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Vortex racing at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Mike Gower 11 Jun 2013 17:40 BST 8-9 June 2013

The weekend of June 8-9 saw the Vortexes join in with the (ex) Laser multi class event at Grafham. The forecast that I saw showed lots of warm sunshine and a wind from the North East between 12 and 15 knots.

Well the wind was about right, possibly a bit more Northerly but one thing it was not and that is warm! Drysuits in June, this just isn't right (well unless you are at Yorkshire Dales I guess). This year we were starting with the Vagos, a bit smaller than 5000s but a lot more of them and they point quite high off a start line so important to try and keep clear.

Mike started at the pin end with Neil and Jonathan close behind and Nick our newcomer to the fleet battling it out with the Vagos. The wind was quite shifty, Mike got his usual lucky lift and got round the windward mark first having dodged all the other fleets heading downwind. Jonathan and Neil were battling away behind allowing Mike to keep clear and take the win. Neil was second with Jonathan coming in a close third.

In the second race positions were reversed with Jonathan getting away at the windward mark. Mike was chasing hard, completely messed up a tack allowing Jonathan to get clear and Neil to catch up. However Mike found another "lucky" shift and at the mark was right back on Jonathan's tail, much to his disbelief. In the end though Jonathan hung on for a well deserved win.

It was all very close on the first beat in the last race of the day; the wind had picked up a notch or two and places were being swapped as first one side was favored then the other. Mike managed to pull out a substantial lead in the end followed in by Neil and then Jonathan.

The regulation Saturday evening visit to the Wheatsheaf saw many pints of Speckled Hen consumed and a wonderful meal. Conversation included an update on the eagerly anticipated new boats and Neil's explanation of how to fall asleep quickly in a camping environment to avoid hearing others snore; despite earplugs I believe he still suffered this from a neighbouring 2000 sailor...

From inside a tent Sunday dawned wonderfully bright but it was all an illusion; outside it was still grey, cold and generally miserable although not raining...the wind had eased slightly but still from the cold North. Even the Grafham geese were nowhere to be seen although Jonathan had found one of the infamous killer shrimp lurking in a pool of water in his hatch cover.

Racing followed the same pattern as Saturday, avoid the Vagos at the start and then the 5000s and 4000s everywhere else. Mike picked up where he had left off with wins in the first 2 races with Jonathan close behind on both occasions. In the last race Neil had a great start and hung on to his lead all the way round with Mike coming in second and Jonathan third.

A great weekends sailing, very well organized by the team at Grafham and our thanks to the race officer and his helpers for excellent courses and getting the races turned around quickly; it was not pleasant hanging around I can tell you.

Next event is at Wilsonian for the Medway regatta 13-14 July, please let it have warmed up by then!

Overall positions:

1. Mike Gower (Wilsonian SC)
2. Neil Spink (Yorkshire Dales SC)
3. Jonathan Carter (Rickmansworth SC)
4. Nick Ireland (Stokes Bay)

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