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Catapult Association Travelling Trophy Series 2014

by Alastair Forrest 10 Jan 2015 13:22 GMT
Catapults at the Carsington Cat Open 2014 © CSC

Catapult Catamarans' successful 2014 Travelling Trophy campaign ranged from Kent to Wales and the Lake District, and the competition for the Jon Montgomery Travelling Trophy came down to the last race of the last event.

The traditional April kick-off at Bewl Valley SC gave a gentle start, with one day's competition in warm sunshine (with a free sail practice the day before) but gusts and shifts in the light breezes made for wake-up racing. 2013 National champ Alex Montgomery again nipped up from nearby in Kent to come out on top with two wins from three races Catapult then made a welcome return to Bassenthwaite SC for the May Bank Holiday weekend, with its usual friendly relaxation, complex courses, and variable conditions (with the SE wind going from a whisper to fierce gusting over the three days.) Gareth Ede dominated the results counting five straight wins, pushed by Paul Ellis in the light, and John Terry when it piped up. This set up the battle for the top Travelling Trophy places through the season.

Rutland SC Open Meeting, May 25-26 gave contrasting conditions; a brisk SW tested the Sunday fleet, but the lake next day stayed glassy until racing was abandoned. John Terry hosting on his home waters scored four wins, fighting off George Evans (with a battle of contrasts, John tearing away on trapeze upwind and George pushing up in the gusts) and Paul Ellis. This settled John into the "yellow jersey", flying the yellow pennant marking the TT lead.

The July welcome at Bala Catamaran Club is a Catapult season highlight. Thirteen boats came to the line for the 2014 Nationals, 12-14th July, won again by Alex Montgomery after a tough battle, and a tie-break with John Terry, each on 11 points.

In a mixture of light and moderate breezes, the intensity of the racing was summed up by a second tie-break that gave Paul Ellis the edge over Gareth Ede, plus a third tie-break for 5th and 6th. John held onto the TT Lead by two points.

Bala again combined serious racing with a fun race each day, going off in great style. The short reaching course for the Relay exposed both skilful handling and chaos, and the Pairs and Team races gave chances for some real (and ruthless) match-racing tactics.

Stone SC on August 4th-6th welcomed Catapult to a new venue, with any-tide launching (a D-Day legacy) and six TT races, part of Stone Week. A smaller fleet had sunshine and light winds to tackle some challenging tides (including a long-distance race rounding Radio Caroline.) Paul Ellis, familiar with Blackwater Estuary tides, counted three wins to win, and take a small TT lead.

Catapult returned to its open sea-sailing at Bridlington, August 23rd-25th, joining the Royal Yorkshire SC Bank Holiday Regatta, with a good fleet and close racing (three helms scoring two or more wins across the nine races.) Winds varied from wafting breezes shifting 1800 on Saturday, to fresh trapezing on Monday. Gareth Ede's string of wins and seconds gave him a clear victory, and lifted him to a narrow TT lead, three points ahead of John Terry, with Paul Ellis a point behind.

The Catapult fleet dominated attendance at the Carsington SC Cat Open, September 20th - 21st (with Bart's Bash to finish the weekend.) The varying conditions (light NE on Saturday, and fresher ENE on Sunday) brought out great racing with three helms scoring at least one first place.

John Terry retained the Northern Trophy by three points from Paul Ellis and then George Evans. John's win lifted him to the TT lead, just two points clear of Paul.

The 2014 Jon Montgomery Trophy was contested to the final event, with a tight three-way split brought to Grafham SC Cat Open October, 25th-26th October. Fresh SW breezes (with Force 6 gusts on the second day) tested a fleet of eight. Gareth Ede and John Terry, trapezing throughout, dominated racing but mishaps and the wind strength kept racing unpredictable, and gave Gareth the event win, while George Evans' working the strong breeze upwind saw him into second.

The 2014 TT was finally decided by one long Force 7 gust in the fifth race. The Race Officer (and the fleet) thought racing too risky, and called off the final Race 6; Gareth, although event winner, could not clear a DNC score from his overall TT results, and John's string of good results lifted him to be the 2014 winner, four points clear of Paul in second.

2014 brought the Association several new members (including in Ireland) beginning racing with established members' support, or using Catapult's advantages for fast safe cruising.

See full Jon Montgomery Travelling Trophy 2014 Results (60% of the races counted at events score for the TT trophy. Where helms do not achieve this number of races in the season, points are counted as one more than the highest attendance at an event).

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