RS 400 Trident UK Northern Tour at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club’s Great Northern Asymmetric Challenge, 16/17 September
The Trident UK Northern Tour concluded at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club as the RS400 fleet competed as part of the ever-popular Great Northern Asymmetric Challenge (GNAC). With 8 races planned over two days GNAC is always considered to be a full-on event, with all the ‘Bs’ in place to make for a great weekend for all involved. i.e. boats, breeze, bar, band, bacon sandwiches and banging hangovers.
17 RS400’s raced as part of the fleet of sixty-three asymmetric boats that were split into two flights. The RS400s comprised the majority of the fast fleet.
The first race started in a gusty F3/F4 blowing from the north-east with big shifts and big gusts meaning the positions at the front of the fleet were shuffled more than Dynamo’s favourite pack of cards. Home sailors Alistair and Evie Coates appeared at the front of the fleet but had to retreat having missed the upwind gate, leaving fellow Bassenthwaite SC sailors Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman to take the win, ahead of Hamish Gledhill and Ross Southwell (West Riding SC), and Chris Gowers and June Riley (Port Dinorwic SC) who were returning to the fleet after a hiatus of several years.
The second race was quickly underway, and with the left side of the course still being favoured, Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts (Bassenthwaite SC) sailed away from the fleet into an unassailable lead, with close racing in the pursuing pack. Pickles and Sharman were second ahead of the Coates pair.
The wind held for races three and four, but the racecourse was evening out with gains to be made up both sides of the course. These changing conditions made Pickles and Sharman’s wins in these two races even more impressive. Somerville and Roberts were showing consistency with a second in race three ahead of Nick Hunt and Alex Oyston (Tynemouth SC), and then in race 4 it was Jacob Ainsworth and Kayliegh Roberts (Tynemouth SC) turn to follow Pickles/Sharman over the line ahead of Gledhill/Southwell.
After four races in three and a half hours, the fleet headed for shore to tape up blisters and a bit of relaxation and food in the bar before those with any remnants of energy moved/danced/staggered to the live band.
In the morning the early rain stopped as the fleet headed out for the start of race 4. With the wind blowing from Bass Lakes’ preferred direction, a south easterly force three to four, the race team set a two-mile windward leeward course. The course was gradually reduced during the day as the wind dropped, but the larger course made for more space for the 63 boats on the water.
Pickles/Sharman continued their master class by winning races 4 and 5, but not before being challenged hard by Charlie and Caroline Exley (Bassenthwaite SC), who were enjoying their last mother and son moment before Charlie went away to University that night. They pushed hard in both races and only lost the lead in race 5 in the last few lengths to the finish line. Behind them Gledhill and Southwell were third in both races.
In race 5 Tim and Jess Hall (Port Dinorwic SC) made the early running before being overhauled by Gledhill/Southwell, who held on to take the win less than half a boat length in front of Pickles/Sharman with the Exleys taking third. In the final race of the weekend Pickles/Sharman had yet another win ahead of Gledhill/Southwell and Hunt/Oyston.
As the fleet headed ashore battered and bruised credit must be given to PRO and former RS400er Paul Allen for turning round the eight races with minimum delays.
Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman were the clear winners, and second overall in GNAC, with Hamish Gledhill and Ross Southwell second and Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts third.,
As usual this was a great event with very tight sailing in the RS400 fleet. A quick glance of the results shows there is close racing from the front to the back of the fleet, which is a great reason to join the fleet on the Northern Tour next year.
At the prize giving Trident UK vouchers were presented to the first three boats.
Thanks to Trident UK for their sponsorship again this year.
Photos: William Carruthers https://bassenthwaite-sc.org.uk/photo-gallery-gnac-2023/?fbclid=IwAR0oUXDPblcnYPdt1Yv_7Azkhj0n6mCG3V9YWkd-fxVAnlnIG77uISOYrFY
Full results available at: