Paul Ellis storms to victory in the Catapult nationals at Bala
Photo © Catapults
Newcomer John Terry sent a shiver through the fleet of 13 Catapults assembled at Bala Cat Club over the 7-9 August long weekend, when he won the first two races in a shifty Force 2. However, 2009 champion Paul Ellis finally established his mastery to retain the trophy.
George Evans was first to the windward mark in Race 1, but Terry overtook downwind. A good beat on Lap 2 helped Ellis to the front at the windward mark just ahead of Evans, Gareth Ede and Terry. However, Terry and Ede got through downwind to take the first two places from Ellis and Evans. The racing was so close that the first 7 boats all finished within two minutes.
Stuart Ede led from the start of Race 2 to the windward mark by going up the middle. However, he was caught downwind by son Gareth, Nigel Harrison, Ellis and Terry. At the beginning of Lap 2 Gareth was just ahead of Ellis and Terry. However Terry stole a march at the windward mark when the other two got stuck in a hole. Dave Jennings and Cliff Antill also capitalised on their misfortune to sneak through and grab second and third places.
Terry was leading Race 3 when a hull leak forced his retirement. Gareth Ede took over at the front and built a large lead, only to get stuck in a hole at the last windward mark. Ellis caught up and then sneaked ahead downwind. These two duelled all the way to the line with Ellis just taking the gun. George Evans took third.
At one stage in Race 4 Gareth Ede had a large lead, but it evaporated as the wind died and the chasing pack led by Ellis caught up downwind. To hang on to victory Ede had to tack close inshore on the beat for the line and just managed to cross it ahead by taking out a daggerboard before running aground in front of the race committee! Antill came in third.
Ellis, Justin Evans and Terry got away from the fleet at the first windward mark of Race 5. The chasing pack caught Evans downwind, but Ellis and Terry got away again. Gareth Ede gave chase but could not overtake Ellis and Terry who took first and second. Tony Costall had a great last beat to grab fourth.
Going into the last race, Ellis had a one point lead over Gareth Ede, and these two fought toe-to-toe all the way round in a gusty force 3 with Terry adding some spice to the combat. In a surprise charge on the last beat George Evans came through to pip Terry for third, but Ellis confirmed his champion status by taking his third race win from Ede.