Catapult TT at Rutland
April 8th-9th

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The Catapult season opened 7th-8th April, at Rutland  the home club of Mike Gough and John Terry, with the Club again hospitably welcoming the combination of Catapults and Squibs (with enough crossing of the contrasting fleets to add some tactical interest and surprises, without any serious interference.)

 The Catapult's port-rounding triangle courses accommodated the wish for upwind and reaching speed, with the upwind and downwind marks shared with the Squibs. Light breezes on both days still let a 5-race series complete, until it dropped away and a final race was cancelled.

On Saturday the light breeze, shifting back and forth WSW to WNW, tortured the committee boat, and the Race Officer struggled for an hour settling the course until the fleets could get away, the Squibs going off on their W/L course 5 minutes ahead of the Catapults on their port-rounding triangle.

With the light breeze still shifting and dying, speed away in clear air from the Race One start was essential. Coming to the line, Mike Gough sportingly held back from pushing Alastair Forrest onto the committee boat, and was away with Alastair for a useful lead. Gareth Ede came up through the fleet, these three staying close out in front.  On the short beat back to the gate to start lap 2, Alastair, slightly ahead, could just lay the committee boat directly, scraping off Gareth in pursuit who had to tack, to gain a lead held round the triangle to the finish, with Gareth and then Mike coming close after. Damien Cooney kept in touch with the fleet ahead, coming round steadily to gain the first place on handicap.

Race Two had a slightly more breeze to keep the boats moving, still veering wildly In the approach to the line, Alastair pushed Mike high and early above the committee boat, forcing him to stretch off down the line. Gareth came up with his good boat speed and light weight to take the lead from Alastair, then stretching away around the second lap uncontested for the win. A mark collision at the top mark pushed Alastair back behind Stuart Ede, and George Evans came up strongly in the freshening breeze to catch them both, and gain the second. Mike slipped back with his close relationship with the marks persisting through the weekend, behind Chris Phillips' fifth place.

In the building breeze Race Three had a marked port bias, picked up by Alastair and Stuart, with Stuart leading away for a good lead over the others at the starboard pin end. With the breeze freshening Gareth’s speed took him up to second, threatening Stuart when the Race Officer sent the fleet round again on a third lap (now with some definte stronger gusts) but not able to snatch the win from Stuart. George enjoying the stronger breeze had his customary up-wind speed, and came up steadily to attack Alastair,and then  on the final reach shot away from for the third place. 

On Sunday, the wind swung as predicted to the north, swinging and fluctuating but settled enough for racing to start on time with enough boat speed for light-air racing.

(Below: a cold and grey Rutland morning, Sunday--but enough light northerly breeze for two good races)

 At the Race 4 start, Alastair defended the committe boat end, but Stuart below him got good speed away to stretch out in the lead. Gareth coming up through the fleet (as always going lower for speed upwind) took the lead. In the light winds the Catapults hauled up on the Squibs at the top mark, with the tactical challenge that they were turning and running down on starboard under spinnaker through the Catapults beating up on port, with cooperative swerving. Alastair overhauled Stuart downwind to hold the second but Stuart pointing high on the second beat came back to squeeze past the windward mark a length ahead and hold the second place to the finish.

 At the start of Race Five Stuart drove down into the shrinking gap between Alastair and the committee boat to get away first with a useful lead. Alastair pulled him back gradually until Stuart turned towards the top mark just ahead, then was caught the wash of a rescue boat, creeping around an inch away. Alastair caught him on the final reach to hold a small lead to the finish, with Gareth closing up to take third. Mike held off George round the single lap to take the fourth.

 The Race Officer looked at the forecast of even less wind and cold rain, and called the fleets home, abandoning Race 6, with no-one arguing. In close racing, three helms shared the first places, until last-year's TT winner Gareth Ede took the event by 2 points. Stuart Ede came in second, and added the event Handicap win, under the new 2018 handicaps adjusted by John Terry.


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 2 1 2 1 (3) 8 6
2nd Stuart Ede 3 (3) 1 2 2 11 8
3rd Alastair Forrest 1 (4) 4 3 1 13 9
4th George Evans (5) 2 3 4 5 20 15
5th Mike Gough 4 (6) 5 5 4 24 18
6th Chris Phillips 6 5 6 (DNC) 8 DNC 33 25
7th Damien Cooney 7 7 6 (DNC) 8 DNC 37 29


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 Total Nett
1st Stuart Ede (4) 3 1 1 1 10 6
2nd Alastair Forrest
2 (4) 4 2 2 14 10
3rd George Evans (6) 2 2 5 4 22 15
4th Gareth Ede (7) 1 7 3 5 23 16
5th Damien Cooney 1 5 3 8DNC (8DNC) 25 17
6th Mike Gough        5 (7) 5 5 3 25 18
7th  Chris Phillips 3 6 6 8DNC (8DNC) 31 23
(Below: Rutland on a different weekend!)

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