Catapult Northern Championship and TT at Carsington Cat Open
September 20th - 21st  2014



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     Catapult as a recognised leading racing catamaran class dominated the Carsington Cat Open, September 21st - 22nd with the biggest fleet; perhaps more accurately a reasonable Catapult turnout of six (depleted by late injuries and a withdrawal) found that the other fleets were greatly diminished in comparison with previous years. (Other cats, and the Sprint 15s may have stayed in their local clubs to participate in the mass Bart's Bash races, and the Catapults  finished the weekend taking part in the Carsington Bash event.)

Differing conditions over the two days brought out great racing, with three helms scoring at least one first place.


 On Saturday, a light NE breeze fluctuated in strength and direction, always enough for continuous racing. and for planning tactics.  The club set an inverted "P" course, with a short top reach and two longer downwind legs, for three back-to-back races. Tactics in the shifting breeze seemed to be about keeping boat speed through the lulls and holes, as the direction swung too quickly for most tacking on the shifts.

                                                          

In Race 1 Paul squeezed Alastair out of the starboard pin end, and these two held on a long starboard first tack, running down to the shore. This revealed itself as the right tactic, picking up good breeze along the shore while boats further in the lake hit flat patches or tried tacking on the windshifts to no advantage. Paul held a short but unthreatened lead round the second lap, these two keeping a comfortable gap to the pack, with John Terry pulling up for third.

(Below: event winner John Terry leads Syd Gage (506) and Paul Ellis upwind, Day 2)

 (Photos by CSC Safety Rib Bravo, with much thanks)

cars.2014.jt.syd.paul

 

 For the Race two start, the whole fleet each separately decided to hang back from the line and come in at speed (rather than approaching it slowly in the shifting breeze.) Unfortunately  the breeze then fell, and all were embarrasingly well away from the line as the gun went. John Terry, returning from sniffing out the port end start possibility, had the least worst start. Alastair chased after John, and behind others hit flat patches, so they stretched their lead, and in the second of the two laps they had enough in hand to get to the line when the pack came up on freshening breeze, with Syd emerging to take third.

 

By the start of Race three the wind had swung for  further north, to give a marked port-end advantage. Alastair came down to start on his own, just succeeding crossed safely ahead of John leading the starborad starters. The fleet split to each side of the lake, and coming together Paul going out to the right had caught John and Alastair.

 On the second beat Alastair had fallen back, but then had good breeze down the middle to retake the lead, just ahead of Paul, defending down  the dog leg and reach to the Committee boat,  both thinking the second lap must be the finish--- but with the afternoon still with time in hand, a third lap was run for this race, and Paul and John Terry swiftly hauled up, Paul building a useful lead to the finish
.

Sunday
promised to be a much better sailing day, with bright sunshine and a ENE breeze, a good 8-10 mph with some sustained pressure of 14 mph, and fresh enough to just allow trapezing and fast boat speed. It dropped slightly during the morning, and was still swinging frequently so that tacking on the shifts remained a lottery.

(Right: George Evans slides downwind, Sunday)
cars.2014.george.run

 The club set a port-rounding trapezoid for the three morning back-to-back races, with a long beat and run, and some good reaching across the lake on two short quick reaches (the second reach not so  close but still some exciting speed.) The downwind leg presented the usual challenges for the leaders; find the best wind and gybe on the shifts and keep an eye out for the those behind who were catching the downwind gusts and catching the leaders. The reaching.


Deciding the start was a balance: a port start would take you into the right shore which would need an additional two tacks to make the windward mark, while the starboard option would take you out to the west, with the problem with there of the shifting winds ( and if you caught a header at the right point, you were on a winner.) Tacking up the middle of the course was an option, if the shifts could be got right.

In the Race Four start, Alastair correctly picked the port end advantage, with a good gain over the starboard-starting fleet but could not hold it, as some good pressure lasted long enough to allow trapezing in the marginal conditions, and John Terry managed to pull out a small lead on the first leg.  Paul and Syd, came up, and George gained by going by a long board to the right so a tight pack turned the top mark,
 John followed by Syd then George, Paul, Alastair and Damien.

(Below: the fleet gets away, Race 4--but Alastair will cross ahead from port.)
(Photos CSC Safety Rib Bravo)

 

cars.2014.start



More trapezing allowed John to pull away from the pack upwind initially heading for the east shore and then tacking out in the stronger winds in the middle of the lake. Some opted to stay inshore and this paid dividends as the wind lifted them despite less pressure. On the downwind leg George overhauled Syd, with the order then remaining the same for the rest of the race. George was now hot on the heels of John on the final run, with a drama as both looked for the final X flag before heading upwind to the finish line. John had to turn  back to the mark, but George also had to do a small detour, and  John held a 12 second lead, with Syd, Paul, Alastair and Damien following.

 Race 5 saw the wind swinging first west then east throughout the race. For the start, Alastair again went to the port end and John Terry raced down to join him before the gun,  these two crossing well ahead of the starboard fleet, John then getting good boat-speed to move away, but t
he port tack starters were not gaining much due to the wind shifts, although John managed to pull out a good lead on the first two upwind legs. The order settled down after the first lap, with John leading the fleet through the final second lap, followed by George, Paul, Alastair, Syd and  Damien.

(Below: Top mark speed as George Evans, right, comes up to chase Syd Gage, 506)     (Photos CSC Safety Rib Bravo)

 

cars.upwind.

As the morning progressed, the wind had dropped off and the gusts were less frequent. For Race six the race officer had the windward mark moved half way across the lake the west and the start line was now heavily port biased, with more drama. Alastair and Paul saw the port advantage, but as they eased on port up tight to the mark to start, John tore down on starboard to catch them. He jammed them on the mark, but due to a shift in the wind could not cross the line himself, and he had to circle behind them. While the three disentangled, and Paul and Alastair did their 360s, George Evans nipped behind the tangle to get away to a good lead followed by Syd.  

The wind was becoming fickle and gains were to be made  picking the correct side of the lake. Paul was sailing to win and had the bit between his teeth and overtook John, but the final lap saw George take a commanding win with a 60 second lead over Paul.

 John Terry (8 points) headed Paul Ellis (11) and George Evans (14.)  John held the Northern Trophy, and was lifted to the top of the
TT Leaderboard.
 

Writeup: Alastair Forrest and John Terry 
                                                       

(Below: Alastair clings to his moment of glory leading upwind Race 4---but the pack will catch him, led by John Terry, left.)                                                                                                                    (Photos CSC Safety Rib Bravo)

cars 2014 beat

 

RESULTS

 

 

       Helm                               Race 1         2         3        4        5        6          Nett        Total  


John Terry                               3         1         2        1        1       (3)         11            8
 
Paul Ellis                                  1         4         1       (4)      3        2           15          
11

George Evans                         4         5        (5)      2        2        1           19          
14

Alastair Forrest                      2         2         3         5        4       (5)         21         
16

Syd Gage                                  5        3         4         3      (5)      4           24           
19
 
Damien Cooney                      6        6          6        6        6        6           36           
30

(Below : Paul Ellis feels the gaze of Alastair using willpower to catch him downwind, ineffectually.)

cars.2014.al.paul

 

 

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