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Rooster 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Catapult TT at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 29 May 2023 10:16 BST 22-23 April 2023
(R-L) John Terry 2nd, Gareth Ede 1st, George Evans 3rd, and Syd Gage, winner of the Catapult 40th Anniversary Videographer Award - Catapult TT at Yorkshire Dales © Stuart Ede

At the first Catapult TT of the 2023 season over the weekend of 22-23 April Gareth Ede, on his home turf at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club, showed he had not lost any of his competitive edge over the winter. The TT formed part of an enjoyable joint singlehander open event shared with the Contender and Vortex fleets.

Race 1

Day 1 offered a Force 2-3 breeze, not enough for trapezing but still quite exciting at times. Knowing the Catapult and Contender fleets like reaches, Race Officer Stewart Walker set a three lap course that after the windward mark took the fleet on a couple of reaches across the reservoir and back followed by a short run and final reach to the leeward mark before returning to the gate.

Gareth Ede drew away upwind on the first beat and rounded the windward mark just ahead of John Terry who was followed by Mike Gough, George Evans, Stuart Ede and Syd Gage. Gareth steadily drew away from the pack to build a substantial three minute lead by the finish. Meanwhile George overtook Mike on the first run, and he steadily closed the gap on John. However, John held off George's challenge to take second place by a margin of only 12 seconds. Mike came in another 20 seconds behind George.

Race 2

The course was slightly modified to increase the running leg. Gareth was away fast off the line with John next, followed closely by George. Gareth was able to keep ahead of the Contender fleet and in the free air increased his lead massively while John with George challenging him closely got stuck behind them. This enabled Stuart and Mike to close the gap.

On the third lap John and George went right after going through the gate. Stuart and Mike, who were just a few boat lengths apart went left and benefited hugely from a favourable shift and more pressure moving them into second and third places respectively. While John was able to claw back some of the deficit, Stuart and Mike held their positions to the finish with Stuart taking a win on personal handicap.

Race 3

Gareth, Mike, Stuart and Syd went for a port tack start. It looked as though they would have the drop on John and George, but a favourable shift allowed George to take second and John third place around the windward mark behind Gareth. While Gareth was increasing his lead downwind, George was in second place ahead of John with Syd, Mike and Stuart in a tight bunch just a few yards behind. Up the beat of the second and last lap Stuart overhauled first John and then George. He held on to take second some way behind Gareth. Indeed Gareth was so far ahead that he won both on level rating and on personal handicap despite a stiff rating. Meanwhile John had caught George to take third place.

Race 4

Day 2 dawned with a Force 4 breeze coming from the opposite direction to the previous day. Gareth trapezed his way into the lead up the first beat, and Mike, who's a big lad and revels in stronger winds, was second around the windward mark followed by John and George. John overtook Mike on the downwind legs, and George got past in the subsequent beat. This order was maintained for the next two laps to the finish, which for Gareth came a lap later as he was well into his fourth lap when the Race Officer decided to finish the rest of the fleet. This can result in anomalies if the wind weakens, but fortunately it didn't and Gareth was so far ahead that he won on personal handicap as well as level rating.

Race 5

By now the breeze was abating and getting progressively more patchy and shifty, which required a lot of skill - or luck - to get it right on the beats. Again Gareth took an early lead, but George was right on his heels for much of the race, while John was playing catch up in third position. Eventually Gareth drew away and a tussle developed between George and John, but George held off John's challenge to take second place by a 90 second margin. Behind them Mike and Stuart were in close quarters combat on the downwind legs. Mike attacked Stuart's wind and was a boat length ahead, but as they approached the last leeward mark Stuart reached across Mike's stern to establish an overlap and sneak through on the inside to take fourth place by 20 seconds.

Race 6

The last race developed into a three way battle between Gareth, George and John. On the last lap, as Gareth and George went right up the beat, John decided to try for more breeze on the left. Alas that didn't work, and Gareth was able to draw away a bit leaving John chasing George for second place. John was challenging George all the way downwind but couldn't manage to overtake, and George held on to second place by a 14 second margin.

So Gareth won the event with a perfect scoreline of six first places, taking both the Blue Pennant as event winner and the Yellow Pennant as TT Series leader. John came second only one point ahead of George.

Level rating results:

1Gareth EdeCCA‑1111115
2John TerryYorkshire Dales SC2‑4323313
3George EvansBala SC3‑5432214
4Stuart EdeCCA‑52254518
5Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC‑65544321
6Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC‑77756530

Personal Handicap results:

1George EvansBala SC1‑442119
2Gareth EdeCCA‑4311229
3Stuart EdeCCA31233‑412
4Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC22‑544315
5John TerryYorkshire Dales SC5‑6655425
6Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC‑75377729

The Catapult Class Association runs a Personal Handicap Series in parallel with the TT Series. With three wins on handicap George takes the Lilac Pennant as event winner, and he retains the Magenta Pennant that he won in last year's Personal Handicap Series. Amazingly Gareth beat his very stiff personal rating to tie on points, but just losing out on countback.

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