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The Forts Race 2022 at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Robert Govier 31 May 20:53 BST 28-29 May 2022

Whitstable Yacht Club hosted the Forts Race Weekend over 28th and 29th May, after a Covid-enforced absence of two years, welcoming the top UK catamaran sailors back to the club for the iconic event, and kicking off this year's Allen Endurance Series.

Unlike most sailors who arrived at the event by road, the endurance started early for Martin Law and James Vandervord in their Hobie 21, sailing unsupported to the event on Friday morning from Minnis Bay, 16 miles down the coast! William Sunnucks was also taking the endurance aspect to the extreme, coming to Whitstable only days after arriving back from taking fifth place on an F18 in the twelve-day Worrell 1000 race up the east coast of the USA!

After a morning of boat prep, the twelve entries took to the water for the Saturday afternoon shakedown race, on a large course round the buoys off Whitstable. The weather forecast unfortunately over promised and under delivered, with the race starting in very light winds. The Northerly wind continued to misbehave throughout the race, gusting up and dropping off, making tactics and wind spotting critical.

The flat water favoured the Nacra F20 Carbons, with Grant Piggott and Jon Cotgreave beating the rest of the fleet comfortably in both elapsed and corrected time to take first place. The fleet and their guests were treated to a fish and chip supper, and a good night at the club bar, with a £50 bar voucher awarded to Grant and Jon for their race win kicking the evening off!

A promising northerly force four greeted the sailors on Sunday morning before the start of the main endurance race, with all twelve making the start line (despite some sore heads from the night before). Unfortunately, the wind once again failed to deliver, dropping off to a force one to two just before the start. The first leg took the fleet out to the namesake Red Sands Forts.

Four boats tacked off after the start to head east hugging the coast hoping to avoid the tide, whilst the rest of the fleet headed out to sea. The gambit didn't deliver due to a big wind hole between the land and the Forts, putting those boats to the back of the fleet.

Kevin Dutch and David Banner took an early lead on their Nacra F20 Carbon, showing the fleet the way to the Forts and back, easily taking the Forts leg prizes for both line honours and corrected time, beating the next boat by almost 3 minutes. They then headed off on the next leg up the coast to Herne Bay Pier, into a rather ominous dark cloud which bought hail and heavy rain.

Unfortunately, before they made it to the Pier mark, they had to retire due to a snapped rudder comm bar and limp home - frustrating given the lead they'd built up. That left Grant Piggot and Jon Cotgreave to again take over the lead in their Nacra F20 Carbon, a lead they maintained for the remainder of the race, completing the full five legs in just over 3 hours and 15 minutes to take the overall win.

Following them over the finish line 8 minutes later was the Nacra F20 Carbon of Tony Stokes and Caleb Cooper.

One of the benefits of the Forts Race format is the hub and spoke course, so the race can be shortened for boats further back as the leader's finish. Top placed F18 of Will Sunnucks and Oli Egan were finished after the fourth leg to take third place overall, beating Tim Neal and Simon Farren on their F18 by 5 minutes. First placed Whitstable boat, Peter King and Henry Beams were finished after leg three after a sail of over 3 hours.

The last boat to finish was Martin Law and James Vandervord, putting in a total time of over three and half hours on their Hobie 21! They also then elected to sail back to Minnis Bay after prize-giving to round off their endurance race weekend.

Thank you to the event sponsor, Allen Sailing, who generously supplied prizes for the event, and to all the volunteers at Whitstable Yacht Club who worked hard to put on the event.

Shakedown Race: (Saturday 28th May - started 14:09:00)

PlaceClassSail NoSCHRSHelmCrewFinnishoverallCorrected
1Nacra F20 CarbonGBR990.89Grant PiggottJon Cotgreave15:15:5301:06:5301:15:09
2Nacra F20 Carbon900.89Tony StokesCaleb Cooper15:16:1401:07:1401:15:33
3Nacra F20 CarbonGBR350.89Kevin DutchDavid Banner15:17:0301:08:0301:16:28
4F185141Nicolas BarnesJames Stacey15:26:5401:17:5401:17:54
5F18GBR15771Tim NealSimon Farren15:26:5801:17:5801:17:58
6F18GBR5081Will SunnucksOli Egan15:32:4601:23:4601:23:46
7F18GBR5031Matthew YoungChris Young15:35:5501:26:5501:26:55
8Nacra F20 CarbonGBR440.89Chris KingMax MacCarol15:26:3701:17:3701:27:13
9Tornado4020.953Robert GovierDavid Figgis15:36:3701:27:3701:31:56
10Tornado4040.953Peter KingHenry Beams15:37:2501:28:2501:32:47
11Tornado4000.953Richard LedgerPaul15:40:2301:31:2301:35:53
DNFHobie 21 SE3620.946Martin LawJames Vandervord   

Forts Race: (Sunday 29th May - started 11:15:00)

PosClassSail NoSCHRSHelmCrewLeg 1 TimeLeg 1 CorrLeg 2 TimeLeg 2 CorrLeg 3 TimeLeg 3 CorrLeg 4 TimeLeg 4 CorrLeg 5 TimeLeg 5 Corr
1Nacra F20 CarbonGBR990.89Grant PiggottJon Cotgreave12:38:2201:33:4013:17:5002:18:0113:36:4902:39:2114:00:0003:05:2414:30:0103:39:07
2Nacra F20 Carbon900.89Tony StokesCaleb Cooper12:40:4601:36:2213:23:3502:24:2913:41:4902:44:5814:06:0403:12:1314:38:5603:49:08
3Nacra F20 CarbonGBR350.89Kevin DutchDavid Banner12:35:4701:30:46        
4F18GBR5081Will SunnucksOli Egan13:01:2801:46:2813:43:0802:28:0814:03:5802:48:5814:32:1703:17:17  
5Nacra F20 CarbonGBR440.89Chris KingMax MacCarol12:51:0701:48:0013:35:3802:38:01      
6F18GBR 15771Tim NealSimon Farren13:04:5001:49:5013:47:4202:32:4214:09:0202:54:0214:37:3403:22:34  
7F185141Nicolas BarnesJames Stacey13:10:3001:55:3014:00:3502:45:3514:23:2903:08:29    
8F18GBR5031Matthew YoungChris Young13:10:4401:55:4414:03:3702:48:3714:26:1003:11:10    
9Tornado4040.953Peter KingHenry Beams13:06:5401:57:2514:00:3502:53:4514:21:2203:15:33    
10Tornado4000.953Richard LedgerPaul13:10:1502:00:56        
11Tornado4020.953Robert GovierDavid Figgis13:15:4102:06:38        
12Hobie 21 SE3620.946Martin LawJames Vandervord13:54:0902:48:1414:45:4403:42:46      

Prize Winners:

PrizeHelmCrewBoat
Saturday Shakedown RaceGrant PiggottJon CotgreaveNacra F20 Carbon
1st WYC BoatPeter KingHenry BeamsTornado
Forts Line HonoursKevin DutchDavid BannerNacra F20 Carbon
Forts HandicapKevin DutchDavid BannerNacra F20 Carbon
1st Placed Slow HandicapWill SunnucksOli EganF18
1st Placed Fast HandicapGrant PiggottJon CotgreaveNacra F20 Carbon
Endurance Race 3rdWill SunnucksOli EganF18
Endurance Race 2ndTony StokesCaleb CooperNacra F20 Carbon
Endurance Race 1stGrant PiggottJon CotgreaveNacra F20 Carbon

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