Catapult TT at Rutland
April 8th-9th

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he Catapult 2017 racing season opened in balmy sunshine at Rutland  8th-9th April, a fairly gentle introduction to the water in light SSW breezes. The Club offered six races over two days to good-sized fleet of eight boats, and the established racers welcomed new helm Mike Gough, racing John Pep's sold boat (photo below)

port-rounding courses, alternating triangles with windward/leeward laps, suited Catapult, who shared with the Squib Inland Championships (a good arrangement with enough crossing of the fleet to add some tactical interest and surprises, without any real interference.)

Saturday kept its promise of light SSW breeze through the day, fluctuating enough to give lulls and faster bursts, and shifting enough to need tacking on the shifts upwind over three back-to-back races.

(Right: new helm Mike Gough in the smart 25th Anniversary boat, with its immaculate new white bow-boards.)

The Race 1 start was heavily port-biased, but only Alastair Forrest in the port-starting pack managed to cross ahead of John Terry's disrupting starboard charge.

 Alastair and Gareth Ede (coming up through the fleet) led until Stuart Ede and Syd Gage lifted in from the right to challenge at the top mark. Stuart attempted turning under Alastair to the mark, but  gentled onto it, letting Alistair and Gareth escape out in front of the fleet to stretch away, Gareth comfortably holding Alastair 50 yards back around the second of the two laps.

 John Terry worked up through the fleet for third, with Stuart working out of the close pack for fourth, 20 seconds ahead of Syd Gage.

The Race 2 line kept the heavy port bias, and John Terry won the battle in a port end pack to stretch away in front, Gareth came gradually up through the fleet to take and hold second, and push John round the two laps, John holding on to cross just 16 seconds ahead. Behind Stuart and Alastair remained close round two laps, until Alastair went right to look for breeze, lifting into a lead, held to the end for the third.

Gareth's good Race 3 start let him stretch away from the starboard-end start, extending his lead to over 4 minutes at the finish. Stuart gained going up the middle, and Alastair out to the right caught John Terry to fight for the second place, neck and neck after two laps. This time the club elected a third lap, with John pulling away, and then a final final beat to a revised finish line at the up-wind mark, bewildering several Catapults, so that Stuart stormed in to take third by one second from Alastair as he floundered unwinding his course, rotating around the Rib.

(Below: Event winner Gareth Ede goes through the line ahead of Alastair on Sunday. Photo RSC with thanks)

Sunday had more wind forecast for three back-to-back races, but started with light south-westerlies, swinging to give lifts and losses. The start for Race 4 was again port-biased, and won by Alastair, chasing Gareth as he came through from the centre and then gradually extended away. Alastair and John  duelled for second place until John gained a small but comfortable lead round the two laps. In the battle further back, 20 seconds covered the next three finishers, with Chris Phillips taking the fourth place (and the first of his three straight wins on handicap) ahead of George Evans and Syd.

The adjusted line for Race 5 pushed the fleet to a starboard-end start, and Stuart ruthlessly came through below Alastair to push him on to the Committee boat and take the pin position. Alastair after his 360' and behind the fleet (photo below)  tacked to the right where he wanted to be, getting the last laugh with a big lift, to round just behind Gareth, these two staying ahead until Gareth clinched the win by 20 seconds. Patches of freshening breeze lifted George Evans' upwind speed and confidence, to come through for third.

(Below: Alastair, forced onto the committee boat buoy,  completes his 360' gybe as Stuart and the fleet head for the horizon. Photo George Evans' on-board camera.)

 From the Race 6 start, Chris Phillips' storming boat speed from the pin end took him over the fleet, to round first just ahead of Gareth, these two stretching out until John Terry in freshening breeze came through. John and Gareth battled out in front to a nail-biting finish, John taking the first by 4 seconds.

 Behind, Alastair and George began chasing Chris down for third, with Syd Gage coming up quickly behind. George caught Alastair up-wind, was caught again downwind and then gained a small advantage up-wind. On the final run George gained the windward overlap over Chris, nipping round the mark while Alastair and Chris crashed, with Chris using the final short beat to take the fourth place and another handicap win. Less than 3 minutes covered the whole fleet.

 (Below: Syd watches George (camera) creep up downwind, Race 5)

Gareth Ede started where he left off from last season, counting four wins to take the TT event ahead of John Terry, to keep on top of the 2017 TT Leaderboard.

John's revised personal handicapping brought the scores closer together. Alastair Forrest kept enough of his age allowance (boat and helm) to sneak the event, but Chris' set of three handicap wins on Sunday puts him at the top of the Handicap Leaderboard.


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 1 (2) 1 1 1 2 8 6
2nd John Terry 3 2 1 (5) 1 3 13 9
3rd Alastair Forrest 2 3 4 3 2 (5) 19 14
4th George Evans 6 5 (8) 6 3 3 31 23
5th Stuart Ede 4 4 3 5 (8) 8 32 24
6th Syd Gage 5 6 5 (7) 5 6 34 27
7th Chris Phillips (8) 7 6 4 6 4 35 28
8th Mike Gough 7 (8) 5 8 7 7 42 35


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Alastair Forrest 1 3 3 2 2 (5) 16 11
2nd Gareth Ede 2 2 1 4 5 (8) 22 14
3rd Chris Phillips 6 (7) 6 1 1 1 22 15
4th  Syd Gage 3 5 4 (6) 3 2 23 17
5th John Terry 5 1 5 3 (6) 4 24 18
6th Stuart Ede 4 4 2 5 (8) 6 29 21
7th George Evans 7 6 (7) 7 4 3 34 27
8th Mike Gough 8 (8) 8 8 7 7 45 35

(Below: Beating up in the Sunday sunshine. Photo RSC Safety Rib with thanks)

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