Pwllheli SC hosted Harken 29er Grand Prix 5 on the May Bank Holiday weekend. Saturday saw sailors gradually arriving, with some taking advantage of the sunny weather and steady (if light breeze) to do a bit of sailing.
The threat of thunderstorms meant that the start was brought forwards, and although first thing on Sunday the wind was very light, a weather system moving off Snowdonia brought much stronger south-easterly winds and chop by the time the fleet launched. In the stronger wind Luke and Ewan Gribbin started well with two bullets, but a mixture of difficult chop leading to capsizes in boat handling and increasingly unstable breeze caused by large rain clouds (although the thunder held off) meant that the last three races were won by three different boats, race 3 by Nick Walters and Joe Bradley, race 4 by Ollie Evans and Toby Atherton and race 5 by Pierce Harris and Alfie Cogger. Winning the last race on day 1 mean that Pierce and Alfie counted four top four results to put the first overnight, followed by Ewan and Luke in second and Sam Cooper and Simon Hall in third.
Monday was a much lighter day on the water. After some general recalls the fleet finally started race 6 under the threat of a black flag in a light westerly breeze, and Pierce and Alfie built up a big lead, only to have the race abandoned as the wind died completely and then filled in from the north. However, once the breeze filled in they won the restarted race anyway, and two other top three results on Monday put them in first (as well as first juniors). Ollie and Toby sailed a near perfect second day with a 2, 1, 1 to put them in second overall, and Luke and Ewan hung on to third. Hannah Roberts-Straw and Jess Nelson were first girls, ahead of Elodie Edwards and Amy Bale. First mixed boat was Alice Senior and Toby Cope.
Congratulations to Pierce and Alfie, who sailed consistently at the front of the fleet across a wide wind range to give them a deserved win. Thanks to Pwllheli SC, who hosted a great event, to everyone who came despite exams, to the race committee and all of the other volunteers, and to Harken for donating some great prizes. The next GP is at Royal Torbay Yacht Club on July 14th/15th, hopefully the English Riviera will deliver good conditions for the last GP before the Nationals!