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Zhik 2024 February Outlet - LEADERBOARD

Catapults at the Rutland Sailing Club Catamaran Open

by Stuart Ede 30 May 2023 09:17 BST
Jockeying before the start at the Rutland Cat Open © Syd Gage

Sunshine and a stiff breeze welcomed the Catapult fleet to the Rutland Cat Open, where John Terry scored a long-deserved victory. All the races were sailed on a large trapezoid course that made full use of the wide expanse of water near the dam.

Race 1

Despite battling a heavy cold, Gareth Ede took an early lead up the beat, searching desperately for the black windward mark. When he eventually found it, the rest of the fleet had to follow his abrupt course change.

John Terry eased ahead of the chasing pack round the next lap and set about pursuing Gareth. Going down the run of the second lap Gareth had a lead of 10 boat lengths over John who was another 10 ahead of a group comprising George Evans, Mike Gough and Eamonn Cotter plus Stuart Ede who had lately caught up on the top reach.

The Race Officer, decided to shorten course at the bottom of the run. George and Stuart who had stuck to the rhumb line narrowly snatched third and fourth places from Eamonn and Mike who had sailed more wide of it.

Race 2

By now the breeze was building to the forecast Force 4 gusting 5, and Gareth and Eamonn, the lightest of the competitors, were soon trapezing. The reaches were especially exciting, characterised by hull flying at high speed. Gareth soon built up a two minute lead, while behind him two duels were being played out: between John and George for second place, and between Eamonn and Mike. John eventually claimed second place by 30 seconds over George, and Eamonn took fourth place by just 15 seconds over Mike.

Race 3

John won the start at the Committee Boat end followed by Stuart, but Gareth and Eamonn sailed lower and faster to take an early lead. However, later starters George and Mike benefited from a wind bend that enabled them to climb upwind of the fleet. But by the windward mark Gareth had reclaimed the lead, which he held to the finish. About a minute behind him John, George and Eamonn rounded the penultimate mark in close company.

George was fastest to sheet in and set off at speed on the reach to the line to take second place. Eamonn, too, managed to get his nose ahead of John to claim third place.

Race 4

Overnight Gareth's cold got worse so he decided not to race leaving the field open for others to come to the fore. John was first to the windward mark and steadily built up his lead. George, too, began to climb away from the chasing pack leaving Mike, Eamonn and Stuart fighting it out on a fast and exciting reach. A gust caused Eamonn to dig his bows in, but quick reactions meant he avoided a pitchpole.

After that the field stretched out somewhat, and roughly a minute separated each of John, George, Eamonn and Mike who crossed the finish line in that order.

Race 5

The gusts were becoming increasingly shifty by now. If you could read them correctly, large gains could be made. Making a mistake in your tactics or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could spell disaster.

On the first beat George and Stuart made the right call by going left up the beat and were first to the windward mark, though Mike tucked inside as they tacked round the mark, and John and Eamonn came in at speed from the right to overtake as they started the top reach. On the last beat John benefited from a big lift and more pressure that opened up a commanding lead.

Then George tacked away from Mike, with whom he had been vying for second place, and made a similarly enormous gain. So large were the gains that suspicions were aroused that one or both had unintentionally missed out the windward mark, but video evidence refuted that. Meanwhile Eamonn had just got ahead of Mike and held on to take third over the line.

Race 6

The field was further reduced for Race 6, because Eamonn had to pack up early. Stuart was loitering near the Committee Boat, and as the countdown approached zero Mike came in at speed hoping to squeeze between Stuart and the Committee Boat. However, by now Stuart had sheeted in and that gap was closing. Mike was too committed to bale out, so he ended up brushing Stuart aside, incurring a penalty turn. It's a good thing that Catapults have inflatable hulls!

John had followed through the gap that Mike had created and went off into the lead. The first three to the windward mark were John, George and Mike in that order. The distance between them stretched out so that by the finish John had a one minute lead over George who in turn had a minute and a half lead over Mike.

His third race win in succession enabled John to claim victory, with George Evans second and Eamonn Cotter third. As event winner John will be flying the Blue Pennant at his next event. However, Gareth, who still managed to come fourth despite missing half the races, holds onto the Yellow Pennant as leader of the TT Series.

Thanks are due to Mikey Vernall for the excellent organisation of the Cat Open and to the Race Officer on the trapezoid course, John Fothergill, plus the rest of the team.

Level rating results:

1John TerryYorkshire Dales SC22‑41117
2George EvansBala SC‑33222211
3Eamonn CotterFiley SC54333‑918
4Gareth EdeCCA111‑99921
5Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC‑65544321
6Stuart EdeCCA4‑6665425
7Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC‑77756530
8Damien CooneyCCA8‑9979942

Personal Handicap results:

1George EvansBala SC‑3211116
2Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC213‑42311
3Eamonn CotterFiley SC‑33423 15
4Mike GoughYorkshire Dales SC‑65454220
5Stuart EdeCCA445‑75523
6John TerryYorkshire Dales SC‑76766429
7Damien CooneyCCA1‑9939931
8Gareth EdeCCA876‑99939

The Catapult Class Association runs a Personal Handicap Series in parallel with the TT Series. With four wins on handicap George took the Lilac Pennant as event winner, and he retained the Magenta Pennant as Handicap Series leader. The other handicap wins went to Damien Cooney and Syd Gage who came second overall.

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