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Catapult Open at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 6 Jun 06:12 BST 28-29 May 2022
Gareth Ede wins the Yorkshire Dales Catapult Open on both level rating and personal handicap © Paul Hargreaves Photography

The Catapult fleet made its annual visit to Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club over the weekend of 28-29 May 2022. This year the club had kindly offered to host a joint open meeting with the Vortex fleet.

Day 1

The Race Officer, Dave Baxter, was faced with a difficult task to set a trapezoid course for the Catapults in a shifty and light north to north easterly wind blowing across Grimwith Reservoir, but he managed it admirably.

Race 1 - The fleet of seven boats started on starboard tack, but most tacked off to the right while John Terry persevered up the left side. That proved to be the winning move as he rounded the windward mark with a good lead over the chasing pack. However a misunderstanding the course led him to miss out the leeward mark, and retracing his steps left him struggling in fifth. Meanwhile Gareth Ede took over the lead followed by Stuart Ede and Syd Gage. Gareth drew away while Stuart and Syd duelled all the way round. On the penultimate broad reach Syd caught a gust that enabled him to overtake Stuart and he was a boat length ahead as they rounded the last leeward mark. Stuart tacked for the line a fraction later than Syd so he could sail freer and faster for the line. They were neck and neck as they crossed the line with the race team giving Stuart second place by a whisker.

Race 2 - Most of the fleet went up the left side of the beat, and John reached the windward mark first, but Chris Crawley, who had gone up the right side of the beat, came in fast on starboard to snatch second place from Mike just ahead of Gareth. John maintained his lead while battle was joined between Mike, Chris and Gareth. First Gareth overtook Chris downwind, and on the next leg he got past Mike. Chris was on Mike's tail for the rest of the race but could not get past.

Race 3 - Again John was first to the windward mark. But on the next downwind leg he found himself wallowing in the lee of the north shore, enabling Gareth and Mike to catch and overtake him. Gareth managed to draw away while Mike was under constant challenge from John, but he held onto second place by a few seconds at the finish.

Race 4 - Gareth and John pulled away from the chasing pack as they duelled for first place. And initially Mike looked to be comfortable in third place. However, as the race progressed Stuart and Chris would close the gap only for Mike to pull away again. On the penultimate lap these two closed right up on Mike, and Stuart pulled alongside him on the downwind leg trying to take his wind, but Mike held him off and on the last lap and got away upwind to finish a minute ahead. Meanwhile Gareth won the race by a similar margin over John.

Day 2

After a splendid evening meal laid on by the Galley team on the Saturday night, which many compared very favourably to most pubs, the helms gathered early the next morning to find gusts of over 30mph and average speeds well in excess of 20, which were totally unexpected. A decision was taken to postpone the first start by an hour. When the time came Race Officer Terry Pressdee set a triangular course, and a depleted fleet headed for the start line in a still very brisk breeze.

Race 5 - Stuart went for a successful port tack flyer and went right up beat. However, going left proved to be the better option and Gareth rounded the windward mark just ahead of Mike. Stuart was next followed by Chris.

As the wind eased, Gareth increased his lead, and the fleet stretched out behind him, so much so that the tail enders were finished a lap early. Trailing in Gareth's wake were Mike, over three minutes behind, and Stuart, who by now was bitterly regretting having rigged his small sail, another two and a half minutes back.

Race 6 - Chris went right up the beat and came in fast on starboard very nearly beating Gareth to the windward mark with Mike close behind. Gareth drew ahead of the chasing pack on the downwind legs. Meanwhile in a similar pattern to Race 4 Mike would typically pull away from Stuart and Chris only to be caught again on the next lap. On the final lap Chris overtook Stuart on the approach to the windward mark and was on Mike's tail. But Mike held him off to take second.

Race 7 - Despite the late start, efficient race management by Terry Pressdee enabled the full complement of seven races to be fitted in. With only two or three minutes to go to the start of the last race a squall came over. Gareth and Mike spotted the shift to a strong port bias and sailed to the pin end for a port tack start. Stuart was a little late realising the magnitude of the shift and could not get to the pin end in time, so he decided to reach slowly down the line hoping to hamper Gareth's and Mike's start. However, he was hoist on his own pétard when he ran out of line seconds before the starting gun and ended up hitting the pin. It wasn't until he came to write the race report that it dawned on him that in the confusion of the moment he had only completed 270 degrees of his penalty turn. His retrospective retirement lifted Chris, who had lost ground due to a stalled tack in the strong winds, into third place. Over the next two laps Gareth increased his lead over Mike. Any hopes Chris had of catching Mike evaporated as the wind died on the last lap and the Race Officer wisely decided to shorten the course.

The Catapult Class Association operates two series from the same set of races: the level rating TT Series and the Personal Handicap Series. With 6 wins out of 7 races Gareth Ede was the clear winner on level rating ahead of Mike Gough in second place and Stuart Ede in third. This result cemented Gareth's position at the top of the TT Series.

Surprisingly Gareth, who has a really tough personal rating to overcome, won on handicap as well, though it was extremely close. Chris Crawley, Mike Gough and he ended up on 10 points each, and Chris Crawley only lost out on the second tie break using the result of the last race.

Level Rating Overall Results:

Pos Helm Club SailNo Rating R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7Pts
1 Gareth Ede Yorkshire Dales SC91798 (1) (2)111115
2 Mike Gough Yorkshire Dales SC540880 (4) (4)2322211
3 Stuart Ede Yorkshire Dales SC5318902 (5)4434 (RET)17
4 Chris CrawleyCatapult Class Ass2101940 (6)3 (5)543318
5 John Terry Yorkshire Dales SC5338105132 (DNC) (DNC) DNC19
6 Chris UptonCatapult Class Ass202010007 (RET)66 (RET)5 DNC32
7 Syd Gage Royal Yorkshire YC5069503 (RET)77 (DNC) DNC DNC33

Personal Handicap Overall Results:

Pos Helm Club SailNo Rating R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7Pts
1 Gareth Ede Yorkshire Dales SC91798 (5)3 (6)113210
2 Chris Crawley Catapult Class Ass210194031 (5)2 (4)1310
3 Mike Gough Yorkshire Dales SC540880 (4) (4)2322110
4 Stuart Ede Yorkshire Dales SC5318902 (5)3435 (RET)17
5 Chris UptonCatapult Class Ass202010006 (RET)16 (RET)4 DNC25
6 Syd Gage Royal Yorkshire YC5069501 (RET)47 (DNC) DNC DNC28
7 John Terry Yorkshire Dales SC5338107275 (DNC) (DNC) DNC29

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