TT at Bewl Sailing Association
September 14th-15th

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Catapult made a welcome return Sept 14th-15th to Bewl Reservoir in its beautiful surrounding, with racing now operated by Bewl Sailing Association. The four-boat fleet, racing alongside the Wanderer Inland Champs included the elegant red and black boat of new member Dave Chamberlain.

The high pressure lying over the UK gave warm sunny conditions but a minimal amount of wind (with the lake under a blanket of low-lying mist early Saturday morning) so that three of five races were completed, including taking part in the club Bart's Bash mass event on Sunday morning

(Below: a duvet of mist covers the lake, Saturday morning.)

On Saturday  a light south-easterly looked to give the chance of racing, around a port-rounding square course, but it swung and fluctuated to frustrate the RO. The wind died as the boats eventually came near the line and swung further east. Alastair could tiptoe his way past the committee boat onto a long port board close-hauled to the upwind mark, and pulled out to a 100 metre lead ahead of Alex Montgomery,with the wind swinging from side to side and dying intermittantly. Alex took the lead across what was now the beat, and they stretched away from Paul Ellis and Dave stuck in the dead patches.

(Right: Alex and Paul (507) creep towards the start line, Race 1, with Dave still a way to go.) (Photos Amanda Conrad, BSA with thanks.)

At the downwind mark, a Wanderer inside Alex took an enormous curve around the mark, letting Alastair come inside and then ride over Alex for a small lead, held to the finish. Behind, Paul and Dave came up on a spell of breeze to threaten, with Dave finally taking Paul. The RO was clear that one lap was enough, and lunch was needed to give the breeze time to make up its mind up.

For Race 2 in the afternoon, with the breeze still in shifting puffs, the club set a windward-leeward course for simplicity, and the boats set off as soon as the easterly filled in, but of course it died as they reached the start. Eventually a course  was laid due east but as the start was prepared it swung north to give shifting reaches instead. The boats started on a reach in a workable breeze, and Alastair ruthlessly denied Paul room at the port-end mark, forcing a 360', and he and Alex (starting halfway down the line)  headed away, Alex in the lead.

Behind, Paul and Dave hit a dead area at the mark struggling to get around, letting Alex and Alastair away, with Alex extending his lead over the lap. On the second lap, down the long leg 2, the shifting breeze let Alastair climb out to windward on the reach down, with spare space to catch Alex as he pinched up to the mark. They caught up with  a pack of Wanderers struggling round (and hitting) the mark. Alastair took a sweeping wide berth around but Alex dived in and emerged safely with a small lead. (Photo below) Puffs let Alastair ride up over him, but not finally get past, the boats going the last 200 yards side by side.

 Alex won by the length of two bow-boards but it took Alastair another 10 seconds to go that distance for his gun. Meanwhile Dave and then Paul, struggling to round the top mark in dead air, decided enough was enough.

(Above: Alex emerges from the Wanderer tangle with Alastair (524) chasing, and (right) Alex crosses the line just ahead.)

offered light westerlies with bright sunshine for the club Bart's Bash race, with a mass start of club boats, the Catapults joining as a third TT race. The wind however stayed patchy, so that making the most of the bursts of light westerly was the key, while bearing the frustration of sitting in lulls while other boats nearby had good speed. The club set a short port-rounding triangle.

Alastair and Paul were match-racing as the others were off on other comittments, and started near the front of the fleet. Paul eked out a useful lead upwind in the puffs, until Alastair stayed out in the western arm of the lake to catch the breeze, finally racing in to the mark to undo all Paul's work. Alastair kept the lead around the triangle, but  Paul again pulled up into the lead upwind to lead.

Alastair caught better breeze on the following broad reach to ride up to windward. Paul luffed fiercely, carrying them way past the mark, and as they gybed back Alastair had the breeze to accelerate quicker to the mark and extend away. To their surprise the Catapults were the first finished, as the RO signalled the end (to Alastair's relief that Paul would not catch him again upwind) and the Catapults were on shore while much of the club fleet still battled the shifts and lulls.

Alastair was a comfortable winner, and captured the Handicap places as well, while Dave scored a Saturday handicap second (and a win on lap elapsed time in Race 2.)


Rank Helm R1
1st Alastair Forrest 2 1 1 4
2nd Alex Montgomery 1 2 DNC 5 8
3rd  Paul Ellis  4 DNF 5 2 11
4th Dave Chamberlain 3 DNF 5 DNC 5 13


Rank Helm R1
1st Alastair Forrest 1 1 1 3
2nd Paul Ellis  3 DNF 5 2 10
3rd Alex Montgomery    4 2 DNC 5 11
4th Dave Chamberlain 2 DNF 5 DNC 5 12

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