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Vortex National Championship at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

By Vortex Class Association on 21 Sep 2011 17-18 September 2011
Photos © Phil Priestley
Vortex nationals at Yorkshire Dales
Vortex nationals at Yorkshire Dales

Eighteen sailors from ten clubs from as far as Scotland and London travelled to the Yorkshire Dales to contest this year's National Championship. A perfect force 3 and sunshine made fantastic trapezing conditions with mile beats on Saturday, with light weather conditions testing the heavy weather brigade on Sunday.

Race reports from individual sailors to give you an insite on there tactics and progress through the race.

Race 1, Terry Pressdee 1180

I needed a good start if I wanted to do well this year but found myself doing penalty turns after reversing into Ed Corteen . Last across the line and struggling to get going I tacked on to port. A good lift gained me several places. I think it was Jim leading the fleet round the windward mark with Dave, Phil, Mike, James, Ian and Neil all close behind. I rounded in 14th and went over 3 boats with the kite up and moving fast. A quick gybe and more pressure on the left and then gybe back to gain room at the mark moved me into 6th. Phil had now taken the lead and was well away. On the beat, I stayed in the middle of the lake as the wind was shifty but building. Holding my position to the top mark, I went high again to get the hull flying and was passing boats downwind again to claim several places. On the last beat, as Phil rounded, Mike had moved into second with James and Neil passing me up wind. I needed to do something good and gybing soon after the mark to the far shore, was the right move. Phil finished with the win. Mike followed in 2nd and I gained 3rd with some home advantage skills.

Race 2, Neil Spink 1048

Thoughts from the back!! The second race saw a bit more wind, and also a swing to the North West – just before the start – making the line impossible to reach on starboard. A few souls spotted this with 2 mins to go and headed off to the far end of the line. Neil and Angus were in prime position but Angus bolted early, forcing Neil over the line with a clear side-on view for the race officer. This left Terry with the best official start whilst Neil went back to the line and duly started from the back. Angus didn’t and was duly OCS. Things looked bad as the shift continued making the first beat almost a fetch and a tight reach in gusty conditions for the first downwind (or was that cross-wind) leg – conditions relished by Phil, Ian and Terry blasting downwind. The race officer saw the shift and moved the top mark to a correct upwind position. At the back it was pretty apparent that the lead boats were not pointing very well and perhaps the port side of the course might offer some lift. Andrew spotted this and headed across moving up to 2 by the top-mark as did Neil who gained about 12 places, (Best move of the day). On the downwind-leg it was the north shore side that provided the best conditions – those that headed across, Ian, Neil and Terry all gained places. The third lap was the same – Port side gains and Leeward kite leg. At the mark the brave held their kites for the finish line resulting in some pretty spectacular last minute action. Finally at the line it was all Phil again, Terry, Andrew, Ian and an impressive 5th for Neil. All YDSC.

Race 3, Phil Whitehead 1045

The wind was building for race 3 and I managed to get quick of the blocks rounding the first mark by quite a stretch and was never troubled to the finish . Ian , James, Terry and Neil were having tussles throughout the race with place changing every leg. But it was heavy weather man Ian who pipped James for second place , with Terry taking fourth place. Neil , after a long lay off came home 5th. A bit short as I was not trying to look behind!

Race 4, Ian Craven 1160

Race 4 started in a respectable force 4 with all boats trapezing up to the windward marker. Phil, Ian and Terry were on the pace with Mike and James close behind. Phil managed to pull away from the group as Ian and Terry were crossing within inches of each other on the beats and even down wind going in different directions, there wasn't a boat length after 2 laps. The next beat saw a split, Terry held onto the north shore thinking it was good as Ian tacked to the middle. When Terry came back, he couldn't lay the mark as Ian now at full speed and pulled a good distance away. Still less than a minute behind Phil, he had no time to rest. But dodging the boats on the way up was Phil's downfall of the race, with a full contact collision with Keith beating up on starboard, causing Phil, also on starboard, to capsize and let Ian though to give him his 1st race win on a Vortex event. Phil recovered to finish 2nd but later retired after realising he had not done a penalty. Terry gained 2nd and James 3rd. Biggest improver on the day was Ben Murrell, only his second time in a Vortex was standing in for a forth place until a capsize from a mistimed gybe on the way to the finish line, knocking him back to 12th, giving the forth place to Mike.

