A fine start to the Tipsy Icicle Series

70 entries for the first Sunday of the Tipsy Icicle Series at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club made for some great competition across all the fleets.  There was disappointment initially as a fickle 2-3 knot SSE wind greeted the fleet as they launched.  However, with only a couple of minutes left to the Laser warning signal the forecast breeze filtered in from the forecast SW with 8-10 knots.  After relocating the start line for the new breeze the fleet got underway 20 minutes behind schedule. 


It looks like consistency will be the key to winning the Laser fleet this year.  3 of the Lasers went off one minute early, costing them an OCS and no one was able to post 2 podium results on the day.  The handicapping of the Lasers has made a big difference this year with radial sailors Drew Gibbons (West Kirby) and Oliver Blackburn (LLSC) showing the full rigs a clean pair of heels in the first race.  Graham McWhirter (UKLA) held off Patrick Hamilton (Burwain) for 3rd.  In the second race the 3 miscreants from the first race clearly had a point to prove – Stuart Belfield (LLSC) sailed a masterful race to pull out a big lead while George Graham (Burwain) and Paul Heath (LLSC) made amends with a 2nd and 3rd.  Ollie was the most consistent and leads the series.

Close downwind racing in the Lasers


4 of the handicap fleet decided to copy the Laser start and go on off the line while their warning flag was still flying, so the way was left open for the rest of the sailors to make hay: Steve Blackburn (LLSC) always looked a likely winner after an excellent first lap, while the Phantoms of Martin Knott (Ribble) and Phil Worth (Delph) were enjoying the great racing conditions to take the other 2 podium positions, squeezing out the Solution of Martin Tubb (LLSC).  Spurred on by his first race error, Andy Flitcroft (Bolton) won the second race by a clear 2 minutes in his Supernova.  The Phantoms will clearly be hard to beat this season as Martin and Phil came in again in 2nd and 3rd after some really tight racing.  Martin takes a slender lead into week 2.


The Asymmetric fleet decided to test the race officer with a general recall in the first race with half the fleet OCS, but were sedated by the black flag on the restart, getting away cleanly.  Paul and Karen Brotherton (Glossop) looked sharp from the outset in their RS200, chasing the RS400s and Devotis hard on the water for their 1,2 finish for the day.  Bill Kenyon/Sally Haselwood (Budworth) took an early lead in the first, but Chris Pickles/Mark Lunn stretched out a good lead in 400s before Dave Exley/Nigel Hall (LLSC) overhauled them on the last lap.  Caroline Exley/Andy Dawson (LLSC) had their turn at the front in the 2nd race and ended with a 3rd place for their efforts.  The Devotis of Stuart Halman (LLSC) and Martin Spencer (LLSC) jousted closely all day but couldn’t stay close enough to the 400s to make inroads in the top 400s.  Paul/Karen and Dave/Nigel have taken a jump on the others on the first day but there’s a long way to go in the series.


Many of the club’s Solo sailors were on duty for the first racing of the series so only 4 Solos made it to the start line this weekend.  Tom Weiz (LLSC) won a close battle in the first against Malcolm Waddington (LLSC), while in the second Malcom stretched out a good lead in the lightening winds with Chris Helsby (LLSC) this time taking second place.


A good portion of the NW Tera fleet turned out to race this weekend in anticipation of next weekend’s Junior Winter Regatta.  The dominant force was the RS Tera of Ffion Bailey (Port Dinorwic) with 2 bullets for the day.  But the Toppers of Charlotte Cooper (West Lancs) and Chloe Mills (Pennine) were never far adrift with less than a minute separating the leaders in both long races.  In the first race Fflur Pierce (Port Dinorwic came in ahead of Chloe to take third place.  Some very close racing was had in the fleet all day long, an excellent start to the series.

All the competitors made it ashore before dusk, a great start to the series, more to follow next week.

Full results available here:


Y&Y article here:


The Tipsy Icicle Series now continues until early 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 pay on the door for an occasional sail through the winter.

All photos by Gerard van den Hoek