Catapult TT at Carsington
May 20th-21st

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Catapult's third event in the 2017 Travelling Trophy programme had eleven boats back at the beautiful Peak District venue of Carsington in May 20th-21st, joined by new member Kevin Wright trying out his boat in ideal conditions on Sunday.

 Saturday's bursts of rain varied the SW to W breeze from light to strong. The Club set figure-of-eight courses to give the Catapults plenty of variety and some fast reaches, foiled at times as the swinging breeze turned reaches into beats and vice-versa.

For Race 1 in a moderate fluctuating SW-to-W breeze under cloud, the heavily port-biased start was won by Alastair Forrest, with Gareth Ede coming through upwind to take the lead. Alastair defended around the first long lap until George Evans and then Syd Gage came through upwind on the second, and Stuart Ede closed up for the fourth place.

 (Below: Event winner Gareth Ede (91, right) has enough Race 1 breeze to trapeze to the lead.) (Photo CSC Safety Rib, with thanks.)

 By Race 2 following back-to-back on the same course, the wind was building under dark cloud (Photo right).The local cruiser fleet joined the racing, with some tricky  decisions downwind and mark-rounding in the lee of  their bigger rigs (and their calm determination.)

With the same heavy port start-line bias, Stuart and Alastair led off at the port end, but Chris Phillips and Gareth came through fast behind and sailed over them.
Stuart defended second to the end.

 By lap 2 the dark clouds brought heavy rain, and wind with a vengeance, and Mike Gough enjoying the greater breeze lifted to  fourth, not able to catch Chris. Gareth's good early lead gave him a useful cushion as the gusts shook the fleet, and he held on for a second win.

 (Photo right: Syd (camera) chases Chris and Alastair down the fast reach, Race 2)

For Race 3, the breeze was back to moderate and gusting less, but still swinging. A re-set start line gave a starboard pin-end pack, and Gareth and Chris moved away fast, enjoyed by Chris until his deflating hull forced retirement. The swinging breeze promised gains tacking on the changes, but going up to the dam and sliding along it on starboard to the mark stayed the best tactic.

 The pack behind changed places upwind and down; George and Syd chased Gareth, and Stuart came up fast downwind to catch Syd and threaten but not take George's second place. Syd recaptured third for a second time.

 Sunday promised less rain and some sunshine, with a moderate, fairly-steady WSW breeze, still swinging. The Catapults joined the club racing, with new tactical decisions rounding the marks, again in interesting figure-8 courses giving a mix of upwind, runs (below) and reaches.

(Above: Sunday: George gybes ahead of Alastair and the chasing pack--but Gareth is ahead.)
(Photo Rosie Fisher, Carsington SC, with thanks.)

Race 4 started with a starborad pin-end pack and collisions, with Gareth again getting away well going for boat-speed safely further down the line, to once again lead.

 With places changing in the lulls and puffs on the reaches and runs, George pulled away for a for another second place with Alastair catching Syd and then fighting him and Chris behind to hold third.

(Left: George goes past Syd (camera) in Race 4)

The long run was far from dull, as the shifting breeze could give a burst of laminar flow and a dramatic push past a rival, while at other times, a shift back to a dead run meant painstaking  blanketting or avoidance.

For Race 5 following back-to-back, the fleet competed for the same starboard-favoured end. Alastair won the pin end but Chris and Syd following just behind sailed fast and high over the fleet, with Chris around the top mark just behind Gareth. The breeze was now up and down, with flat patches teaching patience, and then fast progress.

 George and Syd came up through the fleet to catch Chris, and Alastair plugging away close behind could eventually catch Syd (with both letting George go as they pushed each other far out to windward on the run) and  George added to his stream of second places, firmly  confirming second for the event.

(Right: Syd's on-board camera selfie captures the fleet creeping up behind: George, Alastair,and Stuart.)

 For the final Race 6 the Catapults stayed out alone for a third back-to-back start, and again the starboard pin end was tightly contested, with barging collisions. Alastair defended to get away in second, with Gareth moving gradually away for a final first place

 (Below: Syd  watches the top mark action, R6, as Mike, 540, comes smoothly in, and George has to duck below Stuart on starboard.)

Alastair doggedly defended, with George and Syd always threatening behind, until Alastair misjudged the final leg to the committee boat, tacking early and letting George pick up good breeze to snatch the second place.

Behind, Stuart came up fast downwind to snatch the fourth place from Syd, and Justin and Mike scored a dead heat in sixth.

(Below left: Syd (camera) chases George and Mike, R5)

(Below right: Damien (244) and Nigel match race, Sunday.)
( Photo Rosie Fisher, Carsington SC, with thanks.)


Rank HelmName R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 5
2nd George Evans 2 (6) 2 2 2 2 16 10
3rd Alastair Forrest 5 5 (5) 3 3 3 24 19
4th Syd Gage 3 (7) 3 4 4 5 26 19
5th Stuart Ede 4 2 4 (8) 6 4 28 20
6th Chris Phillips 6 3 (RTD) 5 5 6= 36 25
7th Mike Gough 8 4 6 6 (9) 9 42 33
8th Nigel Harrison 9 (RTD) 7 7 7 8 48 38
9th Justin Evans 7 RTD (DNC) 9 8 6= 52 41
10th Damien Cooney DNF RTD (DNC) 10 10 10 63 52

Gareth won the event in emphatic style (able to discard a first place!) and George similarly could count five seconds to be the undisputed runner-up. Behind, two points covered the next three places, with
Alastair and Syd tied, Alastair taking the third on count-back, and Stuart only one point further back.

Gareth is comfortably on top of the 2017 TT Leaderboard John Terry holds on to second although missing this event, and George lifts into third above Alastair.

(Photo below: event winner Gareth leads Syd on Sunday. Apart from Gareth's focus, it shows when sailing the Hyde sail, you accept big creases, with the light downhaul.)
(Photo Rosie Fisher, CSC.)


Rank HelmName R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Chris Phillips 1 1 (DNC) 2 1 4 20 9
2nd Nigel Harrison 2 11 4 2 2 2 16 11
3rd Mike Gough (5) 2 1 4 4 3 19 14
4th Syd Gage 2 (7) 3 7 2 6 26 19
5th Gareth Ede 7 4 4 5 6 (9) 35 26
6th Stuart Ede 6 3 6 (10) 10 5 40 30
7th George Evans 8 6 5 6 (9) 7 41 32
8th Justin Evans 3 (RTD) 11 8 5 2 46 35
9th Alastair Forrest (9) 5 7 9 8 8 46 37
10th Damien Cooney DNF RTD (DNC) 3 7 10 65 54

Another win for Chris on handicap keeps him on top of the 2017 Handicap Leader Board with ten points, and Nigel is just 7 points behind after his win at Bass. Then 9 points cover the next five places, showing that John's handicapping is bringing the fleet together.

(Below: Syd (camera) chases George and Justin onto the reach to the downwind mark, R6)

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