Inland Championship - Rutland SC - October 14

By Jonathan Carter (Vortex 2014)


The forecast for the weekend was for quite a lot of wind and this clearly put many people off going to the event. No 5000s turned up, the 2000 and Vago fleets were about half there normal size, 4000 numbers were up with Steve Cockerill being there. The Vortex fleet was down to just three. But it was good to see Phil back on the circuit. The forecast for Saturday was 4-5 gusting 6 and stronger on Sunday.

We started with force 5 wind in the first flight and with no 5000s we had plenty of room and got away at the first attempt. Phil had clearly not lost any of his pace and was leading Angus at the first mark, Jonathan was not happy with the conditions and had already dropped back by several hundred metres, before setting off in search of the wing mark. At the wing mark Phil continued to lead with Angus in close pursuit, a situation that continued through out the race. Jonathan made a bad kite drop at the first leeward mark which left him further behind. Next time round the leeward mark the positions were unchanged, but Jonathan found a drifting 4000 in the way which resulted in another bad kite drop and more distance lost to the two leaders. Third lap was the same, but Jonathan has now been caught by the leading 4000s. Jonathan finished after four laps with the wind dropping to force 4 and headed off the start area ready for the next race and to congratulate Phil on a well deserved win, except he and Angus were not to be found. It turned out that Phil had lost count and did a victory lap with Angus, before finishing. Jonathan was recorded as first, but the moral victory went to Phil.

Race 2 started in stronger winds again and the race followed a similar pattern up the first beat with Phil leading, then Angus with Jonathan behind, but not out of the running yet. Phil headed off on a reach towards the wing mark. Angus choose to hoist the kite straight away and headed much lower than Phil and below the mark. Jonathan simply followed Phil, simply glad to be in with a chance of second. Angus was force to drop the kite and come in at a higher angle, allowing Jonathan to sneak in to second, but battle was engaged. For the rest of the race Phil extended his lead and was not challenged. Through to the finish Jonathan had the better of the down wind legs and Angus the better of the windward legs which kept them close together. Ultimately Jonathan managed second with Angus third.

For the final race of Saturday the wind was edging higher and we saw the fleet trying different tactics on the start line: Phil parked head to wind with 20 seconds to start and took a few moments to get going. Jonathan was mid-line on starboard and on time. Angus had spotted the bias on the line and went for a port tack flyer on the end of the line. This would have worked well except he was 20 seconds late and was caught port-starboard by Jonathan and Phil. Phil showed excellent speed and cruised over the top of Jonathan to take that lead position again. This race continued as the previous one with Phil well out in the lead and Angus battling it out with Jonathan. At the end of lap three Phil made a rare mistake in dropping his spinnaker and was force to round behind the committee boat. Further up the course Jonathan had managed to slip past Angus on a very fast kite reach down to the leeward mark. Whilst looking down the course he spotted that Phil had gone behind the committee boat which is what we would do if he had just finished. So despite think that there was still another lap to go he decided to head for the line just in case, Angus dutifully followed. The committee boat just ignored us, so it was back up the beat again. Unfortunately Angus made a bad kite drop, effectively ending his race.

At the end of day 1 Phil was clearly the fastest sailor, but there was just one point between him and Jonathan on the score board.

Sunday dawned with things looking very similar, 45 minutes before the race with wind was reported as 13-17 knots in the race area, by the time we launched it was clearly much stronger and few kites were in evidence in the run down to the start. Before the start of the race Phil did question whether it would be possible to make it down to the leeward mark because of the strength of the wind. I am not sure what the wind speed was but I think it was worse than on the Saturday at the nationals.

Off the line Phil showed remarkable speed in the conditions, but Angus was not to be seen. We eventually found him taking shelter on the far side of the lake, he later said he could not work out how to get down to the start line in the very strong winds. Phil lead at the windward mark, reach across to the wing mark and then headed on a dead run but with no kite. Jonathan followed, happy to still be the right way up and not planning on making any gybes at any point. Phil showed how it should be done, gybing at least three times down the run. At the leeward mark Jonathan turn on to a reach away from the mark, tacked round and started on the next lap. And so things continued for the next three laps, except that as Jonathan approached the line to finish he spotted Phil drifting past, mast in the water, and dragging a mark. Result Jonathan first, Phil DNF. Jonathan had his swim on the way home when the boat was picked up by a gust and turned over on the rear quarter. The conditions were so bad that even Steve Cockerill was blown over at one point and the race committee abandoned racing for the rest of the day.

So the result was decided by discards: Phil two 1st, one 2nd and a discard of DNF; Jonathan two 1sts, one 2nd and a discard od a 2nd. Victory on paper to Jonathan, but clearly Phil was the faster sailor.


Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Entries: 3, Scoring system: Appendix A
Asymmetric Fleet
1 2014 Rickmansworth SC Jonathan Carter 1.0 (2.0) 2.0 1.0 6.0 4.0
2 1218 Yorkshire Dales Phil Whitehead 2.0 1.0 1.0 (4.0 DNF) 8.0 4.0
3 1181 Castle Semple SC Angus Whichester 3.0 3.0 3.0 (4.0 DNC) 13.0 9.0