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Catapult class at the Gill catamaran open meeting at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 1 Nov 2022 16:08 GMT 22-23 October 2022
Catapult class at the Gill catamaran open meeting at Grafham © Paul Sanwell / OPP

Gareth Ede demonstrated his dominance of the class with another emphatic win at Grafham Water over the weekend of 22-23 October to get his name on the 2022 John Montgomery Travellers Trophy. He also won a £75 gift voucher thanks to generous sponsorship of the event by Gill.

Low water levels, which led the club to restrict entries, meant that the Medium Handicap course was the sole preserve of six Catapults (sadly missing one member whose car broke down en route to the event). The Saturday brought sunshine and a Force 3 breeze with bursts of Force 4 and the occasional lull.

The efficiency of Race Officer, Nigel Denchfield, and his team enabled four races to be packed into the first day, which was just as well given the much lighter and more difficult conditions experienced on the Sunday - in torrential rain.

Race 1

This race, like all the races on the first day, comprised three laps run over a trapezoid course. Gareth Ede got a good start and was first to the windward mark with John Terry in second place followed by George Evans, Mike Gough, Stuart Ede and Syd Gage. That order remained in place for the next two laps while Gareth increased his lead and John stretched ahead of George.

Race 2

By going right up the first beat John was able to grab the lead at the windward mark just ahead of Gareth. George, Mike, Stuart and Syd then rounded in quick succession not far behind. John led Gareth all the way around the first lap until the gate when Gareth eased ahead and steadily increased his lead over the rest of the race. Meanwhile the rest of the fleet finished in the order they had rounded the first mark with very little place changing.

Race 3

John again went right up the first beat and came in fast on starboard as Gareth approached on port. Gareth had to round wide but then tucked in behind John. The next run saw quite a bit of place changing as Gareth overtook John, and Stuart got past Mike and George. George regained third place on the beat of Lap 2.

Approaching the gate for the penultimate time, Gareth found that thanks to a significant wind shift he could get through without tacking and he used that to go right into more pressure and increase his lead. By the time Stuart came to the gate he found the wind had shifted back, but he decided to go right up the beat in the hope of catching George.

However, Mike found more pressure on the left and rounded the last windward mark in fourth place, and this order remained in place to the finish.

Race 4

Gareth followed closely by Mike were first to the windward mark, and John came in from the right to slip into third place. While Gareth inched further ahead, Mike held off John for the first lap until John overtook him on the next beat. On the second beat Mike and George were in close quarters combat on the right. Mike managed to hold off George and increased his lead downwind to secure third place behind Gareth and John.

Race 5

Gareth, starting near the back of the bunch, took the opportunity to tack off to the right very early on. He was subsequently followed by John, and that proved to be a good call, because they arrived at the windward mark well ahead of the rest of the fleet which had persevered up the left side. Next round was George followed by Stuart. By this time the wind was dying away rapidly as the rain became torrential.

The fleet was strung out in the order in which they rounded the windward mark, so Race Officer took the decision to end the race after one lap. Gareth was so far ahead that he also won that race on handicap despite having the most punitive rating in the fleet.

Race 6

This race was characterised by huge shifts and lulls which varied markedly depending upon which part of the course you were on, as a succession of dark clouds moved across. Again Gareth led the fleet around the course followed by John, George and Stuart. As they started the second and final lap the wind shifted so much that it was almost possible to lay the windward mark on one tack.

However, as the leaders approached the mark the breeze died away and they were headed by a massive swing, leaving them struggling to get round. Seeing the leading three's travails Stuart tacked off to the right where he thought he saw more pressure.

However, that proved illusory and he watched powerlessly (literally!) as Mike, who had followed the rest, crawled around the mark to take fourth place from him by quite a margin.

There was no doubting the podium places for the event: Gareth's six wins out of six, John's six seconds and George's five thirds made them deserving prize winners. Besides Gareth's £75 Gill gift voucher, John won a Gill sailing kitbag and George a Gill cap thanks to Gill's generous sponsorship of the Cat Open.

These results cemented Gareth's claim on the Jon Montgomery Trophy for the Catapult Class Association 2022 Travellers Trophy Series, and confirmed arch rival John's second place. George's success at Grafham drew him level on points with Stuart in the Series, but Stuart just retained third place on countback.

Level Rating results:

1Gareth EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑1111115
2John TerryYorkshire Dales SC‑22222210
3George EvansCatapult Class Asscn333‑43315
4Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC4443‑5419
5Stuart EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑55554524
6Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC6666‑8832
7Chris PhillipsCatapult Class Asscn‑88888840

Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series

The Catapult Class Association runs a personal handicap series which uses the same race results but with personal ratings applied.

Going into the Cat Open Stuart was topping the Handicap Series leader board, but George was lurking dangerously in 4th place with a DNC in his scoreline.

George's clear victory at the Cat Open, with 4 wins to count, and his ability to discard the DNC meant he leapfrogged up the rankings to claim the Alastair Forrest Trophy by one point over Stuart, while Syd came an honourable third.

Personal Rating Results: (Race 4 omitted because of a timing error)

1George EvansCatapult Class Asscn111‑214
2Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC332‑4210
3Stuart EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑4443314
4Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC223‑8815
5Gareth EdeYorkshire Dales SC‑5551516
6John TerryYorkshire Dales SC‑6665421
7Chris PhillipsCatapult Class Asscn‑8888832

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