Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club Tipsy Icicle Series 2017 – Day 6
by Paul Heath on 13 Feb
12 February 2017
The last three weeks have seen very little wind (last week was abandoned due to there being nothing at all) but this Sunday was a day to remember for maybe too much wind at times. During the first race of the day a gust of 40 knots was recorded although the race average was 17 knots. A bit less for the second race with a gust of 30 knots but an average of 13 knots.
The air temperature was just above freezing so many made the call to stay ashore while, of those 39 boats that did venture out, some later retired either through gear failure or fatigue.
The wind direction allowed the Race Officer to set a course with a long beat followed by, for the non-Asymmetrics, a short run then three fast reaching legs which included three gybe marks. It was never going to be boring.
With series leader Jack Hopkins not sailing this week it was the chance for somebody else to win a race and Patrick Hamilton (Burwain SC) duly obliged. He was one of the very few to keep his boat upright and went on to win by a large margin. Behind him the finishing positions of the chasing pack depended on who capsized least or righted their boat fastest. Paul Heath (LLSC) hung on for a second place with one capsize. Charlotte Greenhalgh (LLSC – Radial), with two capsizes, was third. Glyn Purnell (LLSC – Radial) lost count but sailed on to finish fourth.
It was looking good for series leaders Sam/Mark Platt (Bolton SC) in their GP14 until a gust knocked them flat and led to their retirement. Nick Devereux/Geoff Edwards (Budworth SC – GP14) mastered the conditions to take the lead and the win from the Streaker of Steve Blackburn (WLYC) leaving the Albacore of Mike Banner/Mark Cuthbert (LLSC) in third.
Five Solos started the race but only three finished. First was Brian Sprague (LLSC) with Chris Hels-by (LLSC) second. Third home, after three fully inverted capsize recoveries, was a determined Dave Kelsall.
Three boats started but only two LLSC Toppers finished. Series leader Lorcan Knowles took the win from Brandon Banner.
A near easterly direction allowed for a windward/leeward course for the Asymmetric fleet which saw Paul/Jude Allen (LLSC – RS400) arrive at the windward mark first but they missed a big down-wind gust that Dave Exley/Nigel Hall (LLSC – RS400) picked up and they powered through to take the lead and eventual race win. The Allens hung on to second and Hamish Gledhill/Simon Dowse (West Riding SC – RS400) crossed the line in third but had to settle for fourth overall as Harvey Leigh & crew (LLSC - RS Feva XL) pipped them for third place overall.
Mention must go to series leaders Richard Catchpole/Gary Coop who, having suffered gear failure when their kicker snapped, retired from the race and then took out a safety boat to help the many upturned crews. After a swift repair job they got their just reward in the second race.
A break for hot food, drink and the chance to get warm was well needed and welcomed as Ann and Helen in the galley weaved their magic. It also allowed for boat repairs.
The wind was just as strong at the start of the second race as the crews waited until the last minute to decide whether to do it all again. In the end a reduced fleet went afloat and a few boats had new faces in them replacing tired crews.
There was a recall but only one of the two offending boats returned. The first two boats around the windward mark were those that were OCS namely Graham MacWhirter (UKLA – Radial) and Haydn Griffiths (LLSC) closely followed by Glyn Purnell and Paul Heath. MacWhirter led for a lap until he capsized allowing Griffiths through. After four laps Griffiths crossed the line to silence leaving Heath with the win. Oli Blackburn (LLSC – Radial) passed Gary Knott (Ogston SC) on the last beat and held him off to take third with Hamilton fourth.
Having sat out the first race Gareth Williams (LLSC) took to the water in his RS Aero 7 and he went on to take first place. The Platts stayed upright in this one to finish second while Blackburn was third and Banner/Atherton fourth.
Another race win for Sprague now sees him as the new series leader. After a retirement in the first race Steve Ferrington (WKSC) finished in second with Chris Helsby third.
Only two boats braved this race and Banner took the win. Tom Brindley (LLSC – Laser 4.7) retired in the first race but was second in this one.
With the RS Feva not starting this one the top four places were taken by the RS400s.
Once again the Allens were first around the windward mark but this time Mike crewing as Jude decided to stay ashore to drink tea and eat cake. Again they lost out downwind but this time to Catchpole/Coop (LLSC – RS400) who sailed well to take the win. The Allens scored another second with Exley/Hall in third. The consistent Gledhill/Dowse scoring another fourth and move into second overall in the series.
After a very tiring day it must be said that we all owe a big ‘Thank You’ to the safety boat crews who had their work cut out but dealt with everything admirably.
Results to date can be found at www.llsc.org.uk/LLSC/Results/2017/Tipsy.htm?v=1