Catapults at the Rutland Open Meeting
Travelling Trophy Sunday May 22-23rd

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   The Catapult TT series came back to Rutland as part of the May Bank Holiday Open Meeting racing in mixed fleets. Rigging in sheltered sunshine made conditions deceptively benign--- turning from the flat run down to the start area revealed that the SW breeze was blowing Force 4-5 with  heavy gusts, kicking up a chop, and swinging.  There were gains to be made playing the shifts as well as places to be lost when getting it wrong.

  The Rutland SC Race Officers were again helpful in setting courses which suited Catapults, with a reversed P for the two morning races, giving two scorching  reaches in the gusts, with a longer beat and short run for variation.

   In Race one Alastair Forrest at the port end just crossed the Handicap fleet for a big lead held through the first of two laps but John Terry pulled up steadily to take the lead on the next beat. Paul Ellis and George Evans in their own battle also gained, but Alastair held out for the second ahead of George, while Syd Gage never recovered from a delayed start.

 (Below: a characteric Rutland TT start, with event winner John Terry (far right) at speed on the line.)

(Photos: Rutland SC Rescue rib, with thanks.)

   Race two followed back to back, and from a tight starboard end start (photo above) John Terry was quick onto trapeze and pulled gradually away, chased by Paul (photo below right.) George pushed up to windward in the strong gusts, and caught Paul by the end to take the second.

  For the two afternoon races, the race officer set a trapezoid course with just one lap but including a good beat to the windward mark, a broad reach to the left hand mark, a downwind/upwind sausage on the outer loop, a close reach across the lake to the final leeward mark and a beat up to the finish line, a good 25 minute race. The breeze had drpped back slightly, with fewer big gusts, but thankfully there were also fewer holes in the wind than in the morning races so downwind was less of a lottery. 

  (Below: Event winner John Terry leaps into action)       (Below: Paul Ellis (chasing John Terry) eases onto the run
                                                                                          with the chasing pack reaching down, Race Two)                                

In Race three  again John was fast away from a tight start on tropeze for an early lead but being pushed hard by Paul throughout. George and Syd battled for third until Alastair who had dropped back with poor upwind speed was gifted a big lift on the last beat to catch Syd and push George hard on the two reaches and run downwind, until on the short beat to the line (photo below) George had just enough to hold the third place.

 Between races Syd suffered being upended  by a drifting competitor cat which caught Syd's wishboom as they crossed. Syd recovered in time for the next race but carrying a ltre of water in his mast.

(below: Race two pack, with Syd and George catching Alastair.)          (below: George (right) goes for the Race 3 finish.) 

 In Race four, the Race Officer lengthened the outer loop giving more options for navigating the upwind/downwind route. Was it better to go right and get better wind or stick to the shore line for a less shifty breeze

The starboard start was again tight, and again  John Terry got away from the group on trapeze, but  George pushing up in the gusts and taking advantage of the shifts upwind came steadily to be right on John's stern in the last flat run. A downwind duel developed. Running down side by side on port,  with George just ahead, John was able to play tactics, gybing onto starboard for right of way, pushing George to the right, and gaining a few yards as George gybed, and holding a small lead as  they both gybed  back, holding this to the end.

Paul held  third through out and Alastair recovered from shroud control failure  to just catch Syd by the end.

         (below: Race four tactics: John , 533, holds on to a tiny lead from George.)

Monday brought a complete contrast, with wisps of wind coming from all round the compass, not settling through the morning delayed start, and the fleet supported the Race Officer's decision to abandon racing.

John and Alastair


 1st    John Terry             1     (1)     1      1

2nd   George Evans       3       2     (3)     2     7

 3rd    Paul Ellis                4       3      2       3      8

 4th  Alastair Forrest      2      4       4     (4)    10

5th    Syd Gage               5  (DNC)   5     5       15

(Left: Syd at pace to the finish, Race 4)    
(All photos Rutland SC with thanks)

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