Catapult TT  at Bassenthwaite
Bank Holiday April 30th-May 2nd

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 The Catapult fleet drove to Cumbria through sheets of rain and snow, with the hills on arrival snow-covered to a couple of hundred feet above the water

was predictably numbing, but sunshine broke through and by the time racing started a moderate north-westerly gave good racing. It swung markedly, with gusts and lulls, so that big place changes could be gained on the shifts, or by powering through a gust while others stayed in a dead patch. The Race Officers set characteristic Bass complex courses, with two beats each lap and a variety of runs and reaches, taxing the helms' memory and organisation (and see further below.)

 For Race 1 John Terry and Alastair Forrest strongly defended the pin end, with Stuart Ede and Gareth Ede starting further down the line moving out quickly, but the boats behind lifted to bring the fleet up. John and George Evans took an early lead on lap 1, but their downfall came at Mark 1 when they rounded to starboard instead of port. Gareth, now a fair distance behind in third pointed out their error and took the lead as they doubled back, and Chris Phillips was another big beneficiary, climbing to 2nd. John climbed his way back through the pack on the next lap to put pressure on Gareth, who managed to hold on to the finish.

Below: a typical front end battle, as Gareth Ede (eventual event winner) chases John Terry (camera)

 In Race 2 Alastair thought he had the pin end tied up, but John aggressively dived through the tiny gap (photo further below) to take the lead,and Gareth and Stuart starting further down the line moved out with him. After the top mark John was just ahead on the downwind leg but Alastair picked up a gust to race up to the front three. Then behind the whole fleet came up line abreast (photo below) the fleet tightly bunched. The predictable slow-speed pile-ups as boats slowed at the mark meant two 360', and only Gareth managed to creep away to get to the leeward mark first.

 John regained the lead on the next beat, making use of the trapeze in a prolonged gust. After much more trading of places, Gareth overtook John on the beat of the final lap and held the lead to the finish.  Behind George and Alastair battled for third, only feet apart for long stretches, until George pulled enough away to be comfortable and Alastair put his attention to not letting Stuart through.

(Below: part of the packed fleet, Race 2, Stuart coming up on the stern of John Terry, camera.)

brought the forecast cold strong SSE wind up the lake with bands of white-caps at the narrows and dark gusts fanning across the water. After several postponements, firstly the Terras at their Nationals and then the Catapults decided racing was disappointingly not to be, and the helms headed off to relax as far as possible in the misty swathes of rain.  The boats were tied down overnight and dawn brought the predicted 45 mph gusts lashing rain across the campsite, making the decision for several helms that for them the regatta was over.

 Monday confirmed the forecast gradual easing of the S.Westerly, and although gusts continued the remaining boats headed out on time into brief sunshine and fresh breeze, still with some fierce gusts, but lulls that could make the key differences.

 Alastair was first away in Race 3, with Gareth and Stuart going for speed further down the line, Gareth coming to the first of the two windward marks in the "W" course a little ahead of Alastair. He gradually extended his lead to 200 yards, electing to not trapeze. Behind George pulled steadily up, again battling Alastair a few yards apart, until pulling out a 50 yard lead to hold 2nd to the finish. Stuart pulled up downwind for a safe third, but behind Justin Evans showed increasing third lap boat speed to pull up well, and comfortably take the handicap first place.

(Below: Race 2 start; Alastair recovers from having John Terry (camera) dive between him and the Committee boat. John is bearing away to avoid crossing in the last seconds before the gun.)

Sailed: 3, Discards: 0,  Entries: 10
Rank Helm R1 R2 R3 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 1.0 1.0 1.0 3.0 3.0
2nd George Evans 7.0 3.0 2.0 12.0 12.0
3rd Stuart Ede 3.0 5.0 4.0 12.0 12.0
4th John Terry 2.0 2.0 11.0 DNC 15.0 15.0
5th Alastair Forrest 11.0 DNF 4.0 3.0 18.0 18.0
6th Justin Evans 5.0 11.0 DNC 5.0 21.0 21.0
7th Chris Phillips 4.0 7.0 11.0 DNC 22.0 22.0
8th Syd Gage 8.0 6.0 11.0 DNC 25.0 25.0
9th Nigel Harrison 6.0 11.0 DNF 11.0 DNC 28.0 28.0
10th Chris Upton 9.0 11.0 DNF 11.0 DNC 31.0 31.0

  (Below: Nigel follows Gareth at the top mark, Race 1. Photo from Syd Gage's on-board camera.)


Rank HelmName Rating R1
1st Stuart Ede 865 (6) 3 3 10
2nd Justin Evans 965 2 11 DNF 1 14
3rd Alastair Forrest 881 11 DNF 1 2 14
4th George Evans 848 8 2 4 14
5th Gareth Ede 778 5.5 5 5 15.5
6th Chris Phillips 971 1 7 11 DNC 19
7th John Terry 798 5.5 4 11 DNC 20.5
8th Syd Gage 865 7 6 11 DNC 24
9th Nigel Harrison 965 3 11 DNF 11 DNC 25
10th Chris Upton 931 10 11 DNF 11 DNC 31

 (Below: Race 2: the fleet starts to bunch downwind as the back-markers bring up the breeze.
Photo Syd Gage)


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