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Allen 29er GP2 at Plas Heli, Pwllheli, Wales

by 29er Class Association 22 Oct 2023 06:09 BST
Allen 29er GP2 at Plas Heli © 29er Class Association

The second 29er UK Class GP of the 2023-24 season was held at Plas Heli in Pwllheli, Wales. Even with it being so far from most peoples' home clubs, there was still an amazing 40 boat turn out.

Saturday gave some difficult conditions, with a very shifty and gusty 20 knots of breeze. Race 1 got away, and the lead changed many times around the first lap, however Charlie Gatehouse sailing with Oscar Morgan-Harris hit the left of the second beat and made a big gain putting them in the lead. The last downwind proved interesting, with a huge gust causing all of the top 5 to overlay the leeward causing most boats to have to drop early. Charlie & Oscar made it ahead of the carnage and managed to win the race, with James Crossley & Amelie Hiscocks just making it in second.

Race 2 provided more of the same, with some big gusts at the leeward marks, creating lots of carnage. James and Amelie won the start, and managed to pick the shifts out, putting them into the lead, with Charlie and Oscar hot on their heels. Downwind was a very one-sided course, with everyone putting in only one gybe, but judging the lay line was difficult with so many gusts.

Race 3 had much the same conditions, with the right paying up the first beat, making it difficult for the boats who started on the pin to come across. James and Amelie got away down the first run, and after picking the shifts well up the beat, came in first. A big gust and the last leeward caused the second and third boats of Henry Keegan & Charlie Hopkinson and Millie Deacon & Tom Armstrong, to capsize. This allowed Alex & Max Sydenham to sail through into second place.

Race 4 had a tricky first beat, with those hitting the corners making big gains on those in the middle. It was close at the first mark, but Charlie & Oscar pulled out into the lead on the run, with Alex & Max close behind. Up the second beat the fleet split, and Charlie & Oscar pulled out into a huge lead hitting the left corner, leaving the other boat behind.

It had been a long hard day and the crews were knackered, but due to the light forecast on Sunday, the race committee decided to run a fifth and final race of the day. The three leaders all came out of the pin, and left made big gains once again, giving them a big gain on the rest of the fleet. Down the first run a few big shifts near the bottom allowed James & Amelie to lead around the leeward gate, with Alex & Max close behind. The last lap was a match race with the lead changing multiple times, but James & Amelie managed to get room at the leeward and won the last race.

Sunday everyone arrived at the sailing club to be met with glassy water, and although at times it seemed to be filling in, it never stabilised. The race committee made an early, and sensible call to cancel racing early for the day.

The overall top 3 results were tight, with just 4 points separating them. James Crossley and Amelie Hiscocks won the event with just 5 points. Charlie Gatehouse and Oscar Morgan-Harris were just 2 points behind having not finished a race outside the top 3. Alex and Max Sydenham finished third counting just three 2nd and one 3rd.

Laura Elms and Jess Charlesworth's finished first girl after putting together an impressive series and coming fifth overall in big breeze. Second girls were Kitty and Lily O'halloran, and in third were Emily Conan and Hannah Dadley-Young, who came all the way from Ireland.

The junior prizes were the same as at GP1, with Jac Bailey and Ben Sinfield winning. Dirk Rogers and William McEwen came second despite their main halyard snapping at the start of the day, causing them to miss the first race. Freya Hutchinson and Joanna Macalister finished up in third.

Thank you very much to Allen for sponsoring the event and providing the prizes, and to all the volunteers for making it happen.

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