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Catapult Open at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club

by Stuart Ede 31 May 12:00 BST 4-6 May 2024

The Catapult fleet returned to one of its favourite venues, Bassenthwaite Sailing Club, to take part in a shared event with the Mirror Northerns and the various club fleets over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (4-6 May).

As ever it was a well organised event, and the Race Team coped admirably with the variable conditions, especially on the second day.

Race 1

The lake provided a pleasant surprise by conjuring up a Force 3 breeze despite the forecast light airs. After a port tack start Stuart Ede led up the first beat with his son Gareth hot on his heels. Up the second beat Gareth was just ahead, but by the windward mark Chris Phillips had caught up and rounded just ahead. However, he headed for the wrong mark, so Gareth and Stuart overtook him on the downwind leg. On the second lap George Evans caught up on the beat and rounded the windward mark just behind Stuart with whom he engaged in a downwind battle. Stuart managed to hold off George along the bottom reach, only to be overtaken upwind. George harried Gareth for a while, but eventually Gareth drew away to take first place. Meanwhile Syd Gage and Chris P had narrowed to gap on Stuart and pressed him to the finish, but he held on to claim third with Syd in fourth place.

Race 2

Stuart crossed ahead of Gareth and George on another port tack flyer and went right up the beat. Unfortunately for him the left side was more advantageous, so Gareth and George reached the windward mark at the front of the fleet. Gareth steadily built up an unassailable lead over George, while George did the same to Stuart, who found himself harried by Chris P. On the last lap Chris P was just ahead, but he overstood the mark, allowing Stuart to get his nose in front, which he held onto for third place.

Race 3

Sunday dawned with light airs. A first attempt had to be abandoned when the Mirror fleet found themselves becalmed at the start. When a sailable breeze filled in, Chris Crawley got a cracking start at the Committee Boat end, while Chris P, Stuart and Gareth started on port at the pin end. Chris C's home-made adaptation of a Musto Skiff sail, proved to be ideally suited to the light airs, and he rounded the windward mark ahead of Chris P, Gareth, Stuart and George. Chris lengthened his lead downwind, while Gareth set off in pursuit. Over the next lap Stuart gradually pulled away from Chris P and gained on Gareth and Chris C, so much so that the front three, in the order Chris C, Gareth, Stuart, finished within a 20 second window.

Race 4

Gareth rounded the first windward mark ahead of Stuart and George. Gareth lengthened his lead and was not seriously challenged for the rest of the race. Meanwhile George harried Stuart downwind, but eventually Stuart was able to pull away. Thereafter the fleet stretched out enormously, as the leaders benefited from clear air, better shifts and pressure, while the mid fleet boats were swallowed up by spinnaker boats, and the back markers were finished a lap early.

Race 5

The fleet was reduced to four starters, as several helms decided to sit this one out. Stuart started mid line and led the fleet left up the beat. Gareth caught his dad at the windward mark and held the lead for most of the race, while Stuart kept him under pressure. Behind them George and Chris P became enmeshed in a fleet of spinnaker boats and dropped back, so the race developed into two duels. The race was shortened at the windward mark. Gareth tacked for the line, but Stuart delayed, having already experienced on the previous lap an adverse wind bend approaching the mark. That proved decisive, as Stuart was able to finish first next to the Committee Boat while Gareth had to tack for the line. Behind them a cheer went up from the Committee Boat crew as Chris P and George, who had struggled to cross the line in the dying breeze, eventually made it with George taking third place.

Monday dawned with no breeze at all, so the fleet decided to can the last race. This left Gareth as the overall winner with three race wins, with the other two picked up by Chris C and Stuart.

Jon Montgomery Travellers Trophy Results:

1Gareth Ede11‑2125
2Stuart Ede‑333219
3George Evans22‑63310
4Chris Phillips‑5444416
5Chris Crawley7515‑818
6Chris Upton6656‑823
7Syd Gage4‑888828

This result put Gareth alongside George at the top of the TT Series leader board after two events, with Stuart and Syd taking the third and fourth slots respectively.

Alastair Forrest Personal Handicap results

The Catapult Class Association runs a personal handicap series in parallel with the level rating TT Series using the same set of results. Unfortunately times were not taken for the first day's racing, so the handicap result rested on Day 2's results. Chris Upton and Chris Crawley must rue their decision to sit out the last race, because, unbeknownst to them, being finished early in Race 4 meant that they came first and second on average lap time, and with not enough races to trigger the discard, the DNCs in their scorelines cost them first and second places overall, leaving Stuart to take the top spot. However, it doesn't detract from their obvious strengths in light airs.

1Stuart Ede‑2121116
2Eamonn Cotter1‑222229
3John Terry33‑433315
4Gareth Ede44‑543419
5Syd Gage‑66166629

Despite Stuart's win George and Syd retained their first and second positions at the top of the Personal Handicap Series leader board.

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