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Spring 2000


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Catapults Weekend at Dale South West Wales - July 4th
Why not try an away weekend at the Dale Sailboard and Dinghy Center? The Dale Center is in a large bay just right for the Sailors who want a challenge, this opens up outside the bay onto a Large chunk of the Atlantic Ocean. At the moment it is delivering for our use around Force Five with rather large Rollers mixed with many choices of different sizes of waves to make it more interesting.
About Five Miles away along the coast towards Pembroke Docks someone has left a rather decrepit old time Fort covered with a variety of very hardy vegetation hanging on for its life. This Fort is the reason for the Cats to try and beat each other and other entries for the event with Money incentive or just to go out enjoy your selves against the elements.
I arrived Thursday about three in the Afternoon and was allowed to park in the center's car park which was very near to the local. Not the Hostelry which was around the corner, BUT the House of LORDS and LADIES; VERY CONVENIENT'? The Center also has a good Restaurant available for inner food. The evening was pleasant and warm with the locals wandering about generally killing time. Some of the Cats arrived and after a little while went off to find their campsite.
Having managed to retire for a good kip, I was rudely woken up by some Welsh Seagulls practising their version of the clog dance. After trying to tell them five in the morning is not the nice time to get up despite the sun showing signs of life.
A friend came from the other side of Haverford West to find out how wet he could get. We rigged the Hawke Cat and Bob came with his Catapult so we launched into a mess, which looked rather like brown shredded paper. We were assured that it really was a variety of seaweed.
In the bay we had a nice force three plus. We were soaked in a few minutes but the cat managed to plough about in the bay for about an hour. It was decided to take a look at a tanker parked a couple of miles away bow to wind. As soon as we were past the protection of the headland of the bay the force five and six foot Atlantic swell plus a very mixed selection of waves hit us, very interesting. With two of us on the boat it was ideal sailing getting wetter than before.
My friend took over the tiller for the first time in his life. He very soon learnt how to sail and enjoyed every minute of the experience. After over three hours of very exiting and interesting playing around, we were really exhausted and ready for a rest. My Friend departed home converted to sailing.
Saturday started with brilliant sunshine and lots of wind with seven cats, two sailboards and a 420 the only competitors. The organisers had not advertised enough hence lack of entries.
At the briefing we were told to go to the Fort and round it which ever way takes our fancy, and we will have three Rescue Boats to look after us. The wind in the bay was force three, but the Atlantic stretch was five plus; interesting, I would count myself fortunate to stay upright. After the start it was great until we went out of the protection of the bay, then it was like riding a mad horse, bucking me around seemingly in all directions. The swell was about six-foot plus, the other waves all over the place, the wind coming from the South. No tacking was called for, it was straight out and back at high speed.
With the swell coming up behind me I became rather concerned, as when the wave came up behind me I was looking downhill with the possibility of being blown over so cowardice prevailed and I let the sail out every time when looking downhill. Rounding the fort was managed by tacking instead of a goodly jibe. The selection of rocks behind the fort held my concentration for a while going round to return to the finish. I managed to make sure that I kept all the other boats in front of me. Having got back I found it took one hour and ten minutes with the other cats covering the race in much less time.
The Wind was force five for three races. For the last it dropped to a nice four and a wind change of about ten degrees improved the performance of my Hawke cat. I even caught a Wayfarer before the fort. Behind the fort a spring fell off whilst tacking. Panic for a time until I wound an elastic sail tie around the offending bits. Finished tacking to find the other boat had gained a good half mile on me, I pulled my jib out, the cat suddenly found it wanted to get moving, we overtook the other boat very quickly then beat it to the finish by twenty minutes; unbelievable.
Needless to say the Catapults won most of the prizes; 50 first, 25 second, 10 third. A sailboard and the 420 also won a prize.
A great weekend, all Sun and plenty of wind, very good company, and rescue boats always around to look after all of us on the Water.
Why not try and join us next year for a good sail at DALE WEST WALES SAILING CENTER.
This is only one of the many venues which the Catapults sail from during the Year.
For Your enjoyment Barry Jones
Total boats; seven Catapults, one Hawke Cat, two Sail boards, and a 420.