Snakes & Ladders for Week 7 of Tipsy Icicle

A game of snakes and ladders unfolded on a bright winter’s day at the Tipsy Icicle Series, the UK’s biggest dinghy winter series – the 7th week’s racing on Sunday 18th February. The wind turned in a patchy SSE 4-6 knots, gusting 10, for Race 13 of the series and a little less for the following race. Competitors were constantly looking over their shoulders for pressure and nothing was being taken for granted in the shifting winds.

60 boats on the water (143 have taken part in the series so far) kept the Committee boat busy, added to by a general recall on the 1st handicap start and a number of OCS calls during the day. The wind kept swinging further south on occasions to making the committee boat end favoured from time to time, adding the competitors’ dilemmas on which end to start.

Photos on this page courtesy of Stephen Booth

Jack Hopkins (Delph) continues to dominate the series, taking 2 bullets on this occasion. Behind him Tim Keithley (West Riding), George Graham (LLSC) and Patrick Hamilton (Burwain) battled it out for the other podium places. George and Ceridwen Bell (LLSC) made life harder for themselves with OCS scores in the second race. Jack and Tim now have their noses out in front in the series and with 3 weeks left to run, time is running out for any other challengers.

Once again Steve Blackburn (West Lancs) showed how well he can make a Streaker go in the light winds, cementing his place at the top of the series leaderboard with a 1,2 finish for the day. Mark Knott (Ribble) kept his chances alive in the series with a bullet in the first race, while Andy Flitcroft (Bolton) and Chris Bows (LLSC) picked up a couple of 3rd places. John and Nikki Carlin (West Kirby) sailed an excellent last race in their Albacore to claim a 2nd place and move them up the leaderboard.

Richard Catchpole/Gary Coop (LLSC) and Chris Pickles/Mark Lunn (Delph) shared the top 2 positions for the day in what has become a 3-way battle for the series. Jon Chapman/Wendy Martin (Budworth) found conditions to their liking in their RS200 and came home with an excellent 2,3 for their efforts. There were a number of ding-dong battles going on behind for 4th spot, but Stuart Halman/Andy Dawson (LLSC) won out in the end on both occasions.

The solos are bunching at the front of the fleet in the series, but Brian Sprague (LLSC) is clinging on to his lead, including one bullet this weekend. David Tunnicliffe (RYA) notched up two 2nd places to bring him a step closer to Brian. Innes Armstrong (Burwain) may have endangered his chances with an OCS in race 1 but did what he could to recover this in race 2 with a win. The series remains wide open….

All the top contenders were back from travels and squad training for this weekend, making it an interesting mix at the front of the fleet. Ben Welfare (LLSC) sailed brilliantly in his Optimist to take the best results of the day with a 1,2 finish. Noe Peckham (LLSC) was the best of the Toppers on the day, winning the final race to go top of the leaderboard, while Thomas Fielding-Link (LLSC) kept the series close with a consistent 2,3. Ben’s results this weekend have put him in the top 3 mix for the series with the 2 leading toppers so the final weeks will be very interesting. Leah Fidling (LLSC) continues to sail very well and may yet get herself into the top 3.

3 weeks to go in the series – no fleets decided, many of them close at the top…….

Full results available here:

The Tipsy Icicle Series continues until March 11th every Sunday, series entries are now closed but competitors can still turn up and pay on the day.