The Vortex fleet joined the Laser 2000s, 4000s, 5000s and Vagos at Rutland over the weekend of 15-16 October for their Inland Championships. The forecast didn’t look very inspiring apart from lots of sunshine but in the end it all worked out fine.
The fleet started with the 5000s and the first race was held in a shifty force 2 with the occasional gust. Phil Whitehead was first round the windward mark with the rest of the pack close behind. As the kites filled Phil underestimated the wind strength and tipped it over allowing the rest of the fleet by. Mike Gower graciously took the lead and gradually sailed away from the rest to win by a substantial margin after 6 laps. Phil eventually got going and the race was long enough for him to pull back into second place with Angus Winchester coming in third after a race long battle with Jonathan Carter.
Off the line in the second race and Phil and Jonathan headed out right while the majority went up the middle. It looked as if they would sail over the whole fleet but it wasn’t to be as the wind filled in on the other side allowing Dave Hotten and Mike to round the mark first and second. The wind remained very light and shifty and Mike managed to get past Dave downwind and hang on to the lead as once again Phil and Jonathan battled it out for second and third.
The wind started to really fade away for the third race. Again Jonathan went right (a long way right) and this time found some breeze and sailed off on his own unchallenged. Again Phil came in second (Mr Consistency) with Angus third. Mike managed to get past Ed Corteen on the final mark but Ed was quicker on to the wire to the line and sailed over the top of Mike.
Sunday morning dawned fairly still but by the time everyone got to the start line we had a nice force 3 from a more westerly direction. Off we went again with Phil leading. Round the leeward mark Phil decided to head off to the wrong mark allowing Mike and Jonathan through; these two had a right old battle and with the wind now increasing and the added perils of 4000s and 5000s charging downwind to avoid. Jonathan got caught up with a 4000 rounding a mark allowing Mike to nip through and hang on to take the win. There was also an incident with a fishing boat that had foolishly decided the leeward mark was a good place to be; somehow two Vortexes and a 5000 managed to squeeze between him and the mark, I just kept my eyes shut as it was all a bit exciting! Phil came in just behind in third.
The wind held up for the next race too; again it was the same three fighting for the lead. Phil had problems dropping his kite and Mike managed to get in front of Jonathan and after 4 laps headed for the finish line. Jonathan and Phil continued on for another lap, all parties convinced they were correct. There was a long wait as all the other fleets had to finish but the race officer confirmed that Mike was correct (much to his relief).
In the last race Phil took an early lead upwind only to follow the leading 5000 in the wrong direction on the next leg; he recovered quickly and overtook Mike downwind and hung on till the finish to finally get a win. Mike came in second with Jonathan third again.
This meant that Mike took the title of Inland Champion finally breaking the Yorkshire Dales hold on the trophy.
|1||Mike Gower||1013||Wilsonian SC|
|2||Phil Whitehead||1045||Yorkshire Dales|
|3||Jonathan Carter||1153||Rickmansworth SC|
|4||Angus Winchester||1181||Castle Semple SC|
|5||Ed Corteen||1066||Pennine SC|
|6||Alec Glendinning||1175||Brampton SC|
|7||Dave Hotten||1123||Draycote Water|
|8||Mike Collins||1117||Yorkshire Dales|
|9||Stephen Carr||1025||Brightlingsea SC|