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Noble Marine 2022 YY - LEADERBOARD
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2022 Catapult National Championship at Bala Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 18 Aug 22:47 BST 16-17 July 2022
Gareth Ede wins the Catapult National Championship at Bala © John Hunter

Bala Sailing Club hosted the 2022 Catapult National Championships over the weekend of 16-17 July. The forecast of light airs and the record-breaking heatwave obviously put off some potential competitors, so it was a reduced fleet of eight helms who took part. Those that stayed away missed a great event, ably managed by Richie Allen and his race and rescue team, who proved very accommodating in working around the vicissitudes of the weather.

The Nationals were preceded by an afternoon of fun races which took place in a sparkling Force 2-3. It was action packed with a capsize and a collision where one boat mounted another, without damage fortunately. Chris Upton and John Terry emerged as victors in both the Relay Race and Pairs Race earning them a couple of beers each.

Alas, the first day of the Nationals themselves were true to the windless forecast. A visiting fleet of Tinkers did try to hold a race, but it was absolutely glacial - in speed that is, not temperature unfortunately for those melting under the hot sun! After that all racing was abandoned for the day.

Richie the Race Officer was very accommodating in trying to fit as many races in on the second day as possible, and this time the weather provided excellent racing with a Force 2 in the morning and a gusty Force 3 building to 4 in the afternoon. In the end four races were run, enough to make a worthwhile championship.

Race 1

A figure of eight course was set starting from a shore based line. Stuart Ede started a nearest to the shore, and at first thought he'd made a mistake, because the pressure was lower there. However he found a wind bend that enabled him to point considerably higher than the rest of the fleet who had started further out into the lake, and he was able to reach the windward mark first without having to tack like the rest.

However, he headed for the wrong gybe mark before the rescue boat pointed out his error. This allowed Gareth Ede to overtake on the reach, only to round the mark the wrong way, because he had not spotted the course change altering the direction of rounding. John Terry followed by Stuart took advantage of this to grab the lead. Gareth retaliated on the downwind leg to catch first Stuart and then John.

This became the settled order for Lap 2 which was maintained to the finish. Meanwhile Syd Gage had drawn away from the chasing pack to claim fourth place.

Race 2

Most of the fleet arrived at the windward mark in close formation. John rounded first just ahead of Mike Gough, but Mike was caught by a header and ended up stalled on starboard just a metre or two from the buoy. Stuart ducked behind him and tacked immediately. Mike also tacked but was then caught in a port and starboard situation by Stuart and then Chris Upton. A penalty turn put him well down the order.

Gareth pulled alongside his dad on the reach and was on the outside at the gybe mark. Anxious not impede his son, Stuart rounded a little too tight on the mark and accidentally tapped it with his tiller extension. The resultant penalty turn left Gareth to pursue John, while the chasing pack were now on Stuart's tail. Gareth overtook John downwind and these two benefited from a prolonged gust that opened up a safe lead over the rest of the fleet.

On Lap 2 Stuart followed by Syd pulled away from the others to finish third and fourth behind Gareth and John in first and second, respectively.

Race 3

As the wind built after lunch, a couple of helms decided not to compete because of some strong gusts. Then Chris lost his mast in the run-up to the start, so just four boats got away to sail an expanded figure of eight course. The next casualty was John whose trapeze wire broke causing him to capsize. Gareth was soon out in front stretching away from Stuart and Mike.

On the beat of Lap 2 Stuart was 100 metres ahead of Mike who was following the same line. Stuart tacked at the shore and headed out towards the middle of the lake. As Mike tacked, a band of pressure came down the shoreside that enabled him to sail considerably higher and faster.

At the windward mark he had turned a 100m deficit into a 300m advantage. There was no way back for Stuart, so the finishing order was Gareth, Mike and then Stuart with John closing the gap in fourth.

Race 4

Gareth had to miss the last race, because he had to get back to Yorkshire at a reasonable time, so it was fortunate that the discard had now kicked in, meaning that his three wins had already sealed his victory, making him the 2022 National Champion.

John and Mike started strongly at the pin end, while Stuart's hopes of finding a similar wind bend as Race 1 by starting near the shore were dashed. John was soon easing away from Mike, whose advantage over Stuart also increased, so that proved to be the finishing order.

John's win assured him of second place in the championship, while Mike's second drew him level on points with Stuart, enabling him to snatch the third podium place on count-back.

National Championship Results:

PlaceHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1Gareth EdeYorkshire Dales SC111‑93
2John TerryYorkshire Dales SC22‑415
3Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC5‑6229
4Stuart EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑33339
5Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC44‑9917
6Chris UptonCatapult Class Asscn56‑9920
7Damien CooneyCatapult Class Asscn‑979925
8Chris PhillipsCatapult Class Asscn‑999927

Gareth's win cemented his position at the top of the season's Jon Montgomery TT Series leader board, with John a strong second just 5 points behind having widened the gap over Mike who is placed third in the Series.

Personal Handicap Results:

PlaceHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1Stuart EdeYorkshire Dales SC212‑35
2Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC6‑7118
3John TerryYorkshire Dales SC‑554211
4Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC12‑9912
5Gareth EdeYorkshire Dales SC543‑912
6Chris UptonCatapult Class Asscn36‑9918
7Damien CooneyCatapult Class Asscn‑939921
8Chris PhillipsCatapult Class Asscn‑999927

Despite Mike winning two races on personal handicap to Stuart's one, Stuart's more consistent results enabled him to win the event on handicap. Syd, who claimed the remaining win plus a second, was able to overcome the disadvantage of a DNC in his scoreline to claim third.

Stuart's win boosted him into first place in the Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series overtaking his son Gareth, who had previously - very unusually - headed both level rating and handicap leader boards. However, it is all still to play for, as only 5 points separate the top five helms in the order: Stuart, Mike, Gareth, Syd and John.

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