Taking note from a line from a well known Take That track played off for Act One of the Autumn series. As it approached the scheduled start time we sat on the prom, temperature in the high twenties but virtually no wind. It was decided to postpone the start in the hope of a sea breeze arriving. As we waited the beach was becoming very crowded as people were taking advantage of the Costa Del Gorleston conditions so getting the boats to the shoreline could prove a challenge. The wait proved too long for a few who decided to head home. However, just before midday the first signs of breeze arrived which triggered much activity on the prom as boats were made ready to launch.
At the start of race one the sea breeze up built to a F1-2 with the sea like a mill pond and just a hint of flood tide. Steve (Europe) was first to cross the line followed by Phil, sailing his 400 solo as the crew had mutinied and had gone SUP-ing! With a couple of boats a tad late getting to the start the race was shortened to one lap. Solo Phil crossed the line first just ahead of Adrian (D-One) and Chris & Keith (500) third. With Steve finishing just a few minutes later he took the win on corrected time with Phil second and Adrian third.
With the fleet now at full strength race two got underway. Phil (700), sporting his brand new mainsail was first to the windward mark followed by Tom & Will (505). Phil (400) had now gained a crew for the race with John swapping RIB for 400. With Phil (700) well clear after two laps he headed off for a third. The race was then shortened with Tom & Will first to finish with the rest of the fleet finishing within forty seconds of each other. On corrected time Steve made it two in a row with Phil (700) second and Tom & Will third.
Sadly the sea breeze had started to fade as race two finished and with it a change of wind direction to the SSE and so the race team made a quick course change. With the tide now at full flow there was a strong likelihood of an early starter which proved to be the case with two boats over at the start. In the light flaky winds it was slow progress to the windward mark. Despite the difference in handicaps the fleet arrived at the mark close together. Steve, having just rounded decided he needed to cool off and capsized but a rapid recovery meant he lost little distance. It was even slower progress back to the leeward gate ! Phil (700) and Adrian, having immediately gybed and headed inshore were initially looking well ahead of the others and set to reach the gate in good time. However, as they got close to shore the wind faded. With everyone now struggling against the tide the race team moved the finish line closer to the fleet. In the light winds spinnakers were becoming harder to fly so most decided to drop them. Steve, having found some wind mid course at one time looked have moved into the lead but that was short lived as the wind moved across the course. After over half an hour Phil crossed the line with Adrian crossing a couple of minutes later. With Steve crossing a few minutes later it was close enough to claim a clean sweep with Adrian second and Phil third.
It was a slow drag against the tide back to the club. By this time the beach was extremely crowded with the shoreline packed with paddlers and swimmers. Thankfully the on-duty Lifeguard did a splendid job of crowd control clearing a space for us to land the boats and get to the prom. Considering the conditions we probably caught the best ‘wind window’ and managed to get two good races and one ‘not so good’ race in what was a beautiful day which was anything but Autumnal.