Northern Championships and TT:
Bassenthwaite SC

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 Sailing Catapult

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   Catapult returned to Bassenthwaite Sailing Club’s beautiful setting, to meet strong easterlies, turning SE and gusting up to force 6-7. The fleet looked at the gusting wind on Saturday and concluded that racing could be held over to the next two days. Sunday revealed the easterly back with a vengeance, whitecaps across the lake and dark gusts up to 49mph, keeping everyone ashore.

The Club continued their support and cooperation by arranging three back-to-back races for the final Monday session. The day began with the SE breeze down (and fluctuating and swinging) gradually increasing as racing progressed until by race 3 the fleet was competing vigorously in the conditions they had agreed would be madness the day before.

The boats were at the edge, with several final capsizes, but the same disasters demonstrated the boats ability to be righted again and continue.

 Below: Paul Ellis nicely settled chasing out towards Skiddaw. (All photos by BSC Rescue Boat)  (More pictures)

     For Race 1 the club set a straightforward starboard triangle. The windward mark was in the lee of Skiddaw, and choosing the right approach in the patchy conditions proved critical.

Early leader John Terry tacked across towards the shore too soon, while Paul Ellis and Alastair Forrest gauged it right, arriving first side by side. They gained a large lead over the rest of the fleet who stayed in mid-lake too long, and increased this steadily over the next two laps, with Paul gradually stretching ahead of Alastair.

Paul gained up the next beat and run, to have a comfortable lead. Out of the group following, Gareth Ede had recovered from getting stuck at the start and then emerged to threaten but not take Alastair’s second place, with Justin Evans behind.

  Race 2 with the wind freshening was around a complex inverted P, with the arm well down the lake under Skiddaw.  The strong port bias to the start was well picked by John Terry who then stalled in a shift just as he took the advantage. Stuart Ede went right up the beat to lead at the windward mark.


  A close reach up the lake into the wind shadow of Skiddaw then spread the fleet, and the last arrivals found the “gate” of the light shifting breeze slammed shut, separating the leading four from the chasing pack.

By the second and final lap Stuart had a quarter mile lead over his son Gareth Ede, with Paul Ellis and John Terry in pursuit, but he threw it away when he couldn’t find a mark. Gareth took over first, with Paul and John taking second and third places.

   (Above: Gareth Ede on the way to a win in the Northern Championships)  

  Race 3 around a port triangle began in the mounting easterly. Stuart Ede tacked in front of the fleet to win the start, and headed away up the right-hand side, in the lead at the top mark. Alastair pulled up to be second ahead of Paul but repair to an outhaul failure put him to the back of fleet.

  With the wind piping still further, Stuart confidently built a good lead. and he was 200m ahead approaching the leeward mark only to pitch-pole in one of the huge gusts that were now reaching 40 mph (captured on a rescue boat camera, picture right.)

  The second set of reaches began claiming more capsize victims with Chris Phillips having a good second place plucked from him.

   Gareth Ede again benefited from his father’s misfortune. He clung on (literally!) as many of the rest of the fleet pitch-poled in his wake (with eventually four of eight starters going over) to take first.  Alastair pulled up steadily through lap 2 and 3, through the rapidly diminishing fleet ahead, to take second just ahead of John Terry

Gareth’s second win gave him the 2011 Northern Championship ahead of Paul Ellis with a first and a second to count and Alastair Forrest’s two seconds.

Results:  Sailed: 3, Discards: 1, To count: 2, Entries: 12
Rank SailNo HelmName Club R1 R2 R3 Total Nett
1st 91 Gareth Ede Filey SC (3.0) 1.0 1.0 5.0 2.0
2nd 507 Paul Ellis Marconi SC 1.0 2.0 (6.0) 9.0 3.0
3rd 524 Alastair Forrest Catapult Assoc 2.0 (5.0) 2.0 9.0 4.0
4th 533 John Terry Rutland SC (6.0) 3.0 3.0 12.0 6.0
5th 531 Stuart Ede Filey SC (5.0) 4.0 4.0 13.0 8.0
6th 518 Justin Evans Catapult Assoc 4.0 (7.0) 5.0 16.0 9.0
7th 510 George Evans` Bala Catamaran Club 7.0 6.0 (DNF) 26.0 13.0

(Below: Stuart Ede chases at speed.)                               (More pictures here)