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Epoxycraft 2022 PRO-SET - LEADERBOARD

Catapults at the Grafham Cat Open

by Stuart Ede 22 Oct 2023 07:32 BST 14-15 October 2023

Gareth Ede finished the season in emphatic style with six wins out of six at Grafham Water Sailing Club's Medium Handicap Catamaran Open event, which cemented his claim on the 2023 Jon Montgomery Travellers Trophy.

Sparkling conditions of sunshine and a Force 3 to 4 wind over the weekend of 14-15 October made for a great hull-flying finish to the 2023 Catapult TT and Personal Handicap Series for the six Catapults who made the trip to Grafham. Nigel Denchfield, the Race Officer, packed in four races on the first day to make the most of the conditions, especially as the wind forecast for Day Two was not so promising. It meant there had to be a quick turn-around between races, and thanks to efficient race management that was achieved. All the races were run over three laps of a square course.

Race 1

Gareth trapezed his way the front up the first beat, but the rest of the fleet was hot on his heels with John Terry rounding the windward mark second ahead of George Evans, Stuart Ede, Chris Phillips and Syd Gage. However, Gareth got well away by going right up the beat of the second lap, and behind him the fleet stretched out, though Chris continued to harry Stuart all the way to the finish.

Race 2

Gareth went right straight after the start, and soon George peeled off to go more rightward, which proved to be the right choice, because massive gaps opened up between Gareth and George and between George and the rest of the fleet. Going right didn't suit John, though, who rounded the windward mark in fourth place just behind Stuart who had gone left up the beat. He soon overtook Stuart on the next reach, though, and steadily drew away. On the last beat Stuart tacked too early for the windward mark, while Chris got it right and moved into fourth place which he held to the finish.

Race 3

By now most of the fleet had cottoned on that going right up the beat paid off. However, Stuart had spotted more pressure on the left, and he rounded the windward mark just behind Gareth and John and a little way ahead of George and Chris. Down the next run George attacked Stuart and managed to get past by the bottom mark. He then held off Stuart's challenges for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile Chris and Syd were engaged in a duel, which Chris eventually won by a minute at the finish.

Race 4

Gareth again took the lead by the windward mark, but for once the rest of the fleet didn't need binoculars to see him - well for the first couple of laps at least. John had ensconced himself in second place a little way ahead of George, Stuart and Chris. These latter three were within striking distance of one another approaching the last windward mark, but George managed to get to the mark first to chase John who managed to hold him off by just 13 seconds at the finish. Meanwhile Chris had been caught on port by a right of way Dart 15 and had to throw in a couple of tacks that let Stuart secure fourth place.

Race 5

Day 2 was nowhere as dire as the forecast with more sunshine and a good breeze on offer, though it would prove more testing as the morning wore on.

John Terry was first to the windward mark, but Gareth was hot on his heels with George a few boat lengths further back. Gareth harried John all the way down the run and overtook on the bottom reach. As the leading three tacked to get through the gate the wind swung massively. Gareth found he could lay the windward mark virtually without tacking, opening up a lead over John and George who then suffered a reverse swing as they approached the top mark. By now Gareth's lead was unassailable, which also earned him first place in the Medium Handicap fleet. Stuart and Chris saw little benefit from the original swing and had to battle a number of large shifts with Chris overtaking Stuart by going left up the last beat while Stuart went right.

Race 6

Chris banged the left corner of the first beat, and he came in fast to the top mark tucking in closely behind Gareth and John who had gone more rightwards. George had also gone right, but lost out on the approach to the mark enabling Stuart to slip into fourth place. Out in front Gareth was going like a train and claimed his second win in the Medium Handicap fleet, while the rest of the fleet stretched out behind him. The only real contest was between Stuart and George who duelled all the way round for fourth place. Tactics on the last beat were the deciding factor. George went left hoping to emulate Chris's success in Lap 1, while Stuart went up the middle tacking on the shifts, which proved to be the better strategy.

Jon Montgomery Travellers Trophy results The Grafham Cat Open was the last event in the Catapult 2023 Series. Gareth already had a healthy lead over second placed John Terry in the Series, and his six wins out of six at Grafham emphatically sealed his claim on the Trophy. The Blue Pennant for the event win and the Yellow Pennant as leader of the TT Series are becoming fixtures on his forestay. The other podium places in the Series went to John Terry (2nd) and George Evans (3rd).

Gareth's two wins in the Medium Handicap Fleet also secured him third place overall for which he received a pair of Gill sunglasses as his prize.

Overall Results:

PosHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Gareth Ede‑1111115
2John Terry2‑3222210
3George Evans32333‑514
4Chris Phillips‑54554319
5Stuart Ede4‑5445419
6Syd Gage6666(DNC)DNC31

Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series

The Catapult Class Association runs a Personal Handicap Series in parallel with its TT Series. George Evans had won on handicap every event he had attended this year and looked set to add another win to his scoreline. However, Chris Phillips who had not sailed with the fleet for a year proved to be a wildcard. His two race wins and a succession of seconds put him a point ahead of George, so he will be flying the Lilac Pennant as event winner at the start of next season.

George, though, already had an unassailable lead in the Series, so he wins the Alastair Forrest Trophy and will be flying the Magenta Pennant at the start of next season.

Honourable mention goes to Syd Gage, who like Chris and George had two race wins to his name, however he had to settle for third because illness stopped him competing on the second day. Fortunately it was still enough to lift him into second place in the Personal Handicap Series ahead of Gareth Ede who despite a punishing rating managed to claim the remaining podium place.

Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap Series Results:

PosHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Chris Phillips122‑4218
2George Evans21321‑59
3Syd Gage3511(DNC)DNC17
4Gareth Ede5.53‑653218.5
5Stuart Ede4443‑5419
6John Terry5.5‑6564323.5

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