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Catapult TT at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 28 May 2023 13:48 BST 4-6 May 2023
Chris Upton glides into second place on handicap during the Bassenthwaite Catapult Open © Syd Gage

The Catapult fleet returned to its annual three day May Day Bank Holiday event at Bassenthwaite SC where it always sure of a warm welcome. After an early slip Gareth Ede regained his winning ways with five wins out of six.

Unfortunately Day 1 was windless, so the Race Officer and the Sailing Secretary, John Reekie, decided to postpone racing. However, they very kindly offered early starts on the following two days to fit in the full complement of six races.

Race 1

The morning of Day 2 provided a sailable Force 1 to 2 breeze. John, Terry, Chris Upton and Gareth Ede started near the pin end of the line and went left up the beat, while Stuart Ede at the Committee Boat end went right. As they approached the windward mark, Stuart was headed and had to watch John, Chris and Gareth round ahead of him in that order.

Gareth overtook Chris downwind and was soon challenging John as they drew away from the rest of the fleet. Gareth was briefly in the lead, but when they parted ways up the last beat John's choice of the left side gave him a 20 second margin at the finish of the race which had been shortened to one lap and one beat.

Meanwhile Stuart and George Evans were chasing Chris who was lying third. George got past Stuart downwind, but Stuart counterattacked by broad reaching above the rhumb line. That proved to be a good tactic because he had an inside berth as they contended with a large number of club boats trying to round the leeward mark, while George was embroiled in the throng. Stuart caught Chris on starboard up the final beat to capture third place, but Chris managed to hold off George by a nose at the line.

Race 2

John spotted a last minute shift and won the start with a port tack flyer, chased by Gareth and Stuart. John led for the first of two laps, but Gareth went right up the last beat, while John went left, and managed to get his nose in front. They duelled all the way to the finish with Gareth taking line honours by less than a boat length.

On the second lap George beat Stuart to the windward mark by pointing higher, and he was leading by a couple of boat lengths as they sailed the last downwind leg. To their surprise Chris appeared out of the blue ahead of them. After rounding the last leeward mark George overtook Chris as they both headed for the Committee Boat end, while Stuart tacked for the pin end. The hooter sounded in very quick succession, and it wasn't till the results came out that Stuart realised he had snatched third place.

Race 3

By now the wind had swung nearly 90 degrees, and picked up to a Force 3 with gusts of Force 4 that could be very shifty. In the pre-start period a collision with Damien Cooney caused Chris to capsize which put him out of the race.

Most of the fleet opted for a port tack start, but several got to the line a little early, so Mike sailing along the line on starboard put the cat amongst the pigeons. John was first to the windward mark followed by Gareth, Stuart, Mike and George. Downwind Gareth overtook John, but he lost the lead when rounding a mark the wrong way. This caused a certain amount of confusion in the chasing pack before they worked out the correct side to round. Gareth, though, had to rethread his path get himself back on track, and that dropped him to fifth.

John was now in the lead with Mike and George close behind. However, Gareth used his superior downwind speed to overtake all three and recapture the lead. Over the next laps Gareth increased his lead to a minute while the other three slogged it out to a very close finish. Mike just failed by 15 seconds to catch John who took second place and George followed close behind to take fourth.

Race 4

This time all boats started at the pin on port tack. John was first to the windward mark followed closely by Gareth and Stuart. Gareth took the lead downwind, and on the next beat George's superior pointing ability enabled him to take third place from Stuart. The fleet stretched out substantially over the subsequent laps, and the only close combat was between Stuart and Mike for fourth place. Mike got past on the last downwind leg, but Stuart counterattacked by reaching across Mike's stern and grabbing the inside berth at the turn. At the finish Stuart was just 30 seconds ahead of Mike.

Race 5

George was right on Gareth's tail as they rounded the first windward mark with John coming up behind. These two were pressing Gareth all the way round, changing places with one another but unable to overtake Gareth who by the finish had a lead of one minute. George took second place about 30 seconds ahead of John.

Race 6

Stuart won the start with a successful port tack flyer, and he went up the right of the course to get clear air. However, his hopes of beating the fleet to the windward mark were dashed when on the lay line he was hit by a major header. He had to watch helplessly as the rest of the fleet out on the left were able to sail free and fast to round well ahead.

Again the race developed into a three way battle between Gareth, John and George who had opened up a substantial lead over the rest of the fleet, so much so that they did four laps when the rest were finished after three. The lead changed several times between Gareth and John, and as they rounded the last leeward mark John was a boat length ahead. However, in the dash for the line Gareth edged out John by literally one second. George took third place a couple of minutes later.

So with five race wins out of six Gareth Ede took the Blue Pennant as event winner, and he retains the Yellow Pennant as TT Series leader.

Level rating results:

1stGareth Ede‑2111115
2ndJohn Terry1222‑329
3rdGeorge Evans‑54432316
4thStuart Ede33‑545520
5thMike Gough‑76354422
6thChris Upton45DNC67729
7thSyd Gage(DNC)DNCDNCDNC6639
8thDamien Cooney67(DNC)DNCDNCDNC40

Personal handicap results

The Catapult Class Association also runs a Personal Handicap Series in parallel with the level rating TT Series. George Evans performed best against his handicap rating with three wins out of six, taking the Lilac Pennant, while the other three wins were picked up by Damien Cooney, Mike Gough and Chris Upton who was a creditable second overall. George also retains the Magenta Pennant as Handicap Series leader.

1stGeorge Evans‑4221117
2ndChris Upton21(DNC)33211
3rdStuart Ede33355‑719
4thMike Gough6‑7164320
5thJohn Terry5444‑7421
6thGareth Ede‑76526625
7thDamien Cooney15(DNC)DNCDNCDNC33
8thSyd Gage(DNC)DNCDNCDNC2534

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