Catapult TT at Carsington
June 8th-9th

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  A fleet of eight boats returned to Carsington  for the third TT of the season, 8th-9th June, getting in the full 5-race programme in spite of breeze varying light to nothing, and swinging NE to E and back again.

 Carsington SC again gave their usual welcome to Catapult, agreeing triangular courses (shared with cruisers on Saturday and the Club boats on Sunday) and arranging the races flexibly (which grabbed the best breeze on Sunday to give two good races.)   The big lake gave plenty of space for the combined fleets

morning brought cloud breking into sunshine, and a very light NNE breeze, enough to keep the boats moving, but swinging 20-30' and fluctuating.

(Right: Coming through the gate in a dead patch, Syd (obscured) and Nigel carefully avoiding a cruiser, Saturday.) (Photo CSC Rib, with thanks.)
In Race 1 Alastair Stuart Ede led Alastair Forrest from the port end but Nigel Harrison coming down at them on starboard had good boat speed  to gain out to the left. For the first lap Alastair stayed on Stuart's stern, with the fleet close, until Stuart gained enough boat speed upwind for a useful lead held to the finish.

 In the shifting and puffing breeze, Mike Gough came up downwind, and held third as the fleet to spread out widely, with Syd Gage fourth.

(Left: the fleet inching downwind in a dead patch, Race 1, Mike closest and Alastair chasing Stuart in the distance. Photo from Syd Gage' on-board camera.)

 Race 2 follow back-to-back with sunshine and a better breeze, ENE but still swinging and fluctuating.  Stuart and Alastair again picked up the port bias to lead the start, but Mike coming through on starboard went left, to get good breeze and a big lead. Damien Cooney following out left also with Chris Upton also gained, with Damien second at the first mark. The third leg of the triangle, reaching back to the committee boat and gate, summed up the frustrations and opportunities, when the breeze swung left, and Mike was left downwind from the gate, going from first to almost last in minutes, while Alastair reached from behind past the fleet to just lead from Stuart at the gate. (Photo below: CSC Rib, with thanks.)

Stuart climbed to windward to regain the lead. and extended this to the finish and a second win on the day. Again Chris and Damien gained upwind behind Stuart.  On the final reach Alastair was just able to ride over Syd Gage and Damien, and push Chris, but with Stuart shouting strong encouragement from the finish line, Chris was avoided being overlapped and turned for his second place, Damien coming in fourth.

(Photo left: Chris comes through the gate just ahead for the second place.)

Sunday morning
came with cloud, poor visibility and a flat lake making the prospects gloomy. A light NE breeze took the fleet out to the start and let them get away tightly on starboard.  Stuart, well down the line, again got boat speed in the decreasing breeze to ease away, and Mike on the right climbed to windward for an apparent good lead.
   Then the wind died away, swinging round the compass but shifting left overall, leaving Mike out right marooned again. The fleet bunched up, but Stuart still found some speed in the tiny puffs to have a useful lead to windward. Seeing the fleet at times motionless, the Race Officer decided the first beat alone would be the whole race.This brought the finish scarcely closer for Stuart, who watched as the rest picked up bits and pieces of breeze while he was motionless yards from the new finish line. Finally some wafts got him there, ahead of Nigel and Alastair. Ironically, as the front runners crept over, puffs arrived to zip the remainder of the fleet across the line.

 (Below: Stuart sits motionless before the finish, Nigel and Alastair creeping nearer.) (Photo Syd Gage)

was an easy decision all round to abandon morning racing for an early lunch.  The Race Officer noted the forecast of some early afternoon breeze, and the good decision was made to head out again, with the wind picking up to be still light but very usable from the ENE under bright sunshine.

  Stuart led Alastair away from the favoured port end of the line, but with Nigel close coming down fast on starboard. Stuart held his lead into the second lap but Alastair closed up enough downwind to catch him on a starboard/port avoidance, and his 360' pushed him back still close behind Alastair and Syd.

Upwind for the last time Stuart went right looking for breeze, only to suffer a big left-hand shift, gifting Alastair, and Syd close behind, the win and second.

 Right: start of Race 4: new member Marcus Reuber with the T1 rig gets going, with Alastair chasing Stuart behind. Photo Syd Gage.)
The fleet made the sensible decision to grab the good conditions and hold Race 5 immediately back to back,  in the same light shifting breeze.

  Alastair controlled the favored port end but Stewart was faster away for a useful early lead. Alastair pulled up downwind., and after they rounded the bottom mark they touched, agreeing to both do 360's (sportingly by Stuart, as it was probably still part of rounding.) (
Photo left) Stuart spun his 360' fast enough to keep the lead, and Alastair was overtaken by Syd and Nigel, but was able to pull it back in the reach to the gate.

(Left: Syd (camera) is left wondering as Alastair and Stuart both rotate in front of him.)
Stuart opened a big lead, upwind and over the next lap, but Alastair and Syd pulled him back down-wind and reaching (helped by Stuart tangling with a club RS400 at the downwind mark.)

With Stuart well ahead, he hit a dead patch in the final reach, and Alastair brought up the breeze, with Syd following. In the final two short tacks to the committee boat Alastair snatched the first place by half a length, after Stuart had led the race for 99% of the three laps.

 (Right: Alastair tucks around the Committee boat to snatch the first from Stuart. Photo Syd Gage.)


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 Total Nett
1st Stuart Ede 1 1 1 (3) 2 8 5
2nd Alastair Forrest 2 3 (3) 1 1 10 7
3rd Syd Gage 4 (5) 4 2 3 18 13
4th Nigel Harrison 5 (7) 2 4 4 22 15
5th  Chris Upton 6 2 (7) 5 5 25 18
6th Mike Gough 3 6 6 DNC 9 (DNC) 33 24
7th Marcus Reuber (8) 8 5 6 6 33 25
8th Damien Cooney 7 4 8 DNC 9 (DNC) 37 28


Rank Helm H'cap R1
R4 R5 Total Nett
1st Stuart Ede 880 1 (3) 2 3 2 11 8
2nd Syd Gage
925 (7) 4 3 1 1 16 9
3rd  Alastair Forrest 925 2 5 (6) 2 3 18 12
4th Chris Upton 1000 4 1 (7) 4 5 21 14
5th Nigel Harrison 950 5 (8) 1 5 4 23 15
6th Damien Cooney 1020 6 2 5 (9) 9 31 22
7th Markus Reuber       1000 (8) 7 4 6 6 31 23
8th Mike Gough  870 3 6 8 (9) 9 35 26

(Below: Mike creeps to the gate ahead of Chris, Saturday. Photo CSC Rib, with thanks)

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