Great North Asymmetric Challenge 2016

We are pleased to be hosting this year’s GNAC.

Good winds were forecast, good competition, good food, and lots of special birthday celebrations to enjoy!

Despite the good forecast, the winds at lake level were variable to say the least, challenging OD Andy Smith to find a mean direction to set the windward/leeward course to avoid a reach/reach situation. Taking note of the winds driving the nearby wind turbines, it seemed that WNW was a good bet for the first beat so racing was underway at the scheduled time. Of the fleet of 29 boats, there were a couple of boats over the line but they dutifully returned. The beat was maintained, despite some major shifts, but regulars Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman from Delph  in a RS400 soon took a commanding lead. Sailors did sit out at times but gusts were not really enabling planing conditions. Paul Allen from Leigh & Lowton, with Phil Hodgkins from Bass crewing, and in a RS400 as well, made up ground to finish 2nd just 2 secs behind Chris.

The wind eased soon after the start of race 2, and there was a completely different set of race leaders, with Robin Dawson and Phil Davenport leading the fleet through to the finish, though on handicap three RS200s, led by Bass’ Phil and Naomi Smith would beat Robin on handicap.

The wind backed more to the west for race 3, with occasional stronger gusts, and Chris Pickles was again at the fore, with Phil Smith 2nd and Robin Dawson 3rd.

Race 4 started in a good breeze which shifted and faded, together with the OD’s spirits, soon after the the first beat. New wind patterns appeared from the north, but they resulted in an unfortunate reach/reach course. The RS400s mastered the conditions again, led by Chris Pickles with Commodore Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts 2nd.

With four races complete it was time to break for the evening and celebrate a couple of special Bass birthdays – Robin Dawson and Phil Hodgkins. Can they still stand the pace and be ready to race agin in the morning? Time will tell!

Overnight leader was Chris Pickles with Phil Smith 2nd.

Sunday started with sleety showers and no wind, but at least the forecast was suggesting there would be some wind in the afternoon, so sailors had an early lunch, then some wind filled in, although it was as variable as it has been for the last couple of weeks. The fleet split up the first beat of race 5, and those that went right lost out massively. Phil and Naomi were first to round the windward mark with Dave Exley and Paul Heath in a RS400 on their tail. Dave pulled out a good lead but was passed by Hamish Gledhill on the final run, though on handicap Phil claimed another win.

Was the wind going to steady for race 6? Well it seemed to be filling in, and racing was started in a promising breeze which promptly shifted and faded by the time the first boat reached the windward mark. The same phases of wind and shifts continued through the race which was won by Chris, with Hamish 2nd.

After a late start and no sign of a steady wind following through, the OD cancelled the two remaining races, leaving Chris and Matt winners, with Phil and Naomi runners up.

Winners Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman with Commodore’s wife Kirstie Somerville

Final results