Catapult Nationals and Bala Gala
Bala Sailing Club June 29th-July 1st 2018

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 After the successful 2017 TT hosted by Bala Sailing Club, Catapult is returning June 29th - July 1st. We might again join the Tinker Tramps as in 2017 (an evocative combination of two long-established sailing classes using inflatable technology for lightness and convenience, and giving close racing, notwithstanding a speed difference!)

The club is at the top north-east end of the lake with a wide area for sailing, and unobstructed breeze from the SW and NE. There is plenty of room to rig on grass in front of the Club, with several ramps to the water. The club has excellent facilities (see photos below) (more.)

Many of the Catapult helms are planning to stay at the nearby Pen y Bont campsite, and Bala Town is a short distance away.

The club has very kindly offered to run the fun races on Friday afternoon at a very reasonable £5 per boat. The entry fee for the Nationals will be only £25, so it makes for a bargain weekend of enjoyment.
(2017 Report and photos)

(below: Catapults racing 2017 in front of the BSC boathouse and Race Office)

 Sailing at Bala Sailing Club

The Club sets a start line from the club extending through transits with an outer distance mark, and signals are made on shore

 There are plenty of fixed marks allowing interesting courses, with a mixture of upwind, downwind and reaching legs The prevailing SW wind coming up the whole length of the lake kicks up a significant chop as the wind rises (photo below)  so that maintaining boat speed is crucial


Bala Sailing Club is close to Bala town at the NE end of the lake.

 From the main crossroads at the eastern end of Bala's main street take the B4391 heading south. After crossing the north eastern end of the lake turn right on to the B4403. Bala Sailing Club is down a narrow entrance immediately on the right.

  The Pen y Bont campsite where several Catapult members plan to stay is 200yds further on along the B4391 on the right. (more)

(Right: Catapults racing 2017, in front of the BSC clubhouse.)

 The drive in to Bala from Llangollen is very attractive, high in the Dee valley. An alternative route when coming from the south or east (taking no longer) for a "Wales experience" is turning off the A5 a bit after Shrewsbury onto the B4396 signposted through Knockin (and yes, the General Store there is called the Knockin Shop, boom-boom) to continue  towards Llangynog on the B4391, into soft Welsh countryside until climbing from Llangynog high in a steep valley, out onto moorland, before descending quickly to Bala.

(Below: light air racing 2017, looking across to the Bala Watersports Centre, on the edge of Bala town.)

Make a holiday of it

Many members turn this event in to a great holiday by extending their stays before and after the weekend and taking the opportunity to tour the magnificent Snowdonia National Park. If you’re particularly energetic, in addition to the great walking there is excellent mountain biking in the Coed-y-Brenin Forest or white water kayaking at the National Whitewater Centre above Bala Town.

Into steam trains? For the kids there is the narrow gauge steam railway that runs along the lake right past the Cat Club, and slightly further afield there are the Ffestiniog and Talyllyn narrow gauge railways and the recently opened Welsh Highland line from Portmadog to Caernarvon.

These lines form part of North Wales's industrial heritage. If you want to learn more about one of the area's most famous exports, then you can go down a slate mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog. What's more the Guardian recently featured how Blaenau Ffestiniog has developed a number of other tourist attractions including a hair-raising zip slide!

How about castles? There are more than you can shake a stick at: Conwy, Penrhyn, Caernarvon, Beaumaris, Cricceith, Harlech and many more.

If you are a garden fanatic, then the world famous Bodnant Gardens near Conwy are within easy reach. hen there are the fabulous beaches generously spread around Cardigan Bay, the Lleyn Peninsula and Anglesey. Or how about a stroll through the italianate streets of Portmeirion famous for its pottery and being the scenic backdrop to the 60s hit series the Prisoner?

This is the venue that has everything: fabulous surroundings and great sailing. It is the high spot in the Catapult
calendar, so don't miss it!