Catapult Nationals at Brid
29th-31st. August 2020


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Catapult Nationals, Bridlington 2020

The first day of the August Bank Holiday weekend was lost to gales, and for a time it looked as though the second day would be lost, too, with a Force 5 gusting 6 and a lumpy sea. However, the fleet waited patiently for the forecast easing, and racing finally got under weigh at 16.00. All races were sailed around a triangular course over two laps.

 

Race 1

Mike and Stuart were first off the line. Mike gradually drew away from Stuart who had opted for a small sail and was regretting it. George tacked up the middle of the course while Mike and Stuart banged the left corner. At the windward mark Mike had a sizeable lead while George just sneaked ahead of Stuart at the mark. Unfortunately Mike had problems finding the gybe mark in the glare off the water and sailed far too high. George eventually spotted it and took the lead with Stuart second. On the beat of the second lap George extended his lead and Mike overtook Stuart. These positions were held to the finish.

 

Race 2

Mike and Stuart were again first off the start line heading for the left side of the beat. George meanwhile went right. Seeing this Mike tacked over to loosely cover him. Stuart, however, persevered to the left figuring that by now the outgoing tide would have picked up speed resulting in a wind over tide situation that would make the waves bigger and steeper on the right hand, seaward side. This tactic made up for Stuartís lack of sail power and he and George reached the windward mark together. Stuart on port had to tack tight on the mark to avoid George on starboard, and in doing so touched the mark. The subsequent penalty turn allowed Mike and Chris to overtake. Stuart overtook Chris on the reach, so that by the gybe mark the order was George, Mike, Stuart and Chris. This order held for the rest of the race, though Syd mounted a challenge on Chris resulting in a neck-and-neck finish with Chris just holding on to fourth.

 

Race 3

There were only four starters for Race 3, because the lateness of the hour meant Stuart had to head home to York. Mike and Syd took the flatter inshore route as the wind was dying off, but the waves were still high offshore. George and Chris took the offshore route, and despite crashing through the waves reached the windward mark just ahead of Mike. Syd, who was struggling with a badly torn trampoline that hindered his tacking followed a few minutes behind. On the next reach Chris hit some flotsam that dislodged a dagger-board and ended his race. George kept ahead of Mike down to the gybe mark and retained his lead around the next lap. So George was first with Mike second and Syd gamely plugging on behind.

 

Race 4

In stark contrast to the previous day the final day dawned with no wind. After a postponement of two hours racing was able to get away in a Force 2 breeze. Triangular courses of two laps were again the order of the day.

 

Start of Race 4

 

On the first beat the fleet went left to keep inshore and minimise the adverse effect of the incoming tide. Rounding the windward mark George was in the lead with Stuart in second just ahead of Mike followed by Syd and Chris. On the second lap beat, George surprisingly opted to go right into the stronger tide on the seaward side. The rest of the fleet thought that would prove to be a mistake and kept left inshore. However, George confounded his critics by lengthening his lead to two minutes which he held to the finish. Meanwhile on the top reach of lap 2 Mike attacked Stuart to windward and overtook him. However, just before the gybe mark Stuart counter-attacked and just managed to break clear before the two boat zone to round in front. He held this narrow lead to claim second place.

 

Race 5

With Georgeís successful tactic from Race 4 in mind Stuart and George chose a port tack start with the intention going right and offshore up the beat. Starboard starters Mike and Syd tacked onto port to shadow them, but Chris kept going inshore. This time the conventional wisdom held, and Chris benefited from the slacker tide inshore to round the windward mark on Georgeís coattails with Mike, Stuart and Syd following in that order. On the second beat Stuart and Syd adopted Chrisís tactic, while George and Mike went offshore again. Counterintuitively offshore proved to be the right option this time. Out to the right George misjudged the layline and lost a lot of his lead through having to pinch to make the windward mark. On the same beat Mike managed to overtake Chris and started to chase down George. However, George held on to win by 12 seconds.

So with a perfect scoreline of five wins from five races George claimed the 2020 National Championship with Mike Gough a worthy second counting a string of four second places.

 

  Stuart and George Port Start

 

 

     Race 5 Wing Mark Rounding

 

Results

Place

Helm

Race 1

Race 2

Race 3

Race 4

Race 5

Points

1

George Evans

1*

1

1

1

1

4

2

Mike Gough

2

2

2

3*

2

8

3

Stuart Ede

3

3

DNC 6*

2

4

12

4

Syd Gage

4

5*

3

4

5

16

5

Chris Crawley

DNF 6*

4

RTD 6

5

3

18

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