Catapult TT at Yorkshire Dales
October 6th-7th 2018

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The Catapult fleet joined the Contender Northerns and D-Zeros on Grimwith Reservoir, high on the Yorkshire Dales, for the penultimate TT event for 2018, the weekend of 6th-7th October. The Race Officers faced the challenges of low water narrowing the sailing area in the reservoir, with the breeze on Saturday across the reservoir, and on Sunday wind from nothing to strong. The Catapult fleet was sent away first, being comfortably faster then the Contenders and in turn the D-Zeros, so the fleets did not tangle, with the penalty of a long wait for the Catapults between the back-to-back races.

 Saturday's complex course of six legs comprised two triangles, giving two beats and a long tight leadup the reservoir, and long run back down. The swinging breeze, NNW-N, gave plenty to race with but with holes and gusts. I
Race 1 from a close starboard end start Gareth Ede and George Evans moved gradually away, showing the boat speed upwind that would be characteristic of the races through the weekend. George stayed close behind Gareth around the complex first lap until Gareth was able to scrape him off coming back through the start gate, when George needed a tack to get through the line, letting Gareth stretch away. Stuart Ede pulled up on George but George stayed comfortably ahead.

  (Below: Race 1: Alastair Forrest tacks to follow Stuart Ede to the first upwind mark, with Gareth  Ede and George Evans already round. Photo Syd Gage' on-board camera.)

Race 2, following back-to-back on the same course, the fleet was tight away  from the starboard start (photo below) but Gareth moved steadily away from the fleet round the two laps to gain a crushing lead. George Evans again showed good upwind speed to move out to second, extending his lead over the rest with good boat-speed on the long close-hauled fourth leg of the course up the lake. (Making the distant mark without tacking carried an advantage, providing the temptation to pinch up in the lighter airs near the shore was avoided)
 (Below: Gareth rounds the first upwind mark ahead of Stuart (531) Alastair and George, and heads off on the reach along the shore. Photo Syd Gage.)

 Stuart and Syd Gage, behind Alastair, stayed close until they were caught in the lottery of the second leg of the course, the reach close to the shore (above) when the breeze headed and died, planting Stuart hard on the mark (for the second time in the race!---see photo above for the first!) Syd stayed immobile until the breeze returned, letting Alastair well way behind George, held round the rest of the long second lap.

 For Race 3 The Race Officer removed the lottery of the second tight reach along the shore. Alastair won the heavily-biased starboard start, and was able to clear the distance mark while  the rest had to tack to cross the line. Staying out left he had an apparent big lead, but the boats staying out in the lake gained better breeze coming into the top mark, so the fleet rounded close together.

George stayed with Gareth
photo right) with the pair well out in front. Behind, Stuart pulled up on Alastair and Syd only to lose the gamble of tacking early to the upwind mark on the second beat. He was then disastrously headed, letting the others away.

 The RO decided a third lap would keep everyones' spirits up at the end of the afternoon (the long run now straight into a blinding  setting sun) which gave Stuart the chance to battle Syd and just take fourth.

On Sunday morning the reservoir was glassy, but with a definite forecast of a swing to the southwest. A half-hour delay  in racing to 11:00 brought an increasing breeze up the lake. The RO set a long thin figure-of-eight course with two beats. With the committee boat close to shore the start tactics were challenging, with too little water available to sit waiting for a pin-end start. Reaching across in the last minutes to tack and come to the line seemed the only option.
(Below: tight start for Race 4, with Gareth alraedy on trapeze. Photo Paul Hargreaves Photography.)

 In the tight Race 4 start, the breeze was up enough for Gareth to trapeze. George again had the up-wind speed to ride over Alastair (photo above) and these two again stretched away together, with George closing up and then Gareth extending in the gusts. (photo below left) Behind, the fleet (with Mike Gough now joining, but nursing a mainsheet traveller problem)kept station around two laps, with Stuart chasing George (photo below right) to take the third place ahead of Alastair and Syd. (Photos below Paul Hargreaves Photography.)

Race 5 followed back-to-back, with the wind picking up. Manoeuvring in the space between the committee boat in the rising chop became tricky (photo below)  and Stuart elected a port start coming in from the centre of the lake, only to find Alastair (also seeking space) coming at him going for a port-end start with right-of-way on starboard. In turn Alastair going too fast had a bow-board over the line at the gun, and circled back to re-start behind. Stuart although going behind the fleet fared well out right to regain third, again behind Gareth and George out in front. The Catapults did three laps, and the Contenders and D-Zeros were stopped at two, so the back-to-back restarts could be quick.

(Below left: Syd (camera) and Mike get stuck in pre-start jockeying before Race 5.)
(Below right: Mike thinks carefully about the impending gybe on the long-downwind leg, Race 5.
 Photo Paul Hargreaves Photography.)

 By Race 6 the wind was piping up, shaking the boats in the gusts. Five boats came to the start but in the steep chop in the small triangle by the committee boat, two missed tacks and blew onto the lee shore, both deciding to join Syd on shore, concluding that enough was enough for the day in the strong breeze. Gareth, George and Alastair got away comfortably-enough, and found the breeze dropping back a little so that the long downwind stretches were less alarming than anticipated. They stayed close in that order round the first lap, until the gaps extended in a final lap 2 and things could be taken cautiously to the end. Gareth took his sixth straight win, and George his sixth second place.

Gareth is well ahead on the TT Leaderboard and is assured of the 2018 Jon Montgomery TT Trophy. Behind, Alastair  and Stuart are just a point apart, and the final event will decide the 2018 runner-up place between them. On Handicap, George's pursuit of Gareth kept him well up to take the event easily, ahead of Syd.  Stuart holds on to the top of the 2018 Handicap Leaderboard  but only five points cover first three going into the last event.

Alastair Forrest                                        


Rank Helm R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st Gareth Ede 1 1 1 1 1 (1) 6 5
2nd George Evans 2 2 2 2 2 (2) 12 10
3rd Alastair Forrest 4 3 3 4 (5) 3 22 17
4th Stuart Ede 3 4 5 3 3 8 DNF 26 18
5th Syd Gage 5 5 4 5 6 8 DNS 33 25
6th Mike Gough 8 DNS 8 DNS 8 DNS 6 4 8 DNF 42 34
7th Damien Cooney 6 8 DNF 6 8 DNS 8 DNS (8 DNS) 44 36

(Above: TT winner Gareth Ede powers upwind. Photo Paul Hargreaves)


Rank Helm H'Cap R1
R4 R5 R6 Total Nett
1st George Evans 880 (2) 1 1 1 1 1 7 5
2nd Syd Gage
925 1 2 2 3 5 (8 DNS) 21 13
3rd Alastair Forrest 879 (5) 3 4 4 4 2 22 17
4th Stuart Ede 880 3 5 5 2 3 8 DNF 26 18
5th Gareth Ede 798 (6) 4 3 5 6 3 27 21
6th Damien Cooney 1120 4 8 DNF 6 8 DNS 8 DNS (8DNS) 40 32
7th Mike Gough        905 8 DNS 8 DNS 8 DNS 6 2 8 DNF 42 34

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