Northerns and Catapult TT at Carsington
September 28th-29th

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 On Sept 28th-29th, Catapult was back to favourite setting at
Carsington Sailing Club in the Derbyshire Dales, for the Northern Championships, combined with a TT event, joining the Laser 3000s. The forecast of fronts crossing the country was amply confirmed, and strong gusting WSWesterlies on Saturday, with bursts of rain and whitecaps down the lake, reduced the 6-man fleet to four.

Gareth Ede chose a very reduced sail (looking like a small junk rig, pictures below) and found it gave a stable platform to trapeze, gaining upwind and then watching the full rigs catch up downwind around the trapezoid course.

 (Below: Race 1 John Terry capitalises on a good start, with Alastair trying to keep Gareth (small rig) and George under his lee.
Photo CSC Safety Rib with thanks)

In Race 1,  John Terry led off upwind, and then Gareth Ede led the pack, but hadn't looked at the course board and had no clue which mark to head to, slowing down as he started to run out of lake upwind to let the others catch up, with Alastair Forrest then leading a dash downwind from above the lay line to round the correct mark (Photo below left)

(Right: hectic Race 1 pre-start manoevres, as Gareth dives below Alastair. Photo George Evans.)

John Terry took back the lead, but then his mainsheet block bracket broke away from the cross beam on the first beat of the second lap after he had tacked to head for the windward mark.

  Gareth managed to regain a lead on the beat of the second lap but, with the wind easing, didn't have the enough sail power to hold off John and George downwind.

Lap 3 was a repeat of the second lap, with George coming round the final mark just ahead, but then overstanding in the short beat to the finish, so John tacked quickly below him, to get to the line just ahead to take first. (Photo below right)

(Below left: Alastair leads round the upwind mark, once it was found!)

                                                                                               (Below right: John snatches the win from George, camera.)

Race 2
followed so quickly that the fleet was caught napping, and John and Alastair scrambled back to lead from the start, with the others coming up upwind The wind had eased some more and, whilst Gareth could still gain upwind, he was losing out even more downwind with the small sail.

It became a fight between John and George round two laps with George being victorious.

Race 3 kept the same trapeziod course, with the wind swinging and moving further west.

 Alastair and John competed for the starboard-end start. Alastair came in slowly on the lay line, but John risked tearing down over him from windward to hit the line on the gun and stretch out.

Gareth on trapeze gained upwind and could hold off George's downwind gains to keep the second.

(Above: John Terry holds on through a gust, just not capsizing over George, camera!)
Sunday began with the WSW breeze down to a 3-4 useful racing breeze under cloud.

For Race 4 Gareth was back to a full size sail, and took the lead on the first beat, but had John and George breathing down his neck downwind,  closing the gap right up. Lap 2 and 3 followed the same pattern, Gareth building a gap on the beat and George and John closing it downwind.

George was immediately behind Gareth going into the final, short beat to the finish. Gareth tacked a couple of boat lengths too early,letting George just get his bow ahead at the committee boat end of the finish line.

 Behind, Syd Gage gained on Alastair upwind, but at the end was caught on the final reach and short beat

(Right: finish of Race 4: George (yellow hulls)just gets the gun to windward of Gareth, as Alastair creeps downwind past Syd, camera)

Race 5 brought the forecast instability in the breeze. John led away with Alastair close behind, and Gareth fast below, but behind George and Syd found their own wind channel from the start line, and climbed high and fast to get a good lead. Then the wind died on the beat following a heavy burst of rain (see photo below). Gareth out left gained and Syd and George were stuck out right, so John opened up a large lead, with others closing up behind. John held his lead round the second lap, with George taking second

(Left: Race 5 confusion; George and Syd (camera) search for the upwind mark in the rain)

In the Race 6 start Alastair and John again contested the Committee boat end, Alastair blocking off John, but he and then the others had the boat speed to pass, and John led up the beats. Gareth rounded the first windward mark in second place and closed the gap on John slightly downwind.

On the next beat John extended his lead, and Gareth closed it downwind. Meanwhile George was slowly catching up and overtook Gareth on the beat of the final lap, and then downwind, Gareth and George caught John.

 Blinding sheets of rain swept across the lake, obscuring the shore, although not bringing stronger wind. On the final reach, John defended against George passing to windward, letting Gareth past to leeward. Gareth held his lead in the short beat to the line, but George misjudged the tack to the line and let John regain second.

John Terry successfully defended his hold on the Northern Championships, two points ahead of Gareth Ede, while George Evans pressed them in several races, and was a clear winner on handicap.

Alastair Forrest and Gareth Ede

(Below: Gareth Ede chased by Alastair Forrest and George Evans, Race 1 of the Northerns. In the distance, John Terry chases after a mainsheet failure, grimly determined to catch up, which he did.
Photo CSC Safety Boat, with thanks.)


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st John Terry 1 2 1 (3) 1 2 10 7
2nd  George Evans 2 1 2 1 (3) 3 12 9
3rd Gareth Ede 3 3 3 2 2 1 14 11
4th Alastair Forrest 4 4 4 4 5 (5) 26 21
5th Syd Gage (6 DNC) 6 DNC 6 DNC 5 4 4 31 25


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st  George Evans 1 1 1 1 (2) 1 7 5
2nd Alastair Forrest 2 2 2 3 4 (5) 18 13
3rd John Terry 3 3 3 (5) 3 3 20 `15
4th   Syd Gage (6 DNC) 6 DNC 6 DNC 2 1 2 23 17
5th Gareth Ede 4 4 4 4 (5) 4 25 20

(Below: Jolly boating weather; de-rigging in sheets of rain

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