Day 1 of the Great Northern Asymmetric Challenge began in a cold and drizzly fashion with many sailors facing the realisation that the brief summer of 2023 had well untruly passed. However as the competitors arrived and masts went up, the mist over the lake lifted and the sun came out! A short but very useful midday briefing took place outside the race office where those who may not have been as familiar with the SI’s as they perhaps should’ve been learnt of the quirky starting sequence of 4-2-Go which left many “optimum time” watch owners rather baffled. A spreader mark was also added, which in retrospect was a very wise decision.
Due to the Easterly wind direction across the lake the race course was extremely compact, excellent for spectating from the clubhouse, however rather challenging for finding a clear lane out on the race course. Race 1 saw the Scottish boats of Fiona Rigg & Ellen Clarke and Peter Collings & Ali Morrish take the 1,2 and Bass members Phil & Niaomi Smith claim third. The wind picked up slightly for the second race of the day where current Scottish Champion Brendan Lynch & Anna McBestie took the win with Bass boats Phil & Niaomi Smith and Matthew Somerville & Henry Bullen in second and Third. Despite the short course and rather shifty and gusty conditions the first two races ran without a hitch.
The third race saw the first of two black flags for the slow fleet as the difficult starting conditions, by that I mean RS Feva’s and 2000s being in the way, lead to a general recall allowing the competitors who paid attention in the briefing the edge as the start sequence changed from a 4-2-Go to a 3-2-Go. The fourth also suffered the same fait however a delayed restart lead to a rather chaotic start as the RS 400’s where sailing back through the line for their second lap while the slow fleet were in sequence. A breezy final race saw overnight winners Brendan & Anna demonstrate a well-executed Gybe-Capsize on the final downwind and a rather unfortunate pair capsize on the final leeward mark. The standings from the fourth race were as follows Andrew & Alex, Phil & Niaomi, Peter & Ali.
Off the water the sailors recovered from a hard day of racing with an extremely delicious Steak Pie and the wonderful entertainment of the live band ‘Out on Bail’. It can comfortably be said that the 200 sailors led the party being the first to enter and last to leave the dance floor!
Sunday saw a much nicer wind direction with it coming almost directly up the lake. The race committee were very keen to make use of this new found space by providing the sailors with a leg-numbingly long beat to the windward mark. Unfortunately the wind didn’t hold and the fifth race was finished after the first lap. Brendan & Anna took the top spot followed by Andrew & Alex and Fiona & Ellen.
Much to the relief of the competitors the windward mark was brought closer to the start for the sixth race allowing for a two lap race. The first beat remained challenging, due to the narrow width of the lake, starting too far left posed a problem when it came to sailing back across to the as it was almost impossible to find a clear lane on port. The downwinds weren’t immune from difficulty with some sailors choosing to take advantage of the bending wind by the shore and others going for clear air down the centre of the lake. Race six saw Andrew & Alex take first with second going to Brendan & Anna and third place to James & Tom Johnson.
Race seven saw another win for Brendan & Anna with Fiona & Ellen second and Andrew & Alex third while the final race of the weekend went to Fiona & Ellen with Michael & Libby second and Andrew & Alex third.
Overall Third went to Fiona & Ellen, Second to Andrew & Alex and this years RS 200 Northern Champion is Brendan Lynch & Anna McBestie. As far as the overall Northern Tour results stand Martin & Barbara Smith are still in the lead with 12 points, Jon & Heather Ward are in second on 18 points with Ben Dearden & Alice Carter close behind on 19 points. However this could all change at Budworth, the final event of the tour as any one of Chris Pickles, Russell Page or Nigel Pepperdine could potentially snatch the win if they decide to make an appearance!
Photo gallery - https://bassenthwaite-sc.org.uk/photo-gallery-gnac-2023/
Written by Ben Dearden
Photos: William Carruthers https://bassenthwaite-sc.org.uk/photo-gallery-gnac-2023/?fbclid=IwAR0oUXDPblcnYPdt1Yv_7Azkhj0n6mCG3V9YWkd-fxVAnlnIG77uISOYrFY
Full results available at: