There was a great turnout of more than 30 boats for this year’s GNAC. 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!
Photographs from throughout the weekend taken by Peter Makin can be seen at https://www.pdmphoto.co.uk/GNAC-2018