A total of 19 boats took part in the Laser Vortex grand prix at Rutland SC on 1-2 September

The fourth Laser Vortex grand prix was held at Rutland Sailing Club in the Midlands on 1-2 September. A total of 19 boats took part with great racing at all ends of the skills spectrum.

The first race started out very light with the wind increasing enough to get everyone out on the trapeze. Clive Harries took the lead and held it till the beginning of the second lap when a tangle with a keelboat left him parked with the cruiser on top of his sail. This relegated him to the back of the fleet (temporarily) though luckily undamaged. Ian Escritt continued where he left off at the nationals beating Phil Whitehead across the line.

Race two brought more wind at the start with the fleet blasting up the first beat in good Vortex conditions. Ian proved that his skills are not limited to light airs by taking another first, followed by Keith Escritt and then Phil. The last race for the day started with a very ambitious line shortly followed by a general recall. The second attempt sent the fleet away smoothly in decent trapeze conditions. The wind dropped over the course of the six laps creating a large spread across the fleet. Keith took the win in this race followed by Ian with Iain Palmer third.

As Rutland Sailing Club is in the middle of renovations, the association provided taxis to ferry everyone into Stamford for the Saturday evening social. The majority of people tracked down the nearest big screen were the day’s racing tales were soon overshadowed by an historic performance from the English football team who’d obviously decided to put a stop to British sailors hogging all the international glory.

Sunday awoke with a fresher breeze and more cloud cover. The racing started fast and furious with a few capsizes and superb reaches. The square course sailed all weekend was definitely to everyone’s liking, especially in these conditions. Keith again took first with Ian in second. Clive Harries recovered from the previous day’s woes to take third.

Race five saw similar conditions to the first race. Fleet regular Ed Corteen rounded the first mark just behind Neil Spink with most of the fleet being surprised to be leading Keith after he took a 720 early on. He had the last laugh though after managing to do a ‘good beat’ (and run and reach) he tore through the fleet (coaching as he went) to finish third. Meanwhile at the front, Grafhams’ Tim Swinburn managed to deny Ian the first with some excellent speed.

Starting the last race in a building breeze, Ian needed to finish within two places of his brother to win the event. Keith crossed him halfway up the beat, but at the mark Ian was first with Clive second. Keith lost further ground when the three leaders went to the wrong leeward mark, when only Ian kept in front of the bunch. Jonathan Lister showed his best form holding second for much of the race before finishing third behind Ian and Keith.

Overall Results

1st Ian Escritt 1022, Grimwith 7pts

2nd Keith Escritt 1177, Grimwith 9 pts

3rd Phil Whitehead 1045, Grimwith 20 pts

4th Tim Swinburn 1019, Grafham Water 22pts

5th Neil Spink 1048, Grimwith 28pts

6th Clive Harries 1132, Grimwith 32pts

7th Jonathan Lister 1164, Grimwith 34pts

8th Iain Palmer 1054, Hayling Island 35pts

9th Tom Rosoman 1171, Upper Boddington 36pts

10th Richard Vie 1108, Weston SC 40pts

11th John Lester 1069, RSC 45pts

1 12th Robert Halliday 1127, Filey 58pts

13th Colin Strain 1136, QM 58pts

14th Andrew Ratcliffe 1031, Grimwith 61pts

4 15th Ralph Drew 1162, Weston SC 68pts

5 16th John Ogden 1033, Covenham 78pts

17th David Cooke 1042, Draycote 79pts

18th Ed Corteen 1066, Pennine 81pts

19th Patrick Steel 1084, QM 88pts