GUNFLEET Sailing Club held their race for the Bill Clarke Shield, with Paul Stanton taking first place in his Laser.

Another fine day’s weather greeted the sailors as they rigged their boats, with blue skies, sunshine and a very pleasant force two to three south-easterly wind.

The officer of the day had a temporary buoy laid and it was a fine sight to witness the competitors bunched together, right on the line, using the early flood tide to hold them in position until the off.

As the signal flag fell from the yardarm, starting the race, it was Stanton that powered-up instantly and pulled away, with Peter Downer right on his tail in his Comet.

All the dinghies headed up the coast on starboard tack, staying parallel with the shore, before heading out to the windward mark.

It was then a short reach to the Kingscliff buoy, followed by a gybe, and then a second reach down to the Eastcliff mark, the tide now helping the boats on their way.

Stanton had, by this time, managed to pull clear of the next nearest Laser, sailed by Yvonne Gough, and was making good time.

However, as lead boat, it was Stanton that had to decide the best course for the next leg which was a beat out to Seaward.

He wisely chose to head along the shore, retracing his steps up towards the Kingscliff, but when he tacked out to sea he found the tide taking him past his next turning mark which meant a slog back to round it.

Meanwhile, Downer had pushed his Comet well up the pack but on reaching Seaward he found his way blocked by Dave Fowell, in his Solo, who had right of way on starboard tack.

Surprisingly, though, having let Fowell past, Downer was allowed by his rival to broad reach on the windward side, so giving Fowell his dirty wind.

As the boats hooked round the ODM and across the line, for completion of the first lap, it was Downer leading the race by just 16 seconds.

Stanton was having none of this and, on the second and final lap, out-sailed the rest of the fleet to take the winning gun with 15 seconds between him and his nearest rival.

Results: Bill Clarke Shield: 1 Laser – Paul Stanton, 2 Comet – Peter Downer, 3 Solo – Dave Fowell.