Catapult TT  at Grafham Cat Open
October 20th-21st


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Catapult's final 2016 TT event was again at Grafham joining the Cat Open fleets (and Catapult with a fleet of eight had the third biggest fleet turnout, after the Sprint 15s and A's, )

 The breeze remained NE through the weekend, light-moderate for good varied racing, swinging enough for some tactical challenges and biased start-lines. With some bursts of bright sunshine, it was a great final event.

The Club set their customary port-rounding trapezoid courses, suiting  Catapult, shared with a big Sprint 15 fleet (with a separate downwind mark to ease congestion on the short beat back up through the start-finish line each lap.)

The two reaches gave good competition, with big gains (and losses) riding gusts in the lighter top-end breeze, and by the end of racing on Sunday an exciting ride on the downwind reach as the breeze kicked up.

(Right: John Terry hauls in to chase across the reach to the downwind mark, Sunday. Photo Syd Gage.)

John Terry's event got off to a dramatic bad start when a Dart 18 on port  hit him hard (John on starboard)  breaking off the lockdown bar on his rudder, requiring a jury lockdown The impact punctured the Dart hull, and John was still picking fragments of fibreglass off his tramp the next day

At the Race 1 start, Alex Montgomery, Chris Phillips and Alastair Forrest picked the port-end bias, for a good lead over the rest of the fleet to the windward mark. Alex stretched gradually away, and Alastair was chased and caught over the three laps by Gareth Ede to take the second. In the light wind, the Catapults overhauled the big Sprint 15 fleet starting five minutes ahead, so the downwind leg was tactically interesting, with back markers coming up, and boats gybing back and forth, as the wind veered, and to attempt to blanket rivals or escape the slower Sprints.  John Terry came through to take fourth ahead of George Evans

For Race 2, Alastair and Stuart Ede mis-read the line bias, and their port-end start was disastrously behind the starboard starters, with Gareth  and John Terry well way, for a good lead held to the finish. Alastair's bad start took him out on starboard to the right, where he picked up good pressure to gain again (photo below) until Alex caught him gradually around the final lap of three to take the trhird place. 

  (Above: Tight racing at the up wind mark race 2. Alastair has got around,  but Alex is scraping up to the mark, and finally rotated carefully around it with an inch to spare. Gareth and John are already around and away. Photo: Syd Gage' on-board camera.)

By Race 3 the wind had swung further east, removing the line bias, with a tight fleet start on starboard. The freshening breeze allowed Alex, Gareth and John to trapeze consistently upwind with advantage, and they moved out ahead. With the breeze swung right, the usual tactic each lap was for one long starboard leg and a final long port leg to the mark (risking  blanketing from the Sprints reaching down the next leg.) With the boats in an upwind procession, in the building breeze George Evans' ability to point high while keeping boat speed gave him gains on every beat, and he captured third from John, with Alex recording his second win, ahead of Gareth .

(Below: John drives below Alastair as they chase Gareth (obscured) through the start-finish line. Photo Nigel Denchfield with thanks.)

 

(Right; Stuart uses a gust in Race 2 to charge through Syd's lee to the mark on the upwind reach. Photo Syd Gage)

On Sunday, Alex Montgomery, having scored two wins on Saturday had to depart for work comitments.  The same NE breeze, due to build gradually during the day and still veering unpredictably suited the same trapezoid course.

In the light breeze for Race 4 Alastair defended the starboard pin end successfully, and chased Gareth (again starting lower down the line at speed) to the top mark, rounding close. With downwind gains, they built a good lead, with Gareth on the run consistently going well out right on starboard, avoiding the Sprints, and driving in late on port, not losing from the wider dog-leg.

John Terry came up to challenge, but finding himself in the lee of Alastair and several Sprints tacked off right, only to lose the breeze in a hole and stick at third. Syd Gage came up fast to take the fourth from George.
  As forecast, the breeze was up for Race 5 giving the light trapezing helms an upwind advantage. A tight fleet contested the starboard-end start (photo below) until Gareth chased by John stretched out. Behind, George's ability to keep upwind speed pointing higher than anyone else moved him up the fleet, staying just ahead of Stuart and Alastair downwind.

 For the Sunday racing, Chris had changed to the sail John Peperell had repaired after Chris plunged straight through it in his early capsizing days, and this gave a clear gain in both upwind and downwind speed. He harried the leading boats, passing Alastair on lap 3, and then on the final short beat to the line snatched third from George by inches.

( Below: The  race 5 start: Alastair, far right, protecting the starboard pin end, has successfully forced John to duck below him, but also is hailing a warning to a barging Hobie (out of shot in the on the right)  Meanwhile Gareth is making a characteristic start further down the line at speed.
Photo Syd Gage.


By the time of Race 6 following back-to-back, the breeze had piped up, making the bottom reaches exciting, with the unpredictable lulls near the turning mark approached, so big gains were possible if rivals hit the lulls

 
Stuart from a good start chased Gareth and John but they again moved out on trapeze in the freshening wind. George enjoying the bursts of stronger breeze came up, with Stuart and Alastair hauling some distance back downwind on lap 3, all staying close. Stuart defended fourth efficiently, and behind in the final fourth lap, Syd made big gains keeping speed on the reaches and downwind, to take Alastair on the run to pull into third. Syd survived a deep nose-dive as the wind piped up on the final short reach, only to let Alastair through as they finally tacked to the line.


  RESULTS
Rank Helm Name R1
 
R2
 
R3
 
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede (2) 1 2 1 1 1 8 6
2nd John Terry (4) 2 4 3 2 2 17 13
3rd Alastair Forrest 3 4 5 2 (5) 5 24 19
4th George Evans (5) 5 3 5 4 3 26 20
5th Alex Montgomery 1 3 1 9DNC 9DNC (9DNC) 32 23
6th Syd Gage 7 (8) 6 4 6 6 37 29
5th Stuart Ede 6 7 7 6 (7) 4 37 30
8th Chris Phillips 8 6 (8) 7 3 7 39 31

The win confirmed Gareth's a firm grip on the 2016 TT Leaderboard  and he wins the 2016 Jon Montgomery Trophy comfortably. John Terry's good results after missing events let him just overtake George Evans for the TT second place.
 

                                                
                 HANDICAP  RESULTS
 

Rank Helm Name R1
 
R2
 
R3
 
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Alastair Forrest 2 2 1 1 2 1 9 7
2nd Chris Phillips 1 1 (8) 2 1 2 15 7
3rd George Evans 3 4 2 5 3 (5) 22 17
4th Stuart Ede 4 5 4 3 (7) 3 26 19
5th Syd Gage 5 (7) 3 6 4 4 29 22
6th Gareth Ede 7 3 6 4 5 (7) 32 25
7th John Terry (8) 6 7 7 6 6 40 32
8th Alex Montgomery 6 8 5 9 9 (9) 46 37

(Below: John and Chris watch for overlaps at the gybe at the downwind mark, Race 3, Saturday. Photo Syd Gage.)


 

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