Catapult TT at Bassenthwaite
May Bank Holiday

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Catapult was back with a good fleet of 11 to a favourite venue in the Lake District, for a three-day Bank Holiday TT hosted by Bassenthwaite Sailing Club.

  On Saturday, light southerlies, fading as the day progressed, allowed three races to be squeezed in, ahead of the threatened stronger wind on Sunday.

The course for Race1 had the traditional complex BSC course, with two beats and two downwind legs per lap. After a closely bunched start Gareth Ede edged ahead with John Terry chasing. On the run, John managed to get the inside overlap on Gareth and to round the leeward mark ahead. On the next lap the tables turned and Gareth overtook John on the run to hold a small lead to the finish.

  The chasing pack had close racing (above, Stuart leading Nigel, Chris, George, and Syd) At the last mark before the short beat to the finish, Syd Gage, who had led the pack for much of the race, held the inside slot with George Evans and Stuart Ede on the outside. While George and Syd tried to make the line without tacking, Stuart sailed free to pick up speed, and was able to tack onto starboard ahead of them to snatch 3rd place ahead of George. Meanwhile newcomer Mike Gough, who was close behind these three, grabbed 5th place.

(Left: Close running, Race 1: Syd (camera for all these photos) Chris P, Stuart and George.)

Race 2
In a light breeze, John had the better boat speed and held the lead for most of the race, followed by Gareth in second. The racing was incredibly close in the remaining fleet, with countless place changes. Syd triumphed for 3rd, with Chris Phillips in 4th and George in 5th.

Race 3 A short one-lap race in a dying breeze was added  for the Catapult fleet in case the strong winds forecast for the Sunday prevented sailing.

In the hotly contested start John incurred a penalty turn, and Stuart ran out of line, ending up at the back of the fleet. However, both rescued their poor starts by tacking up the right side of the course while the rest of the fleet went left.

This paid handsomely, and John closely followed by Stuart rounded the windward mark well ahead of the rest of the fleet, a lead they held to the finish. Gareth, who had been forced leftward because he was to leeward of the fleet and couldn't tack across in front of them, eventually managed to pull away to take third place.

On Sunday the forecast strong easterlies duly arrived, and with the prospect of boat damage (and no enthusiasm from the local club boats) racing was abandoned for the day.

On Monday, a brisk and gusty southerly breeze came in pleasant sunshine for Race 4.

After another closely bunched start (right) John led up the first beat. Gareth in second tacked onto port intending to cross ahead of Chris P who was close behind in 3rd. However, he stalled slightly, forcing Chris to duck under his stern, so had to put in a 360' turn by the windward mark allowing John and Chris to stretch out their lead.

 On the ensuing legs of lap 1 Gareth clawed his way back and took the lead. Up on the trapeze on the upwind legs he was able to point higher and had better boat speed than John, and extended his lead further for the remainder of the race.

(Right: Justin follows Nigel across the start line ahead of Syd (camera) ... but John and Gareth on trapeze are stretching out ahead.)

Meanwhile a battle for third place developed between Stuart and Chris P. Stuart got ahead when Chris stalled briefly, but Chris, followed closely by Nigel Harrison, steadily eroded Stuart's lead until able to overtake on the last beat to take the hotly-contested third place.

Gareth's convincing win in the last race and his ability to drop a 3rd place from his scoreline when the discard kicked in, won him the event from John on tie-break, while his father Stuart took the third podium place.

Gareth’s win puts him just one point ahead of John on the 2017 TT Leaderboard . Despite missing this event, performance of Alastair Forrest at Rutland still keeps him in third place, while Stuart is a couple of points behind with George, Chris and Syd also in contention.

(Right: Event winner and TT leader Gareth Ede, going smoothly upwind in Race 3, Saturday, flying his event and TT pennants.)


Rank HelmName R1
R4 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 1 2 (3) 1 7 4
2nd John Terry 2 1 1 (2) 14 4
3rd Stuart Ede 3 (7) 2 4 29 22
4th George Evans 4 5 4 (6) 19 13
5th Chris Phillips 7 4 (9) 3 33 14
6th Syd Gage 6 3 5 (7) 21 14
7th Nigel Harrison (9) 8 4 6 38 28
8th Mike Gough 8 (10) 8 8 48 38
9th Justin Evans (8) 8 7 7 31 23
10th Damien Cooney 12 DNF 10 10 12 DNF 44 32
11th Chris Upton 12 DNF 12 DNC 12 DNC 12 DNC 48 36

In the personal handicap results (below) Nigel Harrison marked his comeback to Catapult racing with an impressive two firsts in Races 2 and 4 plus a fourth in Race 3 to win the event on handicap.

Despite having one of the toughest ratings John Terry remarkably took 2nd place overall recording a first in Race 1 and a second in Race 3.

  Chris Phillips, who last year won on handicap at Yorkshire Dales and came a very close second at Grafham - and whose rating had been adjusted to reflect that - still managed a very creditable third place with two seconds under his belt.

 Fourth place went to Mike Gough, in only his second event on the Catapult circuit.

(Right: Mike Gough swings around the gybe mark, Race 4 on Monday.)

                                                                     HANDICAP RESULTS

Rank HelmName R1
R4 Total Nett
1st Nigel Harrison (6) 1 4 1 12 6
2nd John Terry 1 (6) 2 4 13 7
3rd Chris Phillips 5 2 (8) 2 17 9
4th Mike Gough 2 5 5 (12) 29 12
5th Gareth Ede 3 7 (9) 3 22 13
6th Stuart Ede (8) 8 1 5 22 14
7th Justin Evans 4 4 (6) 6 20 14
8th Syd Gage (7) 3 7 7 24 17
9th Damien Cooney (12) 10 3 12 37 25
10th George Evans 9 9 (10) 8 36 26
11th Chris Upton 12 12 12 (12) 48 36

The closeness of the Handicap Series scores suggests that the ratings system is getting things right. Chris comfortably tops the Handicap Leaderboard, but then 4 points back John, Gareth and Alastair are tied. Then another 5 points behind, Syd and Stuart are neck-and-neck.

There should be some tight competition to look forward to for the rest of the season.

Gareth and Stuart

(Below: Creeping upwind on Saturday, Race 1)

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