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Great Northern Asymettric Challenge

Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Tour at the GNAC, Bassenthwaite SC

Report by Alastair Duncan and photos by Peter Makin

There was a great turnout of more than 30 boats for this year’s GNAC (Great Northern Asymmetric Challenge), part of the Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Tour which attracted a strong fleet of 13 RS400s. The sun was shining with a cool wind blowing from the north east which proved to be frustratingly changeable throughout the afternoon.

The wind was reasonably well behaved for the first race, though there were opportunities to gain from the timing of the shifts and the gusts passing over the course. The conditions suited the RS400s most of all which took the first four positions, led by Barrie Thornton and Nick Hunt from Scaling Dam.

Despite adjusting the beat for race 2, the wind shifted further early on the first leg to the extent that the race was abandoned before the fleet reached the leeward gate. That was the start of the nightmare for the OD, trying to determine the likely mean position for a beat in the constantly swinging wind. A new line was set (a couple of times) before racing started again, but there were still advantages of being in the right place at the right time to gain from the shifts, and variations in wind strength. The race was won by Chris Pickles and Mark Lunn from Delph in their RS400 .

During the scheduled break for tea, the wind seemed to be easing as it swung further to the south east. However, another two races were sailed in conditions that were generally better than earlier, and had a greater mix of fleets at the front with race 3 being won by Peter Lawson and Guy Wheeler from Killington Lake in a Laser 2000, and race 4 by Pierce Harris and Alfie Cogger from Windermere School in a 29er.

Overnight positions had just 2.5 pts between the first four boats being led by Paul and Jude Allen in their RS400 from Bassenthwaite

Sunday started with more sun and the wind back from the North West. The OD gave the fleet a few minutes leeway before starting race 5 but some stragglers were pleased that there was a general recall! In a repeat of Saturday the wind swung more to the east creating a very one sided beat, and the need to shorten the race after 20 mins.

The beat was reset for race 6, and a freshening of the breeze just before the start resulted in three being OCS. The gusts caught some out causing them to capsize. Also there was one beating helm who narrowly avoided being skewered by a reaching RS200 in a port/starboard incident.

There were two final races held after lunch break, which started in lighter airs, but just like the rest of the weekend, nothing remained consistent for too long. The shifts, gusts, and lulls continued to give some challenging and exciting racing.

Paul and Jude Allen were OCS in the final race, but when the final results were calculated they had sufficient points in the bag to maintain their overnight lead and win the Great North Asymmetric Challenge 2018!

During the prizegiving, a raffle was held for vouchers generously donated by Rope4Boats. These were won by Andy & Hannah Wilcox, and Bill Kenyon.

Full results can be found at http://www.bassenthwaite-sc.org.uk/18gnac/, and Peter Makin’s excellent photos are available to view and buy at https://www.pdmphoto.co.uk/GNAC-2018.

The next event on the Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Tour is the Northern Championships held at South Shields on May 19-20. Discounted online entry ends on May 6: http://www.soshields-sailing.co.uk/index.php/events/rs400-northern-champs

Rank Class Sail_No Club Helm Crew PY R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Total Nett
1st RS 400 1395 Bassenthwaite SC Paul Allen Jude Allen 942 2 2 4 3 9 4 1 ocs 57 16
2nd RS 400 1283 Delph SC Chris Pickles Mark Lunn 942 3 1 5 4.5 7 OCS 4 1 57.5 18.5
3rd RS 400 1437 Scaling Dam SC Barrie Thornton Nick Hunt 942 1 5 2 12 4 OCS 8 3 67 23
4th RS 400 1396 Leigh & Lowton SC Richard Catchpole Gary Coop 942 4 7 6 15 5 2 5 2 46 24
5th RS 400 1082 Bassenthwaite SC Mark Somerville Joe Roberts 942 5.5 4 13 4.5 12 3 6.5 5 53.5 28.5
6th RS 400 937 Tynemouth SC David Gebhard Jackie Gebhard 942 8 3 18 7 11 20 2 6 75 37
7th RS 400 1157 Tynemouth SC Phil Murray Neil Schofield 942 7 13 7 16.5 28 6 13 11 101.5 57
8th RS 400 664 Bassenthwaite SC Phil Davenport Rob Smith 942 16 6 14 16.5 10 24 20 4 110.5 66.5
9th RS 400 1401 Budworth SC Bill Kenyon Mike Cowan 942 9 18 12 20 24 19 17 7 126 82
10th RS 400 669 South Shields SC Jacob Ainsworth Kayleigh Roberts 942 14 17 24 22 23 9 23 10 142 95
11th RS 400 1277 RWYC Graham Tullett Natasha Lister 942 17 20 25 21 22 12 18 8 143 96
12th RS 400 1271 Grafham Water SC Andy Wilcox Hannah Wilcox 942 25 16 23 24 13 22 28 21 172 119
13st RS 400 810 Tynemouth SC Richard Fahey Jonny Holliday 942 29 30 26 28 DNC DNC DNC DNC 241 177