Catapult Northerns 2013: Yorkshire Dales SC: 17-18th August

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  Yorkshire Dales SC very kindly provided the venue for the 2013 Catapult Northern Championship over the weekend of 17-18 August, a new venue for Catapult, the  home club for Stuart and Gareth Ede. The Contender and Finn Northern Championships shared the event, a great atmosphere and hospitality, and sixty years of single-hander history.

 

The weekend promised rain and wind, then sun and lighter breeze, and on Saturday  the rain and wind from the south swept straight across the reservoir, not down it. To give enough upwind work, each lap zig-zagged across the lake three times between a total of seven fixed marks, so mistakes following the course were waiting to happen in the visiting fleet.

  In Race 1 Gareth Ede went off on port from the start to gain clear air to be just ahead of John Terry at the windward mark. He maintained a narrow lead until the last lap when he had to avoid a right-of-way boat from another fleet, which allowed Terry to slip past and take the gun. Meanwhile Syd Gage and Stuart Ede played a blinder from the back of the fleet by-passing the chasing pack which was embroiled in a close quarters battle (that included a collision) - to take third and fourth, respectively.

  The wind piped up further for Race 2 with some vicious gusts, and the lighter weight Gareth Ede decided to sit it out, and the pre-start manoevring in the tight space between shore and start brought the first of two pitch-poles.. This time port end starters held their gains, but Nigel came through the pack to lead at the upwind mark  The fleet stayed close together for the first lap, but by Lap 2 Stuart was pulling away upwind, with John Terry and Nigel chasing, closing the gap downwind, only for Stuart to ease away upwind again. On the last downwind leg to the finish they pushed hard, reducing Stuarts winning margin over Terry to just 20 metres with Nigel third.

 

By Race 3, the promised reduction in wind came at the price of heavy rain and continuing gusts.  Stuart was first to the windward mark just ahead of the chasing pack. John T emerged to challenge Stuart and overtook him on the long broad reach.

 On Lap 2 Gareth, back on the water, fought through the fleet to pass first George and then Stuart to take the fight to John, but John managed to hold him off to take his second win. Meanwhile George caught Stuart on the penultimate beat and held on to take third, and behind Justin and Nigel's race-long tussle saw Justin just in by metres only.

Sunday was again windy, with a higher speed base level wind but fortunately less vicious gusts (apart from some early squalls) and swung round to the usual WSW, down the lake allowing a long beat and a simple  "round all the cans" course (to avoid the hair-raising course mistakes of Saturday, with boats in the pack going the wrong way round windward marks!)

Right: Event winner John Terry on the chase upwind to the dam, Saturday (Photo Dave Baxter with thanks)

For
Race 4, on a port biased line, John T climbed away again trapezing fast, but Gareth as one of only two starboard tack starters  overcame his initial disadvantage by persevering up the left side of the beat to end up ahead of John T These two stretched out a long lead over the chasing pack, led by Stuart and George, who battled it out all round the course with George finally pulling ahead when Stuart tacked too early for the last windward mark.

At this point the wind suddenly strengthened. Out at the front Gareth held on in the worsening conditions to take the gun while John pitchpoled. He managed to right it quickly and still take second place before George and Stuart could get past. George tried to take advantage of a wind shift to make the line without tacking, but pinching slowed him considerably, and Stuart was right on his stern quarter with just metres to the line---and then going for a hurried tack, fluffed it in the strong wind and choppy waters, and George was able to hang onto third place.



The next race was abandoned because of the wind strength, and the fleet came in for lunch and to think deeply, watching the gusts hit the water (picture above). Although conditions weren't much better after lunch, it was decided to run Race 5. However, a much depleted fleet came to the line, as half opted to stay ashore. George  got off to a cracking start followed closely by Alastair. In the survival sailing conditions they pulled out a long lead over the rest of the fleet who had gone up the right side of the lake.

 Alastair trapezed with a good speed boost, but again George not trapezing pushed up to windward and held a narrow lead for much of the race until he hit a downwind mark and had to take a penalty turn. Alastair overtook and held on literally to win. All the way on the short broad reach, the bowboards and much of the hulls were deep enough underwater for the peaty water to be brown coming over the boats, but  they held off the impending pitchpole. Meanwhile Chris took third place and Justin fourth.

John Terry was the clear winner of the Bill Graham Northern Trophy (photo below) while among the other prize winners Stuart  just pipped George for second place on a tie-break, and  son Gareth came a creditable fourth despite having to count a DNC in his scoreline.

All the competitors came away happy having enjoyed some very exciting racing under testing conditions in a well run event - thanks to Phil Whitehead, YDSC Commodore and Race Officer, and his team. Plans are already being laid to revisit Yorkshire Dales SC next year.


(Writeup: Stuart, Gareth and Alastair)

 
                                 RESULTS

   

PLACE

 

 

    NETT (one discard)

   

1

John

Terry

6

    2 Stuart Ede 13
   

3

George

Evans

13

   

4

Gareth

Ede

15

   

5

Alastair

Forrest

19

   

6=

Chris Phillips

21

    6= Justin Evans 21
   

10

Syd

Gage

27

   

6

Nigel Harrison 28

 

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