TT at Felixstowe Ferry SC Cat Open
July 27-28th

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 As a new sea venue, Cataput joined the Felixstowe Ferry SC Cat Open July 27th-28th, with good open-water racing in the mixed-Handicap fleet.

The Race Officers set a set a consistent course for the event, of an initial long beat and a reach back to a shorter windward/leeward course, with a final short reach back to the finish, for a mixed Slow-Handicap fleet of three Catapults  four Dart-16s, two Dart 18s and a Sprint 
On Saturday the wind stayed steadily in the north east, Force 3 gusting 4, giving an easy run down from the Deben ferry to the entrance to the estuary  and out to the start.

On Saturday the breeze was steadily NE, force 3 gusting 4 later, giving an easy run from the steep launching beach out to the mouth of the estuary and the start (see picture below) For Race 1 the fleet packed the Committee Boat starboard end, and Mike Gough started fast in the middle of the pack to get a lead. Alastair stayed in touch, with these two moving steadily away from Syd Gage. Mike gradually extended his lead over the four laps, for a comfortable win.

By Race 2 following back-to-back, the breeze was up, bringing an increased chop. The drama was increased when the starting sequence reached five seconds before the start, only to be aborted with a time-keeping crisis on the Committee Boat. Finally the start was away, again with a tight starboard-end bunch, and Alastair and Mike stayed close up-wind but both over-stood, and when they turned onto port on a tight lead to the top mark, Mike rocketed off on a lead, never looking back and extending this to the end. Again Alastair had a good lead over Syd to hold the second.

For Race 3, again back-to-back to complete the day, Alastair and Mike were each disappointed to find the other at the port end for the start (having noted the gain for the Sprint in the previous race) and started close together (with a big gain over the starboard end boats) They stayed close until Alastair messed up his estimate of the tide effect at the top mark, putting in a slow extra tack, and Mike grabbed a long lead, extending it to the end for his third win. Behind, Syd's boom foward end strop broke at the first windward mark (with the boom arrowing forward into the camera mount) forcing retirement.

(Below: ready to go out, along the shore behind the shingle banks to the estuary mouth.)

On Sunday the wind had swung to the west, Force 3, with a steep chop in the long fetch, and a light patch at the upwind mark, under the lee of the distant Felixstowe cliffs

Race 4 had a tight-packed starboard end start and Mike had good boat speed in the middle of the pack, drawing steadily away from the other Catapults to hold a useful lead at the first mark and along the only reach to the top mark. Behind Alastair could keep in distant touch and drew away from Syd, as the westerly kicked up a steep chop, and the Catapults found themselves handicapped by slamming, or braking when the front beam hit a wave.  Good tacking was essential to keep places, and  Mike just steadily extended. The beat gave the tactical dilemma, of whether to go left, into the steeper chop, or right with the risk of coming in to the top mark in less breeze. On lap 2, Syd went right, with a big gain over Alastair, but went for the further mark, having to scream back on a reach just behind Alastair

Race 5 followed back-to-back fairly promptly and again the start was tight at the starboard end This time Alastair found speed over Mike, drawing out to cover him until Mike left the rest of the fleet to go out alone to the right. Syd followed Alastair, who gradually extended a useful lead over both as Mike came in....until  at the top mark his tiller extension fell between the hulls, and when the boat picked up speed, was wrenched off. With 1 1/2 races still to go out at sea, Alastair circled to recover it, and in the scrambling attempts forced Syd to miss tacks and stall,  gifting Mike back the lead, which he took with pleasure and extended. Syd and Alastair's confused race continued, when Alastair drew Syd into thinking the race was shortened, both having to turn back for a lonely final lap. Syd built a small lead, reduced downwind and then across the final reach, to beat Alastair by two seconds.

Race 6 Mike explored the port tack start dragging Syd to the outer mark, and then diving back to the starboard end leaving Syd scrambling to organise his start, and then having to re-attach the boom, for a delayed start. This time Mike really found his boat speed, and from the middle of the pack moved steadily away from Alastair, who in turn built a lead over Syd (having difficulty with the boat slamming in the chop from the westerly breeze)


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Mike Gough 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 5
2nd Alastair Forrest 2 2 2 2 3 2 13 10
3rd Syd Gage 3 3 DNF 4 3 2 3 18 14


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Mike Gough 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 5
2nd= Alastair Forrest 2 2 2 3 3 3 15 12
2nd= Syd Gage 3 3 DNF 4 2 2 2 16 12

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