First weekend of the Tipsy Icicle gets off to a champagne start

Tipsy Icicle Week 1 – Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club

After a great junior regatta on Saturday in near perfect conditions, competitors were disappointed on Sunday to come down to see a fickle Northerly ghosting across the lake for the first Sunday of the Tipsy Icicle Series on 8th January. But at 11.00 the “Lake Garda” effect kicked in and the promised 8 knots kicked in from the East and the breeze carried on building to a 12 knot average for the day with up to 16 knots in the gusts. Not a cloud was seen all day in chilly champagne conditions!

80 competitors made for very competitive racing throughout the 5 fleets.  Introducing a separate leeward mark for the asymmetric boats has improved the course layout for all competitors. Peter Baldwin and team made the most of the conditions with some great courses and Ann and Helen worked hard in the galley to keep everyone fuelled up! Boats travelled from across the North West as usual to participate in this very popular winter series.

The 18-strong Laser fleet were first away with Jack Hopkins (Delph) making the most of the conditions to score 2 bullets. There was a tussle behind for the other podium positions; George Graham (LLSC) and Tim Keithley (West Riding) ended with a 2nd and 3rd apiece. Charlotte Greenhalgh (LLSC) recovered from an over the line start in race 1 to end up 4th in the overall standings, with Stuart Belfield in 5th.

This fleet provided the best entertainment for the spectators in the clubhouse with a number succumbing to the breezy conditions in Race 1 with a quick swim!! A full range of boats from Albacore through Blazes, Streakers, RS Aeros to Phantoms took part in handicap fleet. Steve Blackburn (West Lancs) took charge in his Streaker in the conditions to take 2 bullets, with Andy Flitcroft (Bolton) 2nd in both in his Supernova. Steve Hunt and Ruth Crtitchley (Pilkinton) in their Merlin wrapped up the 3rd places with Steve Dawson (LLSC) in 4th overall as the first Phantom.

Sam Cooper and Simon Hall (West Lanc/West Kirby) gave a demonstration in asymmetric sailing in the first race, dominating from start to finish in their 29er, they could not repeat the feat in the second race in the slightly lighter wind. Dave Exley and Nigel Hall (LLSC) were the best RS400 on the water and finished as series leaders with a 1,2 while Richard Catchpole and Gary Coop (LLSC) made some late gains in both races to pip Hamish Gledhill and Simon Dowse (West Riding) and Caroline Exley and Jo Hartigan (LLSC) for their two 3rd places, Hamish picking up 2nd in the last race after leading for a long while in the game of snakes and ladders!

9 boats took to the water in the Solos. Brian Sprague had the best of the day with a 1,2 for his efforts, but he was given close attention by David Tunnicliffe (RYA) and Steve Ferrington (West Kirby), with David winning the last race. Tom Weiz (LLSC) finished with 2 solid 4th places. This should be a tight fleet all the way through the winter.

Toppers led out the fleet in the Junior Fleet gaining the top 3 positions in the series rankings after a day of good breeze. Noe Peckham (LLSC) beat Thomas Fielding-Link (LLSC) on the day, both sharing out the 1st places and Llion Morris (Llundudno) coming in behind them. Ending in 4th place overall was Ben Welfare (LLSC) in his Optimist after gaining a 3rd place in the first race.

A fantastic start to the series. Roll on next week when we will take to the water again to test our mettle against the best in the North West.

Full results available here:

The Tipsy Icicle Series now continues on until March every Sunday, for those still thinking of join in the series, online entries are still open through the link below for another week:

Or you can enter on the day for an occasional sail through the winter.