Marlow Ropes Icicle Series Week 9 – unpredictable weather conditions keep competitors guessing
Sailors were surprised to be drifting around the lake for the first race of the day when the predicted southerly wind died away to practically nothing after a couple of starts had got away. OOD Mike Baldwin and team had just enough wind to give everyone a lap of racing, except for the juniors who were shortened after just 3 legs were complete. Everyone was relieved to see the breeze fill in from the east during lunch and after some shifting of marks two good races were held in the afternoon in 5-8 knots, even requiring some hiking out at times!
The Lasers were better behaved this week on the start line although one had to return from an early jump. Garry Knott (Pennine) was impeccable again, knotching up 3 wins and clinching the series with 2 weekends remaining, a great achievement with the other talents around on the water. Howard Green (LLSC) showed his light weather skills, leading at times before adding a 2,3 combination to pull himself up the overall rankings. Paul Heath (LLSC) and George Graham (LLSC) both had good days with a 2nd place each, while Graham McWhirter (UKLA) hit two podium positions after skipping the drifter.
Steve Blackburn (LLSC) nudged back into the series lead after winning two races, now tied on points with Mark Platt (Bolton), who had all the 2’s. Andy Flitcroft was the other major contender on the day, winning one and never dropping out of the top 3. These 3 will battle out the final positions over the next couple of weekends. Alan Burton-Roberts/Alex Pilkington (Gresford/Bolton) started the day well in their Merlin with a 3rd place but were unfortunately put their nose over the line right in front of the committee boat on a black-flagged start in the last.
The Asymmetric Fleet were so excited by the prospect of a windward-leeward course in Race 2 that they had to be recalled, and even on the black flag restart everyone was tight to the line, all looking to get the early advantage. Richard Catchpole/Gary Coop (LLSC) claimed the first race, but Dave Exley took over the pacesetter role in the later two races. The finishes in Race 2/3 were all very tight with boats finishing within a few seconds of each other, great racing! Hamish Gledhill/Simon Dowse (West Riding) marked their return to the fleet from injuries by hitting the podium in all 3 races. The series is still open for 3 teams to win it, watch this space…..
Nik James (LLSC) clearly reveled in these conditions with a 1,3,1 to make the most of the day while Steve Ferrington (West Kirby) kept in touch, winning Race 2. Chris Helsby (LLSC) and Dave Kelsall (LLSC) drifted patiently to be well-positioned in the first race.
The top 4 juniors were all in action this weekend. Thomas Link (LLSC) took the first with a whole leg lead in the light conditions. Ben Welfare enjoyed the moderate breezes in the 2nd and 3rd races to take a bullet in both, sailing his Optimist to good effect on handicap against the Toppers. Daisy Fisher (Hollingworth) dropped back some points in the overall standings this week but still leads the series overall – this one is going to go down to the wire!
Full results can be found at:
The Marlow Tipsy Icicle Series continues next week, still at the earlier start time of 11.30am with 3 races planned to make up the lost races earlier in the series.