Catapult Nationals at Royal Yorkshire SC
August 26th-28th

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 The Royal Yorkshire YC Dinghy section welcomed Catapult again, for the 2017 Nationals over the August Bank Holiday weekend, with 10 boats racing, and new member Marcus trying the boat out. Brid again produced real open water sailing, and good racing breeze for all three days, with a testing final race as it piped up.

 On Saturday the light-moderate westerly breeze  fluctuated and swung but was always enough for brisk sailing. With the breeze straight across the tide, tactics were about finding the best breeze (as long as allowance for the tide was made at marks!) The club set port-rounding rectangles throughout the event, good for tolerating the shifting breeze.

(Below: Saturday, beating up with Flamborough Head in the background. (Photo RYYC Safety Rib, with thanks.)

The fleet bunched at the starboard end for the Race one start, won by Alastair Forrest but John Terry was fast away to the front. Gareth Ede, able to trapeze in the light-moderate breeze, came through the fleet to follow John with Alastair third around but then caught by the bunch downwind. George Evans came through upwind on the second lap to record the first of  his consistent place third places, and Mike Gough with  good boat speed in the fast tight reach along the beach stretched out from the bunch to take fourth. Stuart Ede came up fast on the reaches to catch Alastair downwind but then crashed into his stern at the gybe; the impact must have clicked Stuart's race gear into overdrive, as after a fast 360' he stormed the remaining legs to catch Alastair for the fifth place.

(Below: coming to the start for the first race of the Championship.) (Photo: Syd Gage' on-board camera.)

By Race two following back-to-back, the up-wind course had become established, so boat speed became the priority. Alastair and Stuart picked the port-end advantage at the start, but John Terry passing behind them on starboard went out to the left, and now able to trapeze in the stronger breeze had boat-speed over Gareth to lift to the front, extending this to the finish for a second win.  Alastair and Mike Gough battled closely for the third place, only to see the the pack behind on the second beat get a huge lift over them, going straight to the upwind mark. Stuart's speed on the tight reach took the fourth place.

Sunday brought warm sunshine, and a glassy windless sea, but a postponement for an hour let the breeze arrive and swing to the south-east, and build as forecast. Race 3 started in breeze still light but giving plenty of boat speed.  Stuart picked the port-end advantage, crossing the fleet, carrying on out to the left along the shore, followed by Gareth, but both lost disastrously against the fleet who went out to sea and perhaps gained better pressure in spite of stemming the tide. John  stretched out from a good start in the pack, followed by George and Alastair. Syd Gage' reaching and downwind speed carried him past Alastair. Gareth moved steadily back up through the fleet, and a third lap saw him take third ahead of Syd.

(Below: Stuart wins the Race 3 start, crossing ahead on port) (Photo: George Evans)

  For Race 4, all of the pack at the starboard end surged around Alastair stalled motionless on the line at the gun. Gareth, able to trapeze upwind for some of the time, moved out in front, and held this round the two laps for the win. Stuart, remembering the previous race, went left from the start this time, only to lose out again, this time in the tide, and John and George made a big gain, held to the end well ahead of the pack behind. Alastair failed to allow enough for the tide and hit the gybe mark. Stuart pulled up on Syd downwind on the final lap, whose vigourous luffing defence on the run let Alastair gratefully slip through the gap, but Syd's reaching speed snatched back the fourth pace, and Mike came through for fifth.

(Below: Race 4 start, as Alastair, 524, struggles to get going after stalling on the line, and Gareth 91 and John 533 get way to the front.) (Photo: George's on-board camera.)

  By Race 5 following back-to-back, Alastair won the starboard start but Gareth pulled out in front, able to trapeze, with John following again chased by George. By now the tactics upwind tactics were clear, going right along the shore, and then out to the mark in the tideway, so boat speed was the priority, with Syd steadily holding on behind George for the fourth. In the procession, any mistakes were costly. Alastair hit a mark in the tide again, and Stuart stalled pinching up in the chop amongst the Darts, taking ages to recover and get around the top mark in the strongest tide. Mike came steadily through for the 5th place. 

