Event Report - Allen GP1 at WPNSA

24 September 2020

With a 238-day gap between events, everyone was excited to head to Portland and WPNSA for the Allen GP 1. In what would be a thrilling return to racing, strong winds all weekend meant there would be plenty of action for the 74-boat fleet.

Waiting to launchToo much wind on Saturday morning led to a short postponement. However, the wind soon died to a gusty 16 knots, and out the fleet went. An unusual wind direction from the North East caused some steep chop at the line helping to keep the eager fleet back; the first start got off quickly and sailors quickly began racing towards the top mark. It was a boat speed type of day as the strong winds made any manoeuvres costly, but the trend was to head middle left.

The first race was won by 2982 (Tom Storey/Ben Willett) in yellow and blue was claimed by 2905 (Elodie Edwards/Ewan Wilson. 2982 (Tom/Ben) continued their success with a win in race two but in blue 2898 (Aled Llewellyn-Jones/Ben Bradley) took first. There was no stopping 2982 as they had a third win and in blue fleet 2900 (Ben Mueller/Freddie Lonsdale) took first. Finally 2327 (Charlie Gran/Emily Covell) prevented Tom Storey and Ben Willett from winning the fourth and final race of the day whilst in blue fleet 2900 (Ben Mueller/Freddie Lonsdale) gained their second win for the day.

Overnight leaders were 2982 (Tom Storey/Ben Willett) after an impressive 3 firsts and 1 second. Close behind and on equal points were 2900 (Ben Mueller/Freddie Lonsdale) and 2905 (Elodie Edwards/Ewan Wilson) with 5 points. Top girls overnight were 2344 (Annie Hammett/Jess Jobson) with 2661 Monique Vennis-Ozanne/Abi Campbell in second and 2753 Sian Talbot/Maddie Bristow in third.

Social distancing meant that usual social events were cancelled but after a tiring day many sailors were grateful for the early night.

Sunday saw fleets split into Gold and Silver and a slightly lighter forecast was welcomed by almost every sailor. But when the fleet launched, it was just as windy as Saturday. The wind was slightly further left than Saturday but otherwise the days were similar- sunny and windy.

Gold fleet got off quickly after an all clear start, exciting action at the gate meant that it was difficult to tell who the leaders were, but eventually 2898 (Aled Llewellyn-Jones/Ben Bradley) finished on top. In Silver fleet 2796 (Emma James/Oliver Fellows) won the race.

The second race of the day was just as windy and 2966 (Leo Wilkinson/Sam Jones) got their first win of the event whilst in Silver 1356 (James Clarke/Noah Fitzgerald) won. The third race for Silver fleet was delayed to prevent the fleets from running into each-other as Gold rounded the gate, ultimately 2905 (Elodie/Ewan) won and in Silver 2478 (Rob Mawdsley/Ollie Mears) crossed the line first in their debut 29er class event.

Prize winnersWhilst the Gold fleet waited for Silver to finish their race, the wind died to a comfortable 13 knots. The Gold fleet, eager to start, had a general recall. The black flag soon followed but unphased 2898 (Aled Llewellyn-Jones/Ben Bradley) and 2966 (Leo Wilkinson/Sam Jones) achieved excellent starts from the pin end. Eventually 2966 came out on top to win the race and 938 (Blake/Brett Tudor) won the race in silver.

Congratulations to Elodie/Ewan for winning the event and first mixed with consistent results- top 2 in 6 races. Tom Storey/Ben Willett for coming second with an impressive number of firsts. Ben Mueller/Freddie Lonsdale finished third. First girls were 2344 Annie Hammett/Jess Jobson with 2753 Sian Talbot/Maddie Bristow second and 2234 Emily Mueller/Flo Brellisford were third. First juniors were 2292 Issy Leetch/Solomon Wilby and second juniors were 2545 Jamie Gatehouse/Oscar Morgan-Harris with third juniors 2022 Kate Newman/Rudy Barr. Second mixed were 2695 Flo Peters/Freddie Wood and third mixed was 2327 Charlie Gran/Emily Covell. Silver fleet winners were 938 Blake & Brett Tudor.

Great job to all the competitors for racing in the tough conditions.

Thanks so much to all at WPNSA for hosting us and to the Class for organising a fantastic event in these challenging times. Big shout out to Allen for sponsoring us and providing great prizes.

It was great to see such a busy event with lots of new faces racing. Looking forward to GP 2 in Weymouth in October.

Ben Mueller