Catapult TT at Bassenthwaite
May Bank Holiday

Home Page

  Sailing Programme   

Results and Reports


Tactics and Rules

The Boat

  Catapult came back to a traditional and favourite event, the Bank Holiday TT at Bassenthwaite, assured of a warm welcome, but watching forecasts of strong winds and low temperatures (confirmed driving in with snow covering the peaks around.) The event was shared by a big fleet of Teras for their Northerns, joking nervously about the conditions (like the Catapulters) and both fleets had a weekend of great racing, in wildly-fluctuating conditions.

  Saturday confirmed the forecast, with cold S.Easterlies, Force 5-6, and dark gusts sweeping over the lake.

  Race 1  had a traditional Bass course, a long beat and dog-leg reaches, with taxing moments at the gybes, bearing away in the gusts. John Terry had a good start, but Gareth Ede from a mid-fleet start struck out on a long starboard tack across the lake, gaining to round the windward mark ahead of John (both trapezing all the upwind legs.) Behind Stuart Ede stayed ahead of George Evans (again electing to push up in the gusts, not trapezing) and the rest of the fleet fought individual battles of survival (the steep chop kicked up out in the exposed centre making tacking difficult in the gusts.) Good downwind speed enabled Gareth to stretch the lead out a little and hold off John for the 3 laps for the win.

(Below: this is not Saturday! John Terry (event winner, left) and Syd Gage enjoy Monday's ideal sailing.

  Race 2 on the same course came back to back, with the fleet reduced as cold and the strengthening wind bit harder. Four boats picked the port end start advantage, three managing to get through the line in front of Gareth coming through on starboard, before Gareth caught Stuart out, but this took him to the left side which didn't pay. John's trapezing speed off the start took him round the windward mark first with a healthy lead. George Evans defended his place from Stuart Ede and then Alastair Forrest, with the priority on avoiding disastrous mistakes (with Stuart electing to tack around rather than gybe in a fierce gust.) Justin Evans, back in the boat after a year gap, plugged through the gusts and waves for sixth.

Out at the front, on lap 2 Gareth gained from a couple of slow tacks by John, but John remained ahead at the windward mark. Good downwind boat speed put Gareth alongside and on the inside line at the mark to take the lead, extended on the next tight reach, until poor boat speed in the short beat to the gate allowed John to catch up, forcing Gareth to over-stand the lay line to the gate, retaking the lead.

 Gareth was finding it hard to control the boat in the intensifying gusts, with John pulling away, but as he tacked across the lake on starboard, he saw his chance. Up ahead he could see John being increasingly headed closer to the far shore. Gareth chose to tack onto port and go right, up the middle of the lake, to reach the windward mark with a healthy lead, held to the finish.

Sunday morning had sailable SSW strong breezes, but fierce gusts; when the Catapult start was already underway, the ROs (needing to protect the of the Tera fleet as well) abandoned for the morning

(Right: George Evans concentrates downwind, Monday)
(Photo from Mike Chappell, BSC.)

   By the time the afternoon Race 3 got underway, the fleet met light, patchy and shifty wind conditions as it swung to SSW (with sunshine beating down on heavy weather gear.) A simple triangle course gave some relief in the tactical decisions. A close fleet finally reached the upwind mark, and Alastair gained downwind by chasing breeze out in the lake on the right, only to be caught again as the fleet brought up the breeze on the next reach, so George, Syd, Alastair, Justin, Nigel, Gareth and Paul all started the final lap 2) as a pack.

  On lap 2,  Stuart went far to the left upwind for breeze away from the hills (risking the forecast shift to SW) and came in strongly while the fleet drifted looking for puffs, to gain a big lead. John T pulled up gradually to take back a small lead, until Stuart found downwind breeze to stretch way for the win. The wind could be different for boats just a few metres apart, but going left, George picked up his own gust, and  a huge lead on the pack, with Alastair similarly better out left. Gareth had less luck in the middle, in 5th  and under pressure from Paul (doing remarkably well, still setting his small sail, respecting the forecast.)

  Race 4
(following back-to-back) set a two-beat figure of eight. The wind had thankfully freshened a little although remaining shifty. A tight start saw Stuart win from the port end, with collisions competing for space at the starboard end, until John and Gareth moved out to fight for the lead on lap 1. Behind, in a close pack, Alastair chased Stuart, until a downwind mark-rounding tangle saw him broadsided and pushed along sideways by the bows of Paul and George.

   Alastair recovered and over the course of the next lap caught up to Stuart to begin a close battle, third and fourth places changing back and forth until Stuart defended the final beat. Out in front, on the 3rd and final lap, the fight between Gareth and John continued with John holding out just ahead to the finish. Stuart and Alastair escaped the downwind dead patch quickly, to suddenly close the gap to Gareth, resulting in a nail biting dash to the finish line.

(Right: Gareth Ede, equal on points at the top, runs down, Monday morning.)(Photo Mike Chappell, BSC)

John knew he had to win the final Race 5, trailing one point behind Gareth. Monday morning brought a great WSW racing breeze, with bursts of sunshine over a figure-8 course with two beats, the wind still with gusts and shifts.  The closest start of the weekend had the whole fleet crossing the line bang on the gun, but the advantage of trapezing showed in John's surge of speed away, chased by Gareth. John pulled out a lead, able to remain fully powered up the gusts unlike Gareth, stretching to more than half a leg by lap 3, with Gareth repeatedly having to delay manoeuvres crossing with the club fleet at crucial turning points.

Behind, a close fleet of five battled on lap 1, with Nigel gaining trapezing, until the complexity of the course undid them, rounding the wrong way at the top of the second beat. Alastair, facing four boats coming at him head-on at the mark,  reassured himself on the starboard rounding, and although Stuart came up from a late start, stretched out for third. Paul and Syd unwound themselves (facing a long trip back to the fatal mark) and fought it out with Justin.

 Up ahead in the battle for the event, determined not to let John go completely unchallenged, Gareth put on a surge and, with by a change in luck, closed the gap on the final lap and drew alongside John on the reach to mark 4, but could not finally overtake. John took the crucial win, already aware that the scores were tied but a win would take the event on countback.

Gareth and Alastair

(Right: John Terry, winner on countback, collects the winner and TT Leader pennants, and his bubbly.)


(Above: Hard-earned relaxing in the sunshine, Monday afternoon prize-giving.)


      Place                                       Race 1          Race 2        Race 3      Race 4       Race 5       Total        Nett (1 discard)

          1       John Terry                    (2 )                2                 2               1                 1                  8                  6

          2       Gareth Ede                     1                  1                (5)             2                 2                  11                 6

          3       Stuart Ede                      4                 (5)               1               3                 4                  17          

          4       George Evans                3                  3                  3               5              (12)              26            

          5       Alastair Forrest            (5)                4                 4               4                 3                  20               

          6       Justin Evans              (12,
DNF)         6                 9               8                 8                 43                31

          7        Syd Gage                    12,
DNF         12, DNC         7               6                 7                  44               32

          8        Nigel Harrison               6                12, DNC          8               7            (12,DNF)          45              33  

          9         Paul Ellis                   (12,
DNF)      12, DNC           6             12,DNF          6                 48               36

         10       Chris Phillips             (12,
DNF)     12,DNC         12,DNC      12,DNC       12,DNC           60              48

         11      Damien Cooney         (12,
DNC)     12,DNC        12,DNC      12,DNC       12,DNC            60             48


   Below: Its grim up North: rigging in the rain on Saturday,under snow on Skiddaw behind.

       Home Page              Sailing Programme           Results and Reports          Cruising