF)DNC10
7th13532Charlie CotterSue TomkinsWHSC7(DNC)DNC15

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