Catapult Nationals and  TT: Royal Yorkshire SC
August 26--28th

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Sailing Programme 2011

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The Boat

  Catapult returned to Bridlington for the 2011 Nationals on August Bank Holiday, by the Royal Yorkshire Sailing Club with their customary warm hospitality. The Club sails from a wide flat beach, useable at all tides,

   Four fixed marks give a variety of courses, and (after inland sailing) very long boards putting a premium on boatspeed (and for visitors, on locating the distant marks.)

 As at the last visit, there were wildly varying conditions, from faint breezes restricting one race to half a lap, and the next day being blown off the water (see Report, below) Along with this went equally-wild fortunes (from first to last places, see Results below) although Gareth Ede emerged with enough clear wins to take the Championship

Below: Fleet away on a running start,  Race 1, Alastair Forrest eking out a lead (Photo RYSC Rescue Rib)


   On Saturday, and Race 1, the light NW breeze changed to easterly as the boats hit the water, so the square course started on a run. From a close start, Alastair Forrest gradually gained to windward from Stuart Ede, and moved ahead further on the reach as the packed fleet rounded. Gareth Ede and Cliff Antill pulled through the group, and had a fast next beat, Gareth going down for speed and catching Alastair (photo below.) Cliff, pointing high, closed on them, but in the next long run  swung too far to windward and fell back.

 Leading the next northward reach, Gareth and Alastair went too high searching for the distant mark, with George Evans up on Alastair. Gareth stretched away for the win as clouds built until dark rain swept across, and the wind swung north to give a new final beat. Cliff and George tightly together closed on Alastair too late, and in the first of several battles Cliff's final tack was sharper than George's for 3rd.

Below: Cliff pushes Gareth to the mark, Race 1, Alastair out of shot right. (All photos by RYSC Rescue Rib.)

   Race 2 followed back-to back, the shifting northerly breeze lightening and giving a tight reach for the start. Stuart timed it well at the windward end, and then beginning the long next beat got well away, the light air beginning to suit his flat sail, with Justin Evans also well up. In the dying and shifting breeze the fleet spread out over a mile of sea.

  With the wind dropping to whispers, the Race Officer set the finish at the end of the long leg. Stuart extended his lead up the middle but Cliff way out to the left, gambling looking for wind near the shore, came across to set a big gap for second, and Gareth came gradually back from far on the right for third, while the rest gradually crept across.

  Sunday brought a brisk off-shore wind, with more forecast. After many inconsistent shore-based readings and a long pause at the waters edge with the boats being shaken by gusts, the fleet and three local Darts set out to the windward start far out to sea. The further they went, the more obvious it became that the conditions were unsustainable, all returning without starting, a Catapult and a Dart 18 going in in the process.

 Monday had a lot riding on it and came through with the sailing goods, a moderate NW in sunshine, the sea testing but easily managed, giving great sea racing

Below: Fleet away in the sunshine, Monday.

   Race 3 set a "boomerang" course. A tight pack crossed the short line on starboard, and Gareth quick on trapeze gained obvious good speed, while Alastair and Chris Phillips leaping out on trapeze early were held back trying to get enough weight on the main.

 Gareth stretched out revelling in trapezing, while George Evans sliced well to windward to move out of the pack, and a comfortable second. Justin Evans had a good windward leg, but dropped back later changing his Hood sail adjustments, so that Cliff came through for another battle with George, this time conceding second to George.

(Below: Gareth Ede grinds down the trailing opposition, Race 3, taking the Championship win)

    Race 4, back to back, started in the same sunny moderate NW breeze, on the same bent course, with a long beat, two reaches and a long leg dead downwind.

 Stuart competed successfully for the pin end and was well away, with Gareth again straight onto trapeze (photo above) gaining a steady boost into the lead. This time, in the first long beat, Stuart struck out quickly to the right, staying out at sea looking for advantage from the tide, with a big gain.

  Repeating this next lap, the same big gain brought him close to capturing Gareth but not close enough. On the left-hand side, George and Cliff battled, Alastair struggling to stay in touch, and this time George won for third. Justin, following Stuart's lead (but too late) gained but settled for sixth as the fleet closed up.

      (Below: George takes the mark from Cliff in one of their several battles.)


   (Four races, no discards)

                                 1st     Gareth  Ede            1    3    1     1       
   5 points

                                2nd     Cliff  Antill               3    2    3     4          12

                                3rd      George Evans        4    5    2     3          14
                                4th      Stuart Ede              7    1    5     2          15

                                5th      Alastair Forrest     2    6    7     5          20

                                6th      Justin Evans           6    4    4     6          20

                                 7th     Chris Phillips           5    7    6     7          25

                                 8th      Steve Fenner         9    9    9     9          36

   On shore and on the water, the Royal Yorkshire Club officers made the Catapults welcome, juggling the racing to get as many races in as possible in the changing conditions, and bringing the Club tractors into play to get the boats up from the beach, a big boost after a long windless return home (Saturday) an alarming thrash through high winds and rising seas (Sunday) and good hard racing (Monday)

  On Saturday, they hosted a great buffet in the RYSC clubhouse overlooking Bridlington Harbour, decked with the photos and trophies of over 150 years of history, still very practical and aimed at sailing.

(Below: gathering darkness: Cliff and Justin beat towards the rain cloud, Saturday.)