Further progress has been made in the construction of the first new Vortex for several years. Here is Jonathan's report:
'The moulds are now made, so we are a major step closer to having new boats. The latest pictures show the deck mould. I have also had chance to look at the bulkheads that were removed from the plug. As we suspected the problem with water not draining is due to blocked drainage holes, this is easy to cure. The problems with the main bulk head are more complex that we thought, but easily solved by a simple redesign. As we knew the bulkhead becomes detached from the hull, there is evidence that bonding failure and flexing of the buklhead in a high stress region about 20cm either side of the centre line reinforce each other which leads to the ultimate failure of the bulkhead. Both problems are easily solved and this will lead to significantly improved strength in this high stress area. The first hull might be produced in the next couple of weeks, and we might produce three hulls by Christmas.'
If you can answer yes to some of the following questions then it probably is.
So do you want….
A single handed Trapeze dinghy?
A fast and exhilarating sail?
A dinghy that is easy to start trapezing with - yet offers challenges once the basics are mastered.
An inherently stable dinghy? To spend more time on the boat sailing than in the water swimming?
A virtually bullet proof boat that is very economical to run.
A class that is one design and so will not be out of date next year?
A dinghy that doesn’t require hours in the gym to sail well?
An active class association and an excellent race circuit?
The option to add an exciting 15m2 asymmetric?
Those of us that have been sailing the Vortex for the last few years know all of these points to be true. So what do you get for your money? The Vortex is one of the fastest and yet stable dinghy’s currently available on the market today. The tunnel hull design means that all the stability is at the edges of the hull plan, making it difficult to roll a Vortex into a capsize. When things go wrong in a Vortex more often than not you get away without a swim.
The symmetrical daggerboards are canted inwards and angled forwards to help induce twist. The windward foil is vertical when the hull skims the surface and is designed to act as a gybing board; at the same time the leeward foil generates vertical lift - ingenious!
The rig rotates for aerodynamic efficiency. The hi-tech Mylar sail has a "fat head" for power, but a relatively conservative leech for gust response and ease of handling. The enclosed gnav and wrap around luff sleeve further reduce aerodynamic drag. Lower shrouds give precise control of mast stiffness.
The uniquely slim tunnel hull form of the Vortex hull combined with high aspect foils gives a very low wetted surface area, especially when flying a hull. Less drag = more speed!
Righting moment is a function of weight and distance from the centre of buoyancy. Due to the tunnel hull, the centre of buoyancy moves to leeward when the Vortex heels, dramatically increasing the righting moment. More righting moment means that the full power of the rig can be applied, even in stronger winds.
"Handling is direct, precise and incredibly responsive .. this boat was designed for me!" Phil Whitehead, National Champion 2005,10-13.
If you own (or are considering) a Standard Vortex (i.e. one without an asymmetric spinnaker), it is worth considering what a kite could do for you...... The Asymmetric Kite adds a new and exhilarating downwind performance to this already wonderful boat. Smooth and fast upwind and now very fast and tactical downwind.
The asymmetric system was developed in 2004 for and on behalf of the Vortex Class Association by four times National Champion Keith Escritt. The system went through several design – test – modify cycles but the final version uses a retractable pole and overall weight has been kept to a practical minimum with the use of a carbon fibre composite pole and chute.
After trials and testing of several shapes and sizes, and following feedback from Keith, and several other 'test pilots' a 15 square metre spinnaker was specifically developed for the Vortex by Colin Goodman and Paul Austin at Hyde Sails.
Superspars supply the carbon fibre spinnaker pole (all the way from New Zealand) - modified and strengthened especially for the Vortex.
The Association would like to extend a special thank you to Dave Winder at Winder Boats (Custom Carbon Chute) and Ashley at Bairstow Engineering (Custom Bow Frame) for their invaluable design contributions.
Thanks also to Mike Saul of MSDS for his advice about fittings and Richard Towers of North West Sails for designing and making the spinnaker socks.
For more information, or a copy of the Fitting Guide ordering and Pricing Details, please contact Mike Saul (see the link for Spare Parts in the menu on the left).