Vortex Class Association
Vortex's from as south as Paignton to as far north as Fife in Scotland travelled to Rutland water to compete in the vortex Inlands, being held as one of the classes in the laser multi class event. The slight breeze slowly starts to build as the boats are rigged. Race officials insisted that we were starting on time as the breeze would build on route to the start area. They even went to the trouble of using the well known technique of sound torture to prevent late departures from the shore!
Race 1 gets underway in a light but workable breeze, with the start line an unusually lonely place for Tilbrook who finds himself the only boat anywhere near the line, so off he went all alone. The rest of the fleet finally pull their finger out and give chase. With patchy light wind its not long before everyone is back together. At the top mark its Glendinning rounding first followed up by Tilbrook, with only hours in the vortex and new to sailing Flemming rounding the mark in front of Whitehead and the rest of the Fleet. There's a downwind tussle between Glendinning and Tilbrook as with the former defending hard to prevent the latter from passing. Whitehead takes advantage and closes up the gap. On lap two Whitehead takes the lead at the top mark chased by Tilbrook and the rest of the pack. Whitehead grabs the win, Tilbrook 2nd, Glendinning 3rd, and Winchester 4th.
Race 2 gets underway with the fleet on the start line, Tilbrook goes for a lefty and clears the fleet, but the rest of the fleet again soon close the gap in the light and shifty wind. Again its Glendinning that arrives at the windward mark first, Winchester, Turley, Whitehead and the rest of the fleet rounding close together. Whitehead shows some good downhill boat speed as he arrives first at the bottom mark with Tilbrook on his tail. Glendinning is still in the race at the next windward mark but has to retire shortly after with a broken block. It quickly turns into a two boat race between Whitehead and Tilbrook swapping positions several times on the remaining laps. Turley and Winchester are fighting for third place with several place changes, Collins also stays close by, with Fleming keeping his boat moving well. Whitehead is over the finish first, Tilbrook 2nd, Turley 3rd and Winchester 4th.
Race 3 Winchester, Tilbrook and Glendinning (with his repair done), line up for a port start. But this time the wind has switched back with the port boats forced to tack back, the fleet continues on up the beat. Tilbrook and Whitehead start a two boat battle, Winchester and Turley find themselves getting in amongst the action. Whitehead and Tilbrook pull out and continue their battle with several attempts made by Tilbrook to take Whitehead's position. Winchester, Turley and Glendinning fight out for Third. Despite a final attempt on approach to the finish by Tilbrook to dislodge Whitehead; holding his cool Whitehead is over the line 1st, Tilbrook 2nd, Turley 3rd and Glendinning 4th.
The Fleet retire for the day and ready themselves for the evening meal, Whitehead having arranged a table at the local Indian restaurant for the fleet to enjoy. After some good food and a few beers it was time to hit the sack ready for tomorrows racing.
It's a wet and thankfully windy start to the day, again the boats are rigged swiftly to more sound torture. The fleets arrive at the start line and with ears still bleeding, await the start signals.
Race 4 Good stiff breeze for the start of the fourth race, with a healthy starboard bias its a clean start as the fleet heads upwind. Tilbrook seems to have a boat speed advantage and starts to draw out a lead, Winchester, Whithead and the rest of the fleet all close behind. The gusty patchy wind means that Whitehead and Winchester are always within striking distance. Whitehead just gets to the top mark and rounds first and hoists early. With strong gusts about it looked as though Whitehead may not be able to lay the new wing mark. Tilbrook and Winchester hold off the hoist just to make sure, but Whitehead just makes it around and goes out to the left for the downwind leg. Tilbrook goes right in an effort to find more pressure. Glendinning, Winchester, and Turley also take the left side of the course. Tilbrook and Whitehead arrive at the bottom mark, Whitehead has the inside, he has to gybe and drop, and rounds up with Tilbrook inches behind. The wind has clocked around and Tilbrook is on the lay line in no time. Whitehead also tacks off but gets caught out by a gust sending the boat in irons; allowing Tilbrook to get away. Glendinning and Winchester continue to change places fighting out third. Tilbrook is home first followed by Whitehead, Glendinning 3rd and Winchester 4th.
Race 5 Tilbrook and Whitehead continue to battle on, the two boats are locked into match racing with Winchester at times finding himself in the middle of the scrap. Turley and Glendinning are keeping close until Glendinning suffers a broken tiller extension forcing him out of the race. Turley comes back into the race and holds second with Whitehead and Winchester on his tail. On approach to the finish there is confusion in the 4000 fleet as their lead boats are busy fighting and fail to keep count and end up doing an extra lap. Tilbrook shoots over the line and double checks the finish. Turley and Whitehead carry on around for another lap, Winchester takes advantage of the situation and gets himself a 2nd. Whitehead and Turley battle on with Turley falling off the wire, leaving Whitehead to get 3rd followed by Collins taking advantage of Turley's misfortune in 4th
Race 6 Its all on the last race between Whitehead and Tilbrook. Off up the first beat, and Tilbrook establishes a small lead over Whitehead. Winchester and Turley are all close together. Tilbrook tacks on a few gusts and shifts to keep control of the top spot. There's drama as the main sheet cleat lets go on Tilbrook's boat. He's in the drink, with the boat capsizing to windward. With plenty of unreserved vocal encouragement, the boat is rapidly righted and back in the race. Whitehead arrives at the top mark with Winchester, Collins and Turley, all making there way across to the outer windward mark. Due to a change in the wind direction this leg has become more of a downwind leg, with the fleet choosing to go right taking them close to the shore and into light winds. Tilbrook finally rounds the top mark with a large gust, puts in a gybe and then hoists and is on the wire, screaming off on the strong breeze. By the time Whitehead and Winchester reach the mark Tilbrook slots back into third. Whitehead and Winchester go out to the left, Tilbrook hangs on for a while to get the line onto the bottom mark before putting in the gybe. Whitehead approaches the leeward mark but has to put in a gybe and drop. Tilbrook has a warm angle on the mark and rounds close behind Whitehead, with Winchester also close by. At the top mark Tilbrook has got back into the top slot with Whitehead on his heels. Winchester has settled into the third slot opening out a lead on Turley.
Tilbrook defends Whitehead to the bottom mark and using the extra boat speed upwind starts to get a cushion which is held to the finish with Whitehead 2nd, Turley 3rd, and Winchester 4th.
So its a swim and win for Tilbrook winning overall on countback, great tight racing!
Thanks to Rutland sailing Club and the race team for a great weekends racing.