ASAP International Vortex National Championships 13 / 14 September 2008

The Vortex fleet held its first National championship at Rutland sailing club in the year 2000.

Since then the class has gone through some major changes introducing the Asymmetric kite in 2004.

Rutland hosted this year’s championship and did their now customary professional job.

Saturday dawned with very little wind .The race officer tried to get a race on the board , but the wind dropped to nothing and had to abandon, this was fortunate for some of the event favourites who found themselves at the wrong end of the fleet. Special mention must go to Terry Pressdee and Andrew Straton who may not have expected to be leading the fleet round and were obviously disappointed when the abandon guns went off.

The fleet retired to the local golf course to let some steam off, the tee offs were like a ploughed field after we had used them, but we did replace our divots!

Sunday always looked more promising, and so it proved.

The first race started in around 8 knots, the wind was very shifty and there were major place changes all over the course with at least five different leaders. Phil Whitehead took an early lead, but a navigational error cost him the lead. Jonathan Lister took the lead on the second beat only to sail into a hole on the next run. At the end Ian Escritt took the bullet followed by Phil Whitehead and a charging John Turley. Last years Champion Keith Escritt struggled to 7th.

Race two was similar but Keith wasn’t going to let his brother have it all his own way, leading from the start and pulling out a massive lead, Ian Was second Mike Gower third and Ben Rayner fourth.

Race three, you guessed it same conditions but different result, this time Jonathan Carter bravely went right up the beat whilst the fleet went left and was rewarded with a huge lead, only to fall into one of the now infamous holes downwind. After a tussle Ian grabbed the lead and then pulled away for a big win but crucially Keith held his nerve to get second and keep the championship alive. Jonathan Lister took third and Terry Pressdee fourth as John Turley capsized just before the line.

The last race was now going to decide who would be national champion, Ian decided not to try to pin Keith “Olympic style”, and soon after the start was regretting this decision, Keith won the start, but as we had seen in all the previous races there were plenty of opportunities to gain around the course. Neil Spink led at the top mark, closely followed by Terry Pressdee. Terry took the lead offwind and held it for a lap, but  the rest of the bunch were in hot contention and it went to the wire. Ian had eventually overhauled Keith and then covered to the finish to take the championship in style.

The quality of sailing in the middle of the fleet was excellent, a small mistake often costing 4 or 5 places.  One person who stood out was James Mitchell from Poole who despite not having the benefit of 15.5 square metres of Kite was often seen near the front of the fleet.

This left Ian as Champion and Keith second. Phil pipped a remarkably consistent Mike on discard and Neil took Jonathan by one point.

ASAP logistics again provided the sponsorship which was much appreciated by everyone in the fleet

Asymmetric fleet

1st Ian Escritt Yorkshire Dales SC

2nd Keith Escritt Yorkshire Dales SC

3rd Phil Whitehead Yorkshire Dales SC

4th Mike Gower Wilsoian SC

5th Neil Spink Yorkshire Dales SC