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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Catapult National Championship 2023 at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club

by Stuart Ede 14 Sep 2023 13:03 BST 26-28 August 2023
Gareth Ede retains his title at the Catapult Nationals 2023 © Paul Hargreaves Photography

A reduced, but nonetheless competitive, fleet of six Catapults assembled at the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club, Bridlington, over the August Bank Holiday Weekend to compete for the title of Catapult National Champion 2023.

The event was held as part of the RYYC's Annual Dinghy Section Regatta. The fleet are always sure of a warm welcome at the Club, and this year they were also greeted with sunshine but light winds.

Race 1

The first race finally got under weigh after an hour's delay waiting for the wind to fill in, which it did, up to the top end of a Force 2 with an occasional puff into the lower end of Force 3. The race was set to be three laps of a square course.

Stuart Ede and Syd Gage went right up the beat hoping to take advantage of the ebbing tide, but the flow was not yet strong enough to make a difference, and Gareth Ede, John Terry and George Evans came in fast from the right and rounded the windward mark well ahead.

The leading three stayed a few boat lengths apart for Lap 1, but up the beat of Lap 2 Gareth made use of the marginal trapezing conditions to build a substantial lead leaving John and George to contest second place with a number of place changes. As they approached the mark at the end of the run, George timed his gybe better and stole a march on John. George held onto second place until John managed to ease past him down the running leg of the last lap.

Race 2

This time the tidal flow was stronger, and both John and Stuart went right up the beat, both having gone for port tack starts, Stuart from the pin end and John from the Committee Boat end. They looked to have a good lead as they approached the windward mark, but Gareth, who had gone left, still managed to tuck in under Stuart's lee. Side by side they pursued John. Down the run Gareth went down tide of the rhumb line while Stuart went up tide and rounded the bottom mark in second place. John increased his lead up the beat of Lap 2, while Gareth overtook Stuart, but he could not catch John. The race was shortened at the windward mark of Lap 3, and much to Stuart's chagrin George managed to overhaul him up the last beat to snatch third place by a few boat lengths.

Race 3

Sunday dawned with hardly any breeze. After a two hour postponement the wind filled in to a Force 2. The race comprised two laps of a triangular course.

Most of the fleet started at the pin end on port though Stuart decided he wanted to start on starboard. John's well timed start meant he got away, but Gareth and George had to duck Stuart's stern. This didn't do their cause any harm, though, because all three were soon drawing away up the beat. Gareth managed to overtake John, and rounded the windward mark in the lead, though John and George were close on his heels.

Over the rest of the lap Gareth stretched his lead, while George continued to harry John. Behind them Syd and Stuart were engaged in a close tussle, with Syd just a couple of boat lengths ahead at the gybe mark. An incident as they exited the zone left Stuart doing a penalty turn and trailing by 100 metres and now threatened by Chris Upton.

Then on the final lap the heavens opened, visibility decreased alarmingly, and the wind picked up and swung 90 degrees turning the last beat into a reach and making the leg to the former gybe mark a beat. Alas, this sudden change disoriented Syd causing him to round the wrong marks and subsequently retire, which put him out of contention for first place overall on personal handicap.

Just before the deluge John had managed to build a safety margin of a few boat lengths over George which he held to the finish to claim second place behind Gareth.

Safety concerns over the loss of visibility in the rainstorm led the Race Officer to decide to send the fleet ashore. Unfortunately that is where they stayed for the rest of the day, because once the front had gone through it left no wind behind it.

Lack of wind also led to Monday's racing to be abandoned, so the Championships had to be determined on the results of the three races sailed with no discards applied.

With two wins to John's one Gareth won the National Trophy for a record ninth time, 13 years after his name first appeared on the trophy.

Overall Results:

PosHelmClub R1R2R3Pts
1Gareth EdeCatapult Class Association1214
2John TerryYorkshire Dales SC2125
3George EvansBala SC3339
4Stuart EdeCCA44412
5Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC55RTD17
6Chris UptonCCA66517

Personal Handicap results

The Class Association also runs the Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series in parallel with the level rating results. George Evans’s strong performance taking third place in the Nationals won him another first place on handicap – virtually guaranteeing him the Series Trophy.

PosHelmClub H’capR1R2R3Pts
1George EvansBala SC8901416
2Chris UptonCatapult Class Asscn10103227
3Syd GageRoyal Yorkshire YC95621RTD10
4Stuart EdeCCA89543512
5John TerryYorkshire Dales SC81355313
6Gareth EdeCCA78066416

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