Catapult Nationals at Bala
July 2nd-4th

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Catapult was back a favourite venue at for the 2016 Nationals and the fun races making up the Bala Gala.The south-west breeze throughout the extended weekend gave excellent conditions for the fun races, all completed. 

(Below: We’re here for the fun: Catapult hard men John P and Paul battle a windswept lake, the day before the Bala Gala)

PAIRS RACEAs is traditional, the Bala Gala kicked off with the Pairs Race, pairing experienced helms with helms designated as improvers (or at least carrying higher personal handicaps) round a port-rounding triangle.

  The pair of Alastair and Paul fought successfully for the pin end of a tight starboard-end start,  only to see that the first mark could be laid directly from halfway down the line, and closer. Dermot Mangan began as he meant to go on for the weekend, pushing hard to the front. With a good lead, he had to look back to search for partner Stuart Ede (photo below) only to find him miles back---Stuart had competed so hard that he was over the start line, discovering this only when he passed the spit again down-wind, after completing a half-lap, turning back to repeat it alone.

  This gifted chasing pair Alastair and Paul the lead, held to the end, with Paul able to defend when Syd Gage came up fast, luffing him away on the reach as Alastair rounded onto the final beat. The final twist was the disacovery that the windward mark was drifting down-wind fast, needing a new search each time as the beat got shorter and shorter.

  Behind, the well-established pairing of Gareth Ede and Damien Cooney (in their 4th Bala Gala Pairs outing) confirmed steady improvement, and Chris Upton, shepherded by John Terry was a first swimmer for the weekend

        1st   Alastair Forrest and Paul Ellis

        2nd   Syd Gage and George Evans

       3rd    Gareth Ede and Damien Cooney

       4th    Dermot Mangan and Stuart Ede

       5th     Chris Upton and John Terry

(Below: Dermot Mangan to tries to locate partner Stuart)
(Photo: Bala CC Safety Rib, with thanks.)

TEAM PURSUIT RACE To round off the Bala Gala, the Team Pursuit Race, a new event, used John Terry's personal handicaps to set off three teams off at 4-minute intervals. The second and third groups stuck together tightly, showing the accuracy of the handicapping.  The Hot Shot team of George John T and Gareth pulled up on the team ahead (helped by riding a burst of stronger breeze on the downwind leg) just catching the next group, but team two of Stuart Dermot Paul and Syd largely  defended their places ahead.

  In the high handicap group, Alastair carrying the sympathetic handicap John T gives for age (both boat and helm) was away first, chased by Chris and then Damien,  and the front two were never threatened, to take the event.

        1st    Alastair Forrest (1st) Chris Upton (2nd) Damien Cooney (10)         13

        2nd  Paul Ellis (5) Syd Gage (7) Dermot Mangan (4) Stuart Ede (3)     14.25

        3rd   Gareth Ede (6) John Terry (8) George Evans (9)                         23

(Below: the triumphant Team Pursuit winners: Damien, Chris and Alastair, anf their glittering prizes.)

Moderate SW breeze on Monday, with the rain just holding off, allowed another successful relay event, with a down-wind start around a shortened triangle. Gareth for the Yorkshire Terriers won the first round and with good change-overs of the water-bottle batons, the second leg was tight until John Pepperell for the Southern Smoothies elected to hold on to the left of the beat, finding good breeze and a lift to make big gains for the lead. Behind, the Terriers exchanged the baton gingerly (photo below.)

 On the final lap, John Terry for the Mixed Marauders rode a reaching breeze fast after Paul, to just catch him at the gybe mark and hold on to give his team the win.

(Below: Chris Upton lines up for the baton change from Syd, camera)

         1st   The Mongrel Marauders: Stuart Ede Dermot Mangan and John Terry

         2nd   Southern Smoothies: Alastair Forrest, John Peperell, and Paul Ellis

         3rd    Yorkshire Terriers: Gareth Ede Syd Gage and Chris Upton

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