ASAP International Vortex Eastern Championships 19 / 20 July 2008

"A real belter of an event" - yet again the Wilsonian did us proud; a classic event with lots of wind, thrills and spills.

 

Race 1 started downwind and down river in a gusty F3, but once we had cleared the clutter of Chatham docks the wind built to a stiff F5 and the wind against tide produced a challenging short steep chop in the main channel. First out of the blocks was Mike Gower, Wilsonian, who cheated the tide around the first bend, then clubmate Phil Harris  went deep and was first into the the extra pressure. These two had early swims on the next downwind leg leaving the visitors to figure out the navigational challenge of finding 12 different marks in unfamiliar territory. Jonathan Lister and Jon Steward (Yorkshire Dales) took the initiative and blasted down to the lower reaches of the river where conditions were getting quite frisky. Jon had a capsize en-route leaving Jonathan to pull out a large lead on the windward / leeward section of the course. Jonathan didn't need to fly the kite on the last downwind leg, but of course he did .. and the wake from a large motor cruiser caused a spectacular wipe-out necessitating a trip to a nearby muddy island to sort out the mess - leading to accusations of "picnicking whilst waiting for the others to catch up". After a long beat back up river Jonathan won with Jon second and Mike third.

The wind picked up another notch, now a steady F5 gusting F6 for the afternoon race which was even more complex and spaghetti like than the first. Another spectacular series of kite reaches took us down river and Phil Harris again took the early lead but unfortunately copped it during a particularly strong gust. Mike Gower had to retire after crashing and twisting his ankle. Jon Steward took up the challenge with Jonathan Lister chasing hard. On the next windward leg these 2 over stood by a long way and had a fantastic neck and neck half mile fine reach clocking 16kts on Jon's GPS. Phil's local knowledge allowed him to get back into the frame, but he blobbed again on the next downwind leg. Jon chased Jonathan hard for the next couple of loops but then took a dive and when he re-surfaced he wasn't sure which course to follow, leaving Jonathan to battle with the remains of the fast handicap fleet on the long beat back home. There was a significant amount of carnage from the other fleets - we saw at least 3 broken masts and abandoned boats; the safety team were doing a great job. At the finish Jonathan won by a large margin with Simon Middleton (Wilsonian) and Steve Carr (Deben YC) picking up very well deserved second and third places.

The wind abated to F3 to F4 for Sunday and the sun came out, making the Medway look resplendent. Everyone took a turn to lead race 3 in the tricky gusty conditions of the first leg, but on the second kite leg Phil and Jon took the initiative and pulled out a good lead as Jonathan and Mike took swimming lessons. Phil and Jon swapped the lead a couple of times but Jon crucially held the lead at the start of the beat back up river and was able to stay in control to the finish of what turned out to be a much shorter race than yesterday's epics. Steve Carr's gooseneck rivets gave up after the strain of yesterday and sent him home for an early shower.

Either Jon or Jonathan could still take the event by winning the last race, which was a repeat of course 3 - a short sharp decider. This time Jonathan took control of the first leg, but then Jon and Phil popped into the lead by cutting inside the moorings for less tide on the next kite leg. By the end of Hoo Island, Jonathan had a narrow lead from Jon with Phil in close contention and just a tug with large barge in tow between them and the next mark! The next part of the course was a series of fetches that were too close for the kite these three had a very close battle with Jonathan just pulling away and Phil overtaking Jon, until an unexpected gust wiped him out. It was all now down to the final beat back home. Half way up river a serious squall passed through, threatening to re-shuffle the positions, but both Jonathan and Jon survived to finish in that order from Mike and Phil who had a last minute "wobble" in the squall.

Huge thanks to ASAP International and Wilsonian SC for a fabulous event - don't miss it next year!

Provisional - Overall

Sailed:4, Discards:1, To count:3, Entries:7, Scoring system:My scoring system

Rank

SailNo

Helm

Club

R1

R2

R3

R4

Total

Nett

1st

1164

Jonathan Lister

Yorkshire Dales

1.0

1.0

(4.0)

1.0

7.0

3.0

2nd

1205

Jon Steward

Yorkshire Dales

2.0

(8.0 DNF)

1.0

2.0

13.0

5.0

3rd

1028

Phil Harris

Wilsonian

4.0

(8.0 DNF)

2.0

4.0

18.0

10.0

4th

1013

Mike Gower

Wilsonian

5.0

(8.0 DNF)

3.0

3.0

19.0

11.0

5th

1156

Simon Middleton

Wilsonian

3.0

2.0

(8.0 DNC)

8.0 DNC

21.0

13.0

6th

1025

Stephen Carr

Deben

(8.0 DNF)

3.0

8.0 DNF

8.0 DNC

27.0

19.0

7th

1106

Ray Craddock

North Herts East Beds

(8.0 DNC)

8.0 DNC

8.0 DNC

5.0

29.0

21.0