Catapult racing at Rutland:

The TT event in the 2012 Rutland Jubillee Regatta 3rd-4th June

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 The weather forecast for the long Jubilee weekend promised rain and winds and the forecasters got it absolutely spot on. Sunday morning we awoke to a damp and dreary day with a North-easterly wind blowing 3-4 down the lake. The water tower faded in and out of sight as the intrepid Catapult fleet signed on and prepared for the days racing. Following the recent frantic Anglian Water activity pumping in water as fast as possible the lake was almost full to the brim. Five races were scheduled, 2 before lunch and 3 after. Following discussions with the race officer it was agreed we would sail a triangular course starting with the catamaran and asymmetric fleets, the first starts.

  4 Catapults took to the water, Paul Ellis, George Evans, Calum, John Terry’s grandson and John Terry. The course for the first race had been set with the start line off Normanton church with a beat up towards the NE shore. A port rounding of the windward mark offered the usual shifty wind challenges and it was best to overstand the port layline to best round the mark tacking onto starboard close to the mark. This required some care to ensure boats approaching on starboard were not fouled. Once round the windward mark the reaching mark offered a broad reach course. In the mist and rain this was difficult to spot however a rib parked next to the mark helped identify its location.

 The downwind route towards the leeward mark offered a very broad reach until the peninsular off Hambleton point was reached. Here the wind bend turned the reach into a dead run. Was it best to go wide towards the middle of the lake early on a tighter reach and then slower on a dead run for longer or keep to the shore on a broader reach for longer but sail further? Of course the winds shifts that were present made these decisions more difficult.

The first race got underway with all boats getting a good start with John taking the lead. The rain made it impossible to read the sail tell-tails so it was seat of the pants sailing. The wind was strong enough for trapeezing so Paul and John made good ground. Calum, 13 years old weighing in at only 50kgs. was overpowered on the beats. FitOnce round the windward mark and away from the fluky winds John led with Paul, George and Calum hot on his heels.

 On the run John sailed close to the shore with the others sailing out to the middle of the lake. They all made good ground with Calum having the advantage of his lighter weight. After 3 laps the finishing positions were John, Calum, Paul and George. This was a great effort by Calum who was sailing with an old and battered Cannon sail.

   Below: John Terry successfully defends the pin end of the start, in front of Normanton Manor and Church (with Calum Terry, George's grandson, again joining the fleet at Rutland, two-up in 313, with the TI Rig.)

rutalnd 2012: mixed start


    For race 2 the reach had been made much tighter and therefore a longer run. The wind remained blowing 3-4 and the rain kept coming. Dry suits were definitely the order of the day. All the boats got away cleanly and headed off to the windward mark with John leading and the others close behind. The reach was much more challenging with some stronger gusts giving exciting sailing. On the run the fleet closed the gap.

 The decision to go to starboard or port at the leeward mark was critical and it proved best to go to the right hand side of the course. Once tacked onto starboard this gave a lift half way up the leg making it a shorter distance to the gate. John crossed the line first with George, Paul and Calum following.
After race 2 we all returned to shore for a well-earned lunch, a warm up in the clubhouse and to dry off.

: Racing at Rutland Open, sunshine and showers:

Left: George Evans looks back, chasing Paul Ellis downwind.  Right: this could be what is alarming George---the sight of John Terry coming down---but the results show that John was more likely to be out in front.

  The rain and winds continued into the afternoon and race 3 started on the same course as race 2. The winds were shifting more to the East. Paul seemed to have got the bit between his teeth and was pushing John hard all the way around the course. Downwind Paul was ‘hot’ and kept in touch with John. Upwind John was pulling away from the others. Over the line it was John being pushed hard by Paul with only seconds between them. George and Calum followed.

 Race 4 and Calum had gone off to play with his friends. Sailing against a bunch of old fogies, his words not mine, does not help his street cred. The race followed a similar pattern with the placing the same.

Race 5 and the rain kept falling. A little brighter perhaps but the wind was still blowing. We all got away cleanly and headed for the windward mark the same tactics working well. The winds around the windward mark were getting more shifty so ground was lost trying to find the wind. Once into the wind it was a good reach. John crossed the line first with George behind, Paul scoring a DNF after a capsize and the boat inverting.

 A wet but very enjoyable day.In the evening Paul, Elaine, George, Margaret, John, Sheila and Calum enjoyed a great meal at the local pub the Wheatsheaf. It’s good to have a catch up and get the latest news from around the catapult family.

(Below: George concentrates downwind.)

Monday dawned a much brighter day with the wet stuff nowhere in sight. Paul had noticed that his mast had taken on water and was not sure he could sail so he started to try and empty the water out. We thought that it must have been due to the capsize however George checked his mast which also had water in it. We concluded that it must have been the rain from the previous day running into the bottom section.

Race 6 started in much lighter winds which had swung round to a more Northerly direction. John was late for the start and was concerned that the course was not well marked on the committee boat. Paul was well ahead with George following. Calum did not join in race 6. Paul managed to find the windward mark and sailed a blistering race leading the fleet to win with George and John following.

Race 7 and Calum started the race with the rest. John led the fleet with places changing throughout the race. Calum retired and went off to play. John led Paul and George over the finish line.

 Race 8 and 9 followed a similar pattern. Paul had to leave early on the Monday and did not sail the last race but Calum decided to have a go. John had a great start and pulled away from the fleet upwind but was caught on the downwind legs. As the final leeward mark was rounded Calum and George had closed the gap. A big header took John away to the left leading him away from the finish line whilst Calum and George had kept to the right and were not affected. Calum had the speed over George and crossed first followed by John and then George. Another great days sailing ended with the final results John first, Paul second, George third and Calum fourth.


                                                                                                                                             Total             Total 

(one discard)

 1st     John Terry            1       1      1        1           1        (3)      1       1       1      2          13                   10

2nd    Paul Ellis               3       3      2         2     (5 DNF)    1       2       3       3    (3)         27                  19

3rd    George Evans     (4)     2     (3)       3          2          2        3       3       2     3           27                  20

 4th     Calum Terry        2      4       4    (5DNF)   (5)       5         5       5       5     5           45                 35  


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