Catapult Northerns at Yorkshire Dales SC
September 30th-October 1st

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Catapult was back at Yorkshire Dales SC high up on the Grimwith Reservoir, 7th-8th October for the Northern Championships, sharing the weekend with the D Zeros and Contenders.

On Saturday a hard westerly had dark water and whitecaps down the lake, and the Catapults elected not to launch, watching sympathetically from the  panoramic windows of the clubhouse as the two other fleets tackled a "P" course, including three gybes, which took out almost every helm until the race was abandoned.

Sunday brought a different world, with a light WSW breeze down the lake, enough to keep boat speed but with patches and shifts. Tactics up wind were never clear, with the hills close to the upwind marks, and the chance of holes, and big differences between the boats. The Club set four races in the day, starting with a trapezoid course with a long beat and flat run.

For the Race 1 start, John Terry started living dangerously (as he did the throughout the day) coming down fast from upwind to dive through the shrinking gap below the committee boat and go in front of the fleet to start fast further down with Gareth Ede. Alastair Forrest (failing in the first of several attempts to choke John off onto the committee boat at the pin end) worked out to windward and these three turned tightly at the top mark. John and Gareth extended steadily for their own battle over two laps, with John holding on for the win.

 (Below: John Terry gets round the gybe mark, with Gareth leading the chasing pack.)
(Photo Paul Hargreaves Photography, with thanks)

George Evans moved from the pack to take the fourth place, and in a day of close racing, Stuart Ede luffed Mike Gough hard in the final reach to squeeze him out from the fifth place.

Race 2 on the same course followed back-to-back. Alastair defended the starboard pin end, but Stuart Ede was fast away from the start to lead, and Alastair caught John when the boats turned for the port stretch across the lake, with John just scraping across and doing a sporting 360', putting back to fourth at the top mark. Gareth came gradually from being behind at the start. By this time, the breeze was fluctuating and shifting near the dam and hills, with big gains and losses upwind, and anxious moments on the long run.  Gareth passed Alastair down-wind and then caught Stuart upwind to go ahead for the win over John. Syd Gage came up with good boat speed up and downwind, and lifts on the second beat to threaten Alastair who held  on for the fourth.
(Below: careful light-wind beating in the sunshine, lap 1 of Race 2, with Gareth (centre) on his long pursuit for second.) (Photo Syd Gage' on-board camera)

After lunch the Race Officer shifted the course into an inverted P, turning the long run to a welcome second tight reach and a short flat run to the downwind mark.

At the Race 3 start, John again just avoided the crime of barging at speed, scraping past the boats at the pin end to start low down with Gareth, with Stuart pursuing. Behind, Mike and Syd picked up a good lift to work to windward, with the fleet bunching up.

Getting to the top mark remained unpredictable and a split to the left or right was a gamble; keeping boat speed through the lulls could make big gains. Mike had the frustration after his upwind work of his long tiller extension rubbing across the gybe mark, letting Alastair through for fourth, but Stuart kept ahead of the pack to hold third round the two laps.

(Right: John, 533, starts fast R3, with Gareth out of shot left. (Photo Syd Gage)

 For Race 4 starting back to back, the breeze shifted to W, and a new top mark was closer to the hills. Gareth and John again started close going fast, until John finding himself in  Gareth's wind shadow, so took a risk splitting to the right from the fleet, hoping to get a lift and of course clear air, but two extra tacks meant he could not get past . John took the lead on the first, only to be re-taken on the next Gareth held on for the win.  Syd and Mike following across at the pin end again climbed to windward well. John came back through the fleet to catch Gareth, but could not hold him off over the two laps for Gareth's  second win. Syd hunted down Alastair and closed on the front two (photo below)

(Above: Syd (camera) is on  Alastair's case, and closing on Gareth (91) with John ahead, Race 4)

Behind, the whole fleet stayed close. Mike George and Alastair rounded the downwind mark line abreast, Alastair on the outside nudging George’ stern for a 360’.  Alastair caught George back at the top end, and got the inside berth in the final short run on Mike, who tacked better for the line to cross a bow-board ahead.

Stuart, having defended third from Syd around the second lap, tipped the penultimate mark with his tiller extension to give away the third place he had worked hard for.

(Right: Mike Gough (540) and John have a chat upwind, R4) (Photo Syd Gage)

Gareth Ede and John Terry got consistently to the front, and tied with two firsts and two seconds each, Gareth snatching the Northerns on countback. Stuart Ede took third on countback from Alastair, and one point covered the next three places, with Mike taking the fifth place on countback.

Alastair Forrest

(Below: top end battle, as John (533) flips onto starboard to push Gareth with right of way.)


Rank HelmName R1
R4 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 2 1 (2) 1 6 4
2nd John Terry 1 2 1 (2) 6 4
3rd Stuart Ede 5 3 3 (7) 18 11
4th Alastair Forrest 3 4 4 (5) 16 11
5th Syd Gage (8) 5 7 3 23 15
6th Mike Gough 6 (7) 5 4 22 15
7th George Evans 4 6 6 (6) 21 16
8th Chris Upton (11) 9 8 8 36 25
9th Chris Phillips 7 8 11 (11) 37 26
10th Damien Cooney (11) 10 11 11 43 36

Below: a close run thing, as Stuart, John and Alastait urge weight forward. (Photo Paul Hargreaves)



Rank HelmName R1
R4 Total Nett
1st Mike Gough 2 (3) 1 2 8 5
2nd Syd Gage 3 2 (7) 1 13 6
3rd Stuart Ede (6) 1 2 3 12 6
4th Alastair Forrest 4 4 3 (6) 17 11
5th George Evans (7) 5 4 5 29 16
6th Chris Upton (11) 6 6 4 27 16
7th Chris Phillips 1 5 11 11 28 16
8th John Terry 5 (7) 5 7 24 17
9th Gareth Ede 8 8 8 (8) 32 24
10th Damien Cooney (11) 10 11 11 43 36

Above: Alastair thinks about how to stop Syd passing, left , and then gives up, R4. (Photo Syd Gage)

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