Catapult TT at Grafham
17th.-18th. October 2020

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Grafham TT

The Grafham Cat Open over the 17-18 October weekend provided the venue for the second and last event of the Covid-hit 2020 Catapult season. The forecast was for light airs for the Saturday and near calm on the Sunday. With this in mind the Race Officer used his discretion to run four trapezoid races (of two laps each) back-to-back on the Saturday. That proved a wise, though rather prostate testing, move, because the Force 1 to 2 breeze was infinitely better than the lack of wind on the Sunday when the fleet floated around for over an hour waiting for a possible start before racing had to be abandoned.


Race 1

John Terry won the start of Race 1, but at the penalty of being in the dirty air from a number of Dart 18s. Gareth Ede was late starting but benefited by being able to go right up the beat in clear air that enabled him to be right on Johnís heels at the windward mark, which set the scene for close combat all the way to the finish. Chris Phillips also had a good first beat and had not been far behind in third place. However, at the end of the first run he got entangled with a knot of Sprints, which allowed Mike Gough, Syd Gage and Stuart Ede to pass him.



Mike and Chris neck and neck for a while  Stuart hoping for the wind to fill in.


Stuart was in the process of working his way through the fleet after a disastrous last minute wind shift ruined his port tack start and left him in last place off the line. He managed to overtake Syd and was challenging Mike all the way round the second lap, but Mike held him off to claim third place by a margin of three seconds. Three seconds was also the margin by which John beat Gareth for first place.



Race 2

Mike and Stuart were again in close contention on the first beat of Race 2. Stuart rounded the windward mark just ahead, while John and Gareth were lurking not far behind. That order stood for the rest of Lap 1.



These four were embarking on Lap 2 when the shorten course signal sounded behind them, finishing half the fleet after one lap. On the beat John and Gareth passed Mike and were hot on Stuartís heels. At the bottom of the run John secured the inside track at the mark to take the lead. Gareth, who chose to cross the line by the Committee Boat, thought he had caught his dad on the short beat to the finish, but Stuart, who had opted for the pin end proved to be 10 seconds ahead to hang on to second place.


Race 3

In Race 3 Stuart was again first to the windward mark with Gareth in close attendance, while John who had gone right up the beat was some way back. Stuart had managed to pick his way through a large crowd of Sprints approaching the windward mark and was on starboard a few boat lengths from the mark when he was hit by a port tack Sprint that entangled him in the melee of boats. Gareth was forced to go round the outside to avoid trouble.



Start of Race 3                                        New member Chris resplendent

                                                                          in his Yellow outfit


The resultant delay allowed John to catch up with them both. Gareth overtook Stuart on the run, and the three of them embarked on the next lap, while a shorten course signal meant the rest of the fleet were finished early. Gareth and Stuart went up the left hand side of the beat while John went up the middle where a stronger breeze enabled him to point higher and foot faster, overtaking both Stuart and Gareth. Gareth then retook the lead on the run to win the race.


Rounding mark 4 and heading for the finish line


Race 4

The breeze went very shifty for Race 4. John got a good start next to the Committee Boat and was first to the windward mark followed by Chris P, Syd, Mike, Gareth and Stuart in quick succession. Another entanglement, this time with some Dart 18s, lost Chris some places while Gareth managed to gain three places down the run to challenge John. These two duelled all the way round the rest of the course, while Mike was in close contention in third place. John eventually won by just nine seconds, and on the short beat to the finish Gareth found himself under pressure from Mike who had tacked early for the pin end of the line, only just failing to snatch second place by two seconds. Behind them a three way contest between Stuart, Chris P and Syd was developing for fourth place. Chris tried overtaking Stuart on the reach to the bottom mark, but Stuart defended by luffing and just held off the challenge to claim fourth place.

So in an event marked by close competition John and Gareth took home the prizes for being first and second Catapults, respectively, and also fourth and fifth places in the Cat Openís Medium Handicap Fleet.



Handicap Review

When the personal handicaps were applied to the results, the first places were spread over three sailors, which indicates the system is working fairly. Newcomer Chris Crawley won Race 1, and Mike won Race 4 with Stuart taking the top slots for the middle two races. In the overall results Mike tied with Stuart with 6 points each but had to be satisfied with second place on tie-break. Syd came a close third with 8 points.


Rank Helm R1
R4 Total Nett
1st John Terry 1 1 (2) 1 5 3
2nd Gareth  Ede 2 (3) 1 2 8 5
3rd Stuart Ede 4 2 3 (4) 13 9
4th Mike Gough 3 4 (5) 3 15 10
5th Syd Gage 5 5 (7) 6 23 16
6th Chris Phillips 6 (7) 6 5 24 17
7th George Evans 7 (8) 4 7 26 18
8th Chris Crawley 8 6 8 (8) 30 22


Rank Helm R1
R4 Total Nett
1st Stuart Ede (4) 1 1 4 10 6
2nd Mike Gough
3 2 (8) 1 14 6
3rd Syd Gage 2 4 (5) 2 13 8
4th John Terry (7) 3 2 5.5 17.5 10.5
5th Chris Crawley 1 6 4 (8) 19 11
6th Chris Phillips        5 (7) 6 3 21 14
7th Gareth Ede (8) 5 3 7 23 15
8th George Evans 6 (8) 7 5.5 26.5 18.5
(Below: George and Mike!)

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