That was an action packed last race for the day and all the sailors had many stories to tell as Yorkshire Dales SC during the organized Hog Roast and Hoe Down evening which was a perfect end to the day.

Race 5, Mike Gower 1013

Dave got a great start at speed (well as quick as the light conditions allowed) right at the pin end and pulled away from Mike who had to tack off to try and get clear air. Dave hung on left as most others went up the middle or right and this paid handsomely as he arrived at the windward mark with a 30 yard lead , gybed and went left downwind searching out the breeze. The following boats went the opposite way with Mike gybing first onto port having found a small puff. Ian also followed and these two overhauled Dave and the rest of the fleet that went right. Mike rounded the leeward mark in first place closely followed by Ian with the chasing pack of Dave, Andy and Neil not far behind. Mike played the shifts keeping Ian behind and then took the same course as before downwind trying to keep in the areas of higher pressure. He succeeded in pulling away a little bit more from Ian and took the win with Andy coming in third and Dave hanging onto fourth place. Finally the Yorkshire Dales stranglehold on first place had been broken!

Race 6, Andrew Straton 1041

A good start for once found me on starboard tack at the committee boat end with 2 or 3 others just behind. When clear, I tack onto port as did Phil. Keeping the tacks to a minimum. I was leading by a good distance at the 1st mark while the wind dropped completely. Phil rounded next with Andy,Terry and Neil following. I got the kite up smartly enough. I stuck to the starboard tack for a couple of hundred yards and then gybed to port while Phil continued on starboard well down the course. I thought I had made a big mistake when the wind began to ease and finally died on me and then started to come from all directions but very light. I decided to drop the kite and go straight for the mark. The wind was beginning to fill in from the SW again.The race officer had noted the increasing breeze crossing the water and indicated to Phil and myself that we should continue for another lap, much to our horror as the fleet were catching up rapidly, but as I rounded the leeward mark just ahead of Phil the breeze picked up and we were off again. This time I waited for Phil to tack and then tacked over him. Phil seemed to be going a good speed but very slightly more off wind than me and I gradually gained on him once more. Again we had to tack again before reaching the windward mark and again I tacked earlier than Phil and made more ground on him. This time the downwind leg was good and Phil was making up the ground on me rapidly. We both thought that we would finish on this leg and Phil went a little lower than me to get better speed to the finish but again the race officer had not put up the shorten course flag and, much to Phil’s annoyance, indicated that we should do one more lap. Phil was now only 10 feet behind me and I thought that that would be that; I could not possibly hold him off for another lap but history repeated itself and again I drew ahead on the beat up to the windward mark and managed to hold my lead to the finish. Phil finished second with Terry passing 2 boats on the last leg for a very crucial 3rd position.

My first race win in a Vortex event; I haven’t stopped smiling yet!

With Phil finishing 6th in race 5. All was still to play for in the decider with both Phil and Ian on 9 points and terry on 11. Could be a new champion if Phil has a poor result. Not to be, as Phil beat them both to retain the National Championship. Terry over took Ian to clinch runner up position with Ian 3rd, just one point behind.

Many thanks go to the Mike Saul and John Turley for being ood's for a day. The Galley who looked after everybody and the escort boat cover on course mark moving to speed things up. Next event is the Inland championships at Rutland on 15-16 October.

Overall Results:

PosHelmClub Sail NoR1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1stPhil WhiteheadYDSC1045111(DNF)6211
2ndTerry PressdeeYDSC11803242-10314
3rdIan CravenYDSC1160-64212615
4thMike GowerWilsonian SC101327-9418.522.5
5thJames WhiteheadFiley SC11454633-121026
6thNeil SpinkYDSC1048755(DNC)5426
7thAndrew StratonYDSC1041-113889129
8thJim TriceCalshot SC115258125-148.538.5
9thAndy MawBurghfiels SC1178-151114113544
10thBen MurrellYDSC11741097128-1546
11thDave HottonDraycote Water SC1123813-151041449
12thAlec GlendinningBrampton SC1175912-167131354
13thAngus WinchesterCastle Semple SC118114(OCS)119111156
14thEd CorteenPennine SC1066-1614106161258
15thMick CollinsYDSC1117131013(DNC)151667
16thNeil AshurstYDSC1193(DNC)DNCDNCDNC7771
17thKeith EscrittYDSC116412(DNF)6DNCDNCDNC75
18thAlex Bendfield 1089171517(DNC)DNCDNC87
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