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The Icicle Race at Harlow (Blackwater) Sailing Club

by Alan Jackson 4 Jan 2006 07:04 GMT 2 January 2006

A 12 o’clock start gave some of the nineteen lesser alcoholic compromised sailors a chance to turn up early and polish their boat bottoms and straighten out burgees, play with string, eat bacon rolls and pretend it was quite warm under grey skies in a miserable light drifting breeze from North of North. The mud coated with the customary flocks of wadding birds and odd bits of what looked like Christmas pudding glistened in the sounds of what became a late but speedy tide. The event was run from the Maylandsea SC start line this year with the Race Box in the Hands of Bill Wright, the conditions gave no pleasure or sign of what was to follow. With the competitors gathering and keen to go racing the course was set into the Blackwater Bermudan Triangle (brave on account of the boats, indeed fleets of boats lost in it for day at a time) a most disappointing patch of water on the wrong day.

The worthy winners Mr Martin Scarfe and Nigel Sheppard sailing a Fireball could do no wrong, sailing out the start well and seeing of the other Fireballs and a late charge from the Merlin fleet sail the course and rounded Steeple race mark 3rd on PY numbers with a windward leg against the tide to the finish. Martin now pulled his Christmas Cracker with the tree fairy in it and left the fleet