Catapult Nationals at Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club
by Stuart Ede on 3 Sep 2011
Eight Catapults contested the 2011 Nationals hosted by the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club at Bridlington over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
A wildly swinging light breeze meant a running start to Race 1. Alastair Forrest led off the line, but was caught by Gareth Ede on the first beat, while Cliff Antill and George Evans closed up in 3rd and 4th. On the next reach Ede pulled away in the freshening breeze leaving the other three scrapping in his wake, as heavy rain swept across the course. In the final beat for the line Forrest just held onto 2nd while Antill narrowly pipped Evans for 3rd.
The breeze faded again for Race 2. Stuart Ede won the close reaching start, and as he rounded the first mark, the breeze became a zephyr. The race was shortened at the next mark, and it became a battle to maintain airflow over the sails up the final beat. Ede ghosted towards the line followed by son Gareth and Justin Evans, but Antill, who had gone well inshore, found a little more pressure and came out of left field to snatch 2nd.
An attempt to start Race 3 the next day was abandoned as strong winds and rough seas raked the course. Fortunately the last day dawned with moderate winds. Gareth Ede broke away from the tight pack by sailing low but fast on the trapeze. By contrast George Evans sliced well to windward to climb into a comfortable second followed by namesake Justin Evans. Antill, who had been working up the fleet, overtook Justin to challenge George, but George prevailed during the ensuing duel to take 2nd behind Ede.
Both Edes got cracking starts in race 4, but while Gareth repeated his tactic of sailing low and fast out to the left, his father quickly struck out to the right to take advantage of the flooding tide. Both strategies paid off with Gareth and Stuart rounding the windward mark in quick succession leaving the rest of the fleet well behind. They stretched their lead over the next laps, and Gareth put a bit more water between him and his dad. Stuart narrowed the gap on the run for the line, but Gareth held on to win.
There was a three way battle for third place between George Evans, Antill and Forrest. Justin Evans made gains on these three in the last beat by going right for the tidal advantage, but in the end it was George who took 3rd from Antill.
Consistency was the name of the game for championship runners-up Antill and George Evans, while Ede senior, with results at both ends of the spectrum, rued the lack of a discard. His consolation was the crowning of son Gareth as 2011 National Champion.