Please select your home edition
Leaderboard brokerage

Vattenfall Forts Race Weekend at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Robert Govier 15 Sep 2015 09:21 BST 12-13 September 2015

The Vattenfall Forts Race Weekend was held on 12th and 13th September at Whitstable Yacht Club. The premier catamaran long distance race was held on the Saturday, in a shifty F3-F5 southerly wind, giving the 20 catamarans taking part some tricky conditions on the initial tight kite leg out to the Red Sands Forts in the middle of the Thames Estuary. Nicholas Barnes and Neil Bladry were early casualties when they flipped their viper in a strong gust. They proved the benefit of carrying flares in a long distance race when one of the team was separated from the boat, to be picked up by Peter Wilson and Steve Hodges in their Tornado. Once returned to their boat, they righted it on their own, but headed for home.

Grant Piggott and Stu Smith were the first boat back to the gate at Whitstable Yacht Club in their foiling Nacra 20 FCS, narrowly beating Will Sunnucks and Chris Neal in their Flying Phantom Foiler. The race then headed out to a buoy off the newly finished Vattenfall Wind Farm extension, which actually started to generate electricity for the first time during the race! The Flying Phantom Foiler suffered gear failure on the way out to the Windfarm buoy, and had to retire, allowing the Nacra 20 FCS to lead the way for the rest of the race and take the Vattenfall Trophy for line honours.

In the non-foiling boats, the Shockwave F18 of Simon Northrop and Simon Fraz Farren separated early from the pack to build up a lead on the water of over 12 minutes on the next placed boat over the following 2 legs, to Herne Bay Pier, and out to Spile Buoy. The Tornado of Paul Mines and Stu Smith chased them around the course, but couldn't quite catch them up, coming home third on the water. Further back, Peter Wilson and Stephen Hodges lead the main pack in their Tornado after returning to the race following their rescue of the Viper sailor. Robert Govier and David Figgis in their Capricorn F18, Ghislan Melaine and Greg Crease in their Cirius F18 and Richard Ledger and Tom Bruton in their Nacra 17 had a close race for the next place, regularly swapping places on the water. After falling back on the Herne Bay leg, Robert and David managed to catch up and overtake the other two boats on the final punishing leg out to Spile Buoy, to come in fifth on the water, with the Cirius in sixth and Nacra 17 in seventh.

On corrected time, Simon Northrop and Simon Fraz Farren came first overall in their Nacra F18, with Grant Piggot and Adam Kay in second on their Nacra 20 FCS, and Paul Mines and Stu Smith in third on their Tornado. Forth boat, and first Whitstable Yacht Club boat was Peter Wilson and Steve Hodges on their Tornado, and Robert Govier and David Figgis came in fifth on their Capricorn F18 In the 'Short Race', six Dart 18s set off to do the Forts and Wind Farm legs, with three making it around the two legs. After 2 ¾ hours on the water, less than 5 minutes separated the boats on the water, and only 16 seconds between 2nd and 3rd! Mark Robson and Kerra Pearce lead the group round to take line honours, with Mark and Stephanie Howleger in second place, and Tony Dod and Lugh Horner in third.

The finishing boats on the full course had raced on a course over 47 miles long, with the leading boat finishing in just over three hours, and the last placed finished taking a little over 4 hours, sailing at all wind angles in a mix of sea states from very choppy to almost flat, and got to see all the sights in the Thames Estuary off the Whitstable coast. The Dart 18s racing the 'Short Course' covered over 26 miles in 2 ¾ hours.

On Sunday Whitstable Yacht Club hosted a shorter single lap race around the Ham Gat buoy, in very light conditions. The conditions didn't suit the foiling boats, and the race was won both on the water, and on corrected time, by Simon Northrop and Simon Fraz Farren on their Nacra F18.

A great time was had by all, including those who had to cut their race short. There's nothing quite like sailing to a point on the horizon at full speed under race conditions, and the race is set to return in September 2016.

For more information and full results, see More photos will be posted shortly at

Related Articles

Tornado and Formula 18 UK Nationals at Whitstable
A classic Whitstable weekend of sailing and social Whitstable Yacht Club hosted the UK National Championships for the Tornado and Formula 18 catamaran classes on 18th and 19th September. The 4 local Tornados were joined by 8 more Tornados and 11 F18s Posted on 22 Sep 2021
Mike Fitzpatrick of Whistable YC passes away
Olympic campaigner, class measurer, championship organiser and author Sadly, we must report that a long-standing member of Whitstable Yacht Club and the worldwide sailing community, Mike Fitzpatrick, passed away at the weekend after a long illness. Posted on 18 Aug 2021
Barton Marine's Top Tips for Laserfest
Sailors from across the UK will descend on Whitstable this weekend This coming weekend, 10th - 11th July, Laser sailors from across the UK will descend on Whitstable for one of the sailing season's favourite Laser sailing events. Posted on 7 Jul 2021
Tasar UK Nationals at Whitstable
The first event for both the class and the host club since lockdowns After a fallow year caused by lockdowns the 2021 UK Nationals was the first event for both the class and the host club, Whitstable YC, since the end of 2019. Posted on 8 Jun 2021
Merlin Rockets at Whitstable
23 boats enjoy sunshine for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 1 The weekend of the 5th and 6th June saw 23 Merlin Rockets descend on Whitstable Yacht Club for a glorious weekend in the sunshine for the first Craftinsure Silver Tiller of 2021. Posted on 8 Jun 2021
Allen Endurance Series 2021
Additional event, bigger prize fund and new website for 4th season The Allen Endurance Series (AES) will be returning for its 4th season, this time with the inclusion of an additional event, bigger prize fund and new website. Posted on 18 Feb 2021
Barton Marine Rising Star Winner Announced
Whitstable Yacht Club's Harry Newton to become a Barton Marine brand ambassador in 2021 Seventeen year old Harry Newton, a member of Whitstable Yacht Club and Westbere Frostbite Sailing Association is the winner of the Barton Rising Star Competition and will become a Barton Marine brand ambassador in 2021. Posted on 17 Dec 2020
Rare colour film of 1967 Admiral's Cup
Discovered in Whitstable YC archives Rare documentary footage of the 1967 Admiral's Cup has been discovered in the archives at Whitstable Yacht Club. It is in colour too! Posted on 15 May 2020
1959 Flying Dutchman Worlds video
Incredible archive footage from Whitstable YC, now including the full report! In the 1950's, Whitstable Yacht Club Rear Commodore 'Slotty' Dawes introduced the first of the new Olympic trapeze dinghies, the Flying Dutchman, into the United Kingdom. Posted on 3 May 2020
Allen Endurance Series 2020 launched
At the RYA Dinghy Show 2020 Announced at the RYA Dinghy Show were the dates for the third season of the Allen Endurance Series, which now includes an additional event and prize fund for 2020. Posted on 10 Mar 2020