LLSC Winter Series Week 4 – another strong turnout
Over 70 boats took part in Week 4 of the Tipsy Icicle Series at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club, after racing never got off the ground last week due to lack of wind. The forecast was for the wind to start in the South and swing around to the West during the day, which was exactly what happened. So, the first race was held around-the-cans with the wind across the lake at around 8 knots while the second was nearly straight down the lake with the OOD team able to set the Asymmetrics a Windward-Leeward course.
The Lasers started the day with a general recall, 25 boats making the start line congested. The restart on a black flag only got away a minute before the Asymmetric fleet came through for their second lap! Drew Gibbons (West Kirby) was well up from the start in his Radial, making the most of the shifts to stay close to the full rigs on the water. He came in first followed by George Graham (Burwain) and Tom Brindley (Redesmere) who had been within a few boat lengths of each other all race. With the wind dropping to 5-6 knots in the second race the radials couldn’t make much of an impression, and George and Tom once again maintained their positions with a very close finish in the same order as the first. This time Paul Heath (LLSC) sailed well to break away from the rest of the pack and pick up 3rd. Drew has pulled out a lead in the series but with the tightness of the racing there is still all to play for.
The Handicap fleet was a little down on numbers this week but all the main contenders were in action and shared the spoils around during the day. Phil Worth (Delph) took full advantage of the reaches on the first race course to pull away from the fleet into clear air and take the victory. Andy Flitcroft (Bolton) sailed consistently all day to finish with two 2nd places, while Steve Blackburn (LLSC) enjoyed the lighter conditions in his Streaker in the last race to win that one comfortably. Of the chasing pack, Mark Cuthbert (LLSC) had a very good 1st race and Martin Tubb (LLSC) sailed his Solution well into 4th place in Race 2. This one is looking like a 3-horse race for the series with the top sailors all within a few points of each other.
The Asymmetric fleet started cleanly in both races for the first time in the series, much to the relief of the race team. The round-the-cans course resulted in tighter reaches than the fleet would have liked but this didn’t stop Dave Exley/Nigel Hall (LLSC) from re-exerting their authority over the fleet, breaking free of the pack on the first lap. Chris Pickles/Mark Lunn (Bassenthwaite) recovered from a slower first lap to take 2nd and Caroline Exley/Andy Dawson (LLSC) wrapped up a good race to take 3rd. The second race was very different with the Windward/Leeward course but the results were much the same, except that this time Stuart Halman/Anna Walsh (LLSC) got themselves in the mix, leading the first lap and finishing 3rd. Of the RS200s, Jon Chapman/Wendy Martin (Budworth) faired the best, coming out on top in both races. These two race wins bring Dave/Nigel to the top of the table overall, with Chris/Mark their nearest rivals a point behind.
A new entrant this week in the form of Matt Sharman (Delph) gave the fleet something to think about. Matt dominated both races, especially the second one in the fading breeze. Nik James (LLSC) found form in the first race to take 2nd place with Tom Welz (LLSC) behind him. Race 2 saw Tom sail away from the chasing pack into second place and Stuart van den Hoek (LLSC) came in 3rd. The series results are extremely tight, Nik holds a slender lead over Tom after a very consistent series so far, but there are several other competitors who could bounce back into contention if they get enough races in.
Another strong junior turnout kept racing close in their fleet. Felix Stewart/Liam Farrell (Windermere) took the bull by the horns to sail their Feva to victory in both races. In Race 1 Llion Morris (Llandudno) beat Jac Bailey (Port Dinorwic) to the line for 2nd. In the second race the Teras of Ffion Bailey (Port Dinorwic) and Ben O’Biren (Elton) made the most of the lighter conditions to beat the other Teras and Llion’s Topper. The junior fleet is wide open for the series to date with no one taking a clear lead.
The Tipsy Icicle series continues next week and every Sunday into the middle of March. If you want competitive racing through the winter to work on your skills then this is the place to come.
Full results available here:
If you want to come along to race on the occasional Sunday then you can pay on the door, but online entries for the series are now closed.
Yachts & Yachting report link here:
All photos by Gerard van den Hoek