  Monday's position was that John just needed to be ahead of Gareth in the final race to hold his slender lead. The bright sunshine on the beach made the fresh breeze seem benign, but on the water, after the wait for the course to be organised, it was clear that it was building steadily, with a steep chop. As the wind built, Gareth concluded that he might not survive any dive into a wave and returned to shore.

 Alastair picked the port end start advantage followed by Stuart, crossing the starboard pack comfortably, and going to the right hand side where they wanted to be. Stuart's good boat speed in the fresh breeze took him to a steady lead.

Behind, John and Syd went out left from the start with a big loss, perhaps because of the lumpier sea and adverse tide. John, with Gareth on the beach, could comfortably decide he had the Nationals win in hand, headed ashore, and Syd followed, thinking the sailing was not enjoyable in any usual sense.

The remaining four plugged away, finding tactically that sitting further back up-wind seemed to let the boats bounce more comfortably over the steep chop. Mike came steadily up to pass Alastair who caught him again downwind but then could not hold this upwind, both keeping ahead of George pursuing.

(Right: National winner John Terry leaps the chop at the start of Monday's Race 6)

  The race ended dramatically in the strengthening wind, as Stuart at the front was hit by a big gust approaching the final gybe mark, and concluding that he would nosedive, elected to tack around. The same gust brought Mike and Alastair fast down to gybe in the gap Stuart left as he negotiated the tack. Mike's slamming gybe broke his shroud, but with it to lee, he could complete the final fast reach to the line for the win with the lee shroud flying free (continuing straight on to the beach before the rig collapsed) for the win.

  From the front-end battle, John Terry took the 2017 National Championship from Gareth Ede by two points. George Evans had a clear grip on the third place throughout, and further back,5 points covered the next four places.

John's National win, following his event win at Stone, lifted him into a clear second place on the TT Leaderboard, five points behind Gareth, with George firmly gripping third.

Even with John adjusting his handicap, Mike scored his third successive event win on handicap, moving to a clear lead on the Handicap Leaderboard

                                                        NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2017 RESULTS

Rank HelmName R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st John Terry 1 1 1 2 2 (6 DNF) 13 7
2nd Gareth Ede 2 2 3 1 1 (11 DNC) 20 9
3rd George Evans 3 3 2 3 3 (4) 18 14
4th Mike Gough 4 (7) 7 4 5 1 28 21
5th Alastair Forrest (6) 5 5 6 6 2 30 24
6th Stuart Ede 5 4 6 (7) 7 3 32 25
7th Syd Gage (7) 6 4 5 4 (6 DNC) 37 26
8th Chris Upton 8 (11 DNC) 8 8 8 (11 DNC) 56 45
9th Damien Cooney 9 8 9 10 DNF 9 (11 DNC) 56 45
10th Brian Cooney 11 DNF 11 DNC 10 (11 DNC) 11 DNC 11 DNC 65 54

(Below: on the beach, Sunday, waiting for the breeze to fill in.)


Rank HelmName R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Mike Gough 2 3 4 1 (6) 1 17 11
2nd John Terry 1 1 1 4 5 (5 DNF) 18 12
3rd Syd Gage 6 2 3 2 1 (11 DNC) 25 14
4th George Evans (4) 4 2 3 2 4 19 15
5th Stuart Ede 5 5 5 6 (8) 2 31 23
6th Gareth Ede 3 7 7 5 4 (11 DNC) 37 26
7th Alastair Forrest (7) 6 6 7 7 3 36 29
8th Chris Upton   (11 DNC) 8 10 DNF (10) 11 DNC 51 40
9th Damien Cooney 9 8 9 10 DNF 9 (11 DNC) 56 45
10 Brian Cooney 11 DNF 11 DNC 10 (11 DNC) 11 DNC 11 DNC 65 54

(Below: George, 510,  hunts down Alastair, Saturday ) (Photo RYYC Safety Rib, with thanks.)


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