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Zhik 2022 Choice of Champions LEADERBOARD

Catapult 2022 Northern Championship at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club

by Stuart Ede 7 Sep 2022 07:26 BST 27-29 August 2022
And they're off! Catapults off to a cracking start in picturesque Bridlington Bay © Syd Gage

The Catapult fleet returned for its annual pilgrimage to the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club at Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire for its 2022 Northern Championships held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. As they have become accustomed over the years, the Catapult helms received a warm welcome and enjoyed excellent racing.

The fleet of 10 boats were greeted on Day 1 by a Force 2 and an incoming tide flowing round Flamborough Head to the north. For the first two days the races were run on a square course.

Race 1

Most of the fleet started on port at the pin end on what was a markedly biased line. Contrarily the defending Northern Champion, John Terry, opted for a starboard tack start and looked to have lost out, but he persevered up the left of the beat in the slacker tide along the shoreline, and it paid off because he was first to the windward mark ahead of Gareth Ede. Gareth managed to overtake on the beat of the next lap and gradually increased his lead downwind.

George Evans broke away from the chasing pack on that beat and set off in pursuit of John and Gareth, but their lead of 5 and 6 minutes, respectively, was too great to overcome. Meanwhile on the beat of Lap 3 Chris Phillips eased 30 seconds ahead of the pack to claim fourth place.

Race 2

The fleet all started on starboard off an adjusted line with John in the lead. Gareth who was lying second tacked off right and soon after John tacked off to 'mark' him. This left Stuart Ede at the head of the remaining pack plugging away up the left of the beat. The slacker tide inshore enabled him to beat John to the windward mark, but Gareth had got there first with a 100m lead. Stuart kept a few boat lengths ahead of John downwind, but on Lap 2 he opted to follow Gareth up the right side of the beat while John went left. That proved to be a mistake by Stuart, because now John rounded a few boat lengths ahead of him. John extended the margin over Stuart to 30 seconds over the final lap, about two minutes behind Gareth. The chasing pack finished in close order another minute back with George just seconds ahead of the rest.

Race 3

Conditions on Day 2 were very similar to the first day. Eamonn Cotter got an early lead off the start line and was first to the windward mark followed by John, George and Gareth. Gareth overtook George downwind to move up into third place. On the beat of Lap 2 Eamonn went left up the beat, which proved to be a mistake, because John, Gareth and George rounded the windward mark ahead of him. This leading group were engaged in close combat downwind, from which Gareth just eased to the front. They stayed close together for the final lap with all four finishing within a minute in the order Gareth, John, George and Eamonn.

Meanwhile more battles were being fought in the chasing pack. Stuart had overtaken Chris Phillips and was closing on Syd Gage when there was a fraught incident at the gybe mark. On the approach to the mark Syd found himself as give way boat to two Darts one coming in on port tack to leeward and the other on starboard. As Syd did pirouettes to get out of the way, Stuart established an overlap and called for water. Syd had very little room for manoeuvre leaving the narrowest of gaps between his boat and the buoy. How Stuart managed to round the mark without hitting Syd or the mark is still a source of wonder, but it enabled him to claim fifth place.

Race 4

Gareth got a well timed start at the Committee Boat end followed closely by Stuart who shut out Mike Gough. John and Eamonn peeled off to go right up the beat soon after starting, and Gareth and Stuart followed suit a little later. Gareth was first to the windward mark followed by John, Eamonn, Stuart and George. Gareth pulled away downwind leaving the others to scrap it out between them.

At the start of Lap 2 Eamonn, Stuart and George were in close company heading up the right side of the beat with John a little further ahead heading left. Eamonn pulled away from the other two upwind, and rounded the windward mark in front of John, while George just pipped Stuart to the mark. For the rest of the race, as Gareth lengthened his lead, two close fought duels were being fought behind him. In the first Eamonn managed to hold off John to take second place, while Stuart could not get past George who claimed fourth place.

Race 5

Day 3 dawned with a Force 4 onshore breeze that had kicked up a lot of surf making launching rather hazardous. It was decided to go ahead with the racing but for safety's sake a two lap windward-leeward course was set. After a delay, while one Catapult which had lost its mast was rescued, Race 5 was started in a breeze that had now abated to Force 3. Despite the marked port bias on the line all boats opted to start on starboard with Gareth and Chris leading the charge ahead of Mike and Eamonn. Eamon soon tacked off to go right up the beat while the others persevered up the left side. The fleet soon stretched out as they struggled with the lumpy seas with Chris and Gareth out in front. Alas Chris's moment of glory was snatched away as Gareth just beat him to the windward mark. Some way back Eamonn rounded next followed by Mike. Gareth demonstrated his downwind skill again by pulling away from Chris, while Eamonn was rapidly closing the gap on Chris. However, Eamonn headed for the wrong mark and was overtaken by Mike who had correctly identified the gate marks.

On the next beat Gareth and Chris went right while Mike, Eamonn and Stuart, who was some way back, went right. Stuart found himself under his own personal cloud which enabled him to point higher and foot faster, so much so that he made up some 200m and was close on Eamonn's tail at the windward mark. Meanwhile Mike was last seen heading for Spurn Point; he had obviously heard that it is particularly lovely at this time of year. Stuart overtook Eamonn downwind and held on to finish third behind Chris. Gareth's win made it five firsts from five races confirming him as the convincing winner of the Catapult Northern Trophy to add to his recent Nationals title.

Northern Championship Results:

1Gareth EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑111114
2John TerryYorkshire Dales SC2223( DNC9
3George EvansCCA3434‑514
4Eamonn CotterFiley SC‑8542415
5Stuart EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑6355316
6Chris PhillipsCCA486‑9220
7Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC56‑86724
8Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC‑7777627
9Damien CooneyCCA991010( DNC38
10Chris UptonCCA( RETRET98DNC39

Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series

The Catapult Class Association also runs a personal handicap series in parallel with its TT and Championship Series. Only five points separated the top four helms, everyone of whom had won a race. But with two race wins to his credit it was Syd Gage sailing at his home club, the Royal Yorkshire YC, who won not only the Lilac Pennant as the winner of the event on handicap, but also the Magenta Pennant for leading the Series to date, having overtaken the previous leader, Stuart, by one point.

Overall Results:

1Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC11.53.53‑4.59
2Eamonn CotterFiley SC‑8521311
3George EvansCCA4414‑613
4Damien CooneyCCA21.53.57( DNC14
5Chris PhillipsCCA366‑9116
6Stuart EdeYorkshire Dales SC53‑76216
7Gareth EdeYorkshire Dales SC68‑954.523.5
8Chris UptonCCA( RETRET52DNC29
9John TerryYorkshire Dales SC7988( DNC32
10Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC97‑1010733

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