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Vortex Open at Wilsonian Sailing Club

by Mike Gower 4 Jul 2011 13:14 BST 2-3 July 2011

Saturday morning saw 4 visitors from as far afield as Glasgow, Brightlingsea and the Solent joining 4 of the home boats for this years Vortex Open at Wilsonian SC, part of the Medway regatta weekend sponsored by MTS and Hyde Sails.

The sun was shining and the water sparkling with a gentle easterly breeze looking hopeful for a great days racing; Angus remarked he thought he was on the Mediterranean rather than the Medway.

All got away cleanly with Mike Gower leading at the first mark with Jim Trice snapping at his heels. By the next mark Jim was in front after an excellent bit of sailing up the first beat. Heading off downwind was exhilarating with enough wind to now be out on the wire playing the gusts; Jim was having such a good time he went straight past the downwind mark and just kept going ( obviously didn’t listen to Simon’s advice from last year ) allowing Mike to take back the lead. Jonathan Carter was close behind and took advantage of Jim’s mistake as well. Jim had further problems with his kite allowing Angus Winchester through into third place by the finish.

The second race started in similar fashion with Angus, Jonathan and Jim making the early running chased by Mike and Phil Harris. Jonathan managed to capsize ( one of the last gusts I expect) but as all headed downriver all were in contention with lots of place swapping. Unfortunately the wind then decided to switch off and with a strong tide underneath all headed down to the turning mark. From here it was a fight against the tide in a frustrating wind that came and went. Angus managed to find a bit more than anyone else and was able to get across the line ahead of Jonathan. Behind them it was anyone’s guess who would get a lucky puff of wind. Mike pulled away from Jim and Phil to get the third place. Of course after the struggle to get over the line the wind filled in and it was mostly a glorious sail all the way back to the club with kites up.

Saturday evening’s discussion centred around Ian Watson’s collision with a Wayfarer (guess who came off worse) and whether weed around your foils really slows you down much or whether it is just in the mind; what was agreed though was that sailing your Vortex off the beach with the trolley still attached was definitely slow although it could provide a useful way of getting back onboard after a capsize (no names mentioned here of course).

Sunday morning didn’t look too hopeful with a light westerly breeze that would fight with a building sea breeze. It was all good at first with some tactical downwind manouvres as Angus, Jonathan, Mike and Jim all held the lead at various times. Phil Harris was trying the goosewing technique to keep in close contention as all hugged the shore trying to keep out of the tide. Somehow Mike managed to keep moving forwards despite running aground on the Medway mud occasionally and progressed towards mark 25; this necessitated heading out into the tide but he succeeded in getting around the mark and heading back to the finish line. No one else could get round in the diminishing wind so Mike was the only boat to get a finish. The race officer took the wise decision that the wind was never going to fill in until far too late in the day so the last race was cancelled leaving Mike as the overall winner.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st1013Mike GowerWilsonian SC1315
2nd1181Angus WinchesterCastle Semple SC31DNF13
3rd1153Jonathan CarterRickmansworth SC22DNF13
4th1028Phil HarrisWilsonian SC64DNF19
5th1152Jim TriceCalshot SC46DNF19
6th1156Simon MiddletonWilsonian SC55DNF19
7th1025Stephen Eric CarrBSC77DNF23
8th1072Ian WatsonWilsonian SCDNFDNSDNF27