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Catapult Northern Championship at Yorkshire Dales Yacht Club

by Stuart Ede 25 Aug 2013 07:51 BST 17-18 August 2013
Finn, Contender and Catapult Open at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club © Dave Baxter

Terry took the trophy at a very windy Yorkshire Dales SC which very kindly provided the venue for the 2013 Catapult Northern Championship over the weekend of 17-18 August.

In Race 1 Gareth Ede went off on port from the start to gain clear air to be just ahead of John Terry at the windward mark. He maintained a narrow lead until the last lap when he had to avoid a right-of-way boat from another fleet, which allowed Terry to slip past and take the gun. Meanwhile Syd Gage and Stuart Ede played a blinder from the back of the fleet by-passing the chasing pack which was embroiled in a close quarters battle (that included a collision) - to take third and fourth, respectively.

The wind piped up further for Race 2 with some vicious gusts, and the lighter weight Gareth Ede decided to sit it out. Instead up stepped father Stuart Ede to take on Terry who has spent much of the season at or near the front of the fleet. The fleet stayed close together for the first lap, but by Lap 2 Ede was pulling away upwind with Terry and Nigel Harrison chasing. Typically they would close the gap downwind, only for Ede to ease away upwind again. On the last downwind leg to the finish they pushed hard, reducing Ede's winning margin over Terry to just 20 metres with Harrison coming in third.

Stuart Ede was first to the windward mark of Race 3 closely followed by the chasing pack. Terry emerged from the pack to challenge Ede and overtook him on the long broad reach. On Lap 2 Gareth Ede, who had been tempted back on the water by the slight easing of conditions, fought his way through the fleet to pass first George Evans and then his dad to take the fight to Terry, but Terry managed to hold him off to take his second win. Meanwhile Evans had overtaken Stuart Ede on the penultimate beat and held on to take third place.

Day 2 was again windy, with a higher speed base level wind but fortunately less vicious gusts (apart from some early squalls). Gareth Ede was one of only two starboard tack starters on a port biased line, but he overcame his initial disadvantage by persevering up the left side of the beat to end up ahead of Terry who had climbed away from the port tack starters. These two stretched out a long lead over the chasing pack, which was led by Stuart Ede and George Evans. These two battled it out all round the course with Evans finally pulling ahead when Ede tacked too early for the last windward mark. At this point the wind suddenly strengthened. Out at the front Gareth Ede held on in the worsening conditions to take the gun while Terry pitchpoled. He managed to right it quickly and still take second place before Evans and Ede could get past. Evans tried to take advantage of a wind shift to make the line without tacking, but pinching slowed him considerably, and Stuart Ede was right on his stern quarter with just metres to the line. Ede went for a hurried tack but fluffed it in the strong wind and choppy waters, and Evans was able to hang onto third place.

The next race was abandoned because of the wind strength. Although conditions weren't much much better after lunch, it was decided to run Race 5. However, a much depleted fleet came to the line, as half opted to stay ashore. George Evans got off to a cracking start followed closely by Alastair Forrest. In the survival sailing conditions they pulled out a long lead over the rest of the fleet who had gone up the right side of the lake. Evans held a narrow lead over Forrest for much of the race until he hit a mark and had to take a penalty turn. Forrest overtook and held on – literally – to win. He nearly came to grief on the last broad reach where his bowboards were underwater all the way, but amazingly he held off the impending pitchpole. Meanwhile Chris Phillips took third place and Justin Evans fourth.

John Terry was the clear winner of the Bill Graham Northern Trophy, while among the other prize winners Stuart Ede just pipped George Evans for second place on a tie-break, and Ede's son Gareth came a creditable fourth despite having to count a DNC in his scoreline.

All the competitors came away happy having enjoyed some very exciting racing under testing conditions in a well run event - thanks to Phil Whitehead, YDSC Commodore and Race Officer, and his team. Plans are already being laid to revisit Yorkshire Dales SC next year.

Overall Results:

PosHelmClubPts
1stJohn TERRYRutland SC6
2ndStuart EDEYorkshire Dales SC13
3rdGeorge EVANSBala Cat Club13
4thGareth EDEYorkshire Dales SC15
5thAlastair FORRESTCatapult Class Assn19

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