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Catapult Open at Kielder Water Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 24 Sep 2022 15:02 BST 10-11 September 2022
Band on the run: John Terry (behind the camera) and Gareth Ede chase down Gareth's dad, Stuart © John Terry

Having discovered the delights of Kielder Water Sailing Club's Annual September Open last year, five Catapults returned over the weekend of 10-11 September 2022 to take part in this well organised and friendly event.

The largely light and shifty conditions made race management a bit of a nightmare, but the Race Officer did a sterling job, and the Catapult fleet enjoyed some testing and very tactical racing.

Race 1

Most of the fleet went right up the beat of this triangular course in a gentle Force 2 breeze. John Terry tacked off to the left quite early, and this worked to his advantage as he rounded the windward mark with a 100m lead followed by Stuart Ede, Chris Crawley and Gareth Ede. On the two downwind legs Gareth overtook Chris and Stuart and set off after John. On the beat of the second lap Gareth and Stuart closed the gap on John, and on the next downwind leg Gareth overtook John, only for John to reclaim the lead on the last beat. On the top reach George Evans, who had been a long way back, closed the gap on the leading group and managed to pass Chris. In a dying breeze John, Gareth and Stuart rounded the last leeward mark in close company. John tacked for the pin end, but because of the shifty conditions found he couldn't lay it. Gareth and Stuart carried on further before tacking and claimed first and second places, respectively.

Race 2

The shifty Force 1 to 2 conditions persisted for Race 2. John rounded the windward mark of the triangular course first followed by Gareth and Stuart. Chris closed up with the leaders on the next reach, and these four approached the leeward mark in close company as the course was shortened to one lap. Stuart had the inside berth and tacked immediately for the pin end, but as he did so the wind shifted 90 degrees and died away leaving him stalled. The other three carried on on port tack. John was next to tack for the line but found he couldn't lay it either, leaving Gareth followed closely by a jubilant Chris to creep over the line in the lightest of zephyrs. John was third and next was Stuart wondering how he had gone from first to fourth in the space of 100m.

Race 3

Gareth and John led the way up the first beat of a triangular course, while George and Stuart were fighting it out close behind. George tacked off left while Stuart persevered up the right. This proved the best move, as he had a 100m lead over George by the time he reached the windward mark. On the second beat John made the same mistake as George by tacking off left enabling Stuart to climb into second place about 50m behind Gareth. On the last broad reach Gareth and Stuart were anxiously looking over their shoulders at John and George who were benefiting from more pressure, so they were relieved when the shorten course flag was hoisted and they were able to claim first and second places, respectively. Meanwhile George had closed up on John's tail and they rounded the leeward mark together. In the last 100m to the finish line George just got his nose in front to claim third place.

Race 4

An Olympic course was set to provide some variety. John was first to the windward mark followed closely by Gareth. Gareth and John were in close quarters combat down the reaches and for the start of the beat on the sausage lap, but then the breeze died away. Stuart was able to ghost past them on the opposite tack and went right up the beat. Gareth peeled off from his duel to follow Stuart while John carried on leftward, each searching for the slightest zephyr as around the course boats came to a virtual standstill. It looked as though Stuart and Gareth, who was now a few boat lengths ahead of his Dad, had made the right choice because they opened up a 200m lead. However as they crept around the windward mark the breeze revived and shifted so much that John followed by George were able to broad reach down to the mark and close the gap significantly. Down the run of the now shortened course John closed on Stuart who rounded the leeward mark just ahead, but John made a tighter turn and seized the windward gage. Stuart ducked down and tacked to break the cover, but to no avail, and he had to settle for third place.

Race 5

Fortunately a high end Force 2 breeze returned for Race 5 set on a triangular course. George was able to climb to windward of the fleet on the first beat and rounded the windward mark first, followed by John and Gareth. George held off John for the next two laps, but on the third beat, while George and John went left, Gareth and Stuart went right and picked up more pressure enabling Gareth to take the lead at the windward mark. Gareth held off John over the final legs while Stuart tried unsuccessfully to overtake George who claimed third place.

His five wins in all five races made Gareth the clear winner of the event, and reinforced his position at the top of the Jon Montgomery Travellers Trophy Series for 2022 with a 10 point lead over John, last year's TT Champion. Meanwhile Stuart has climbed into a precarious third place in the Series, with George and Mike Gough within striking distance and all to play for at the last event of the season at Grafham.

Overall Results:

1Gareth Ede‑111114
2John Terry33‑42210
3Stuart Ede2‑423411
4George Evans4‑534314
5Chris Crawley‑5255517

Personal Handicap Results

The Catapult Class Association runs the Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series in parallel with the level rating TT Series. Stuart's win on handicap at Kielder promoted him to the top of the Series leader board. Although on paper he has a healthy lead over the next four sailors who are closely bunched, George could still catch Stuart when he can discard a remaining DNC from his scoreline. So, just like the TT Series, there is the potential for some major place changes at the last event. Watch this space!

1Stuart Ede1‑21125
2George Evans2‑52217
3Chris Crawley3133‑510
4Gareth Ede‑5344415
5John Terry44‑55316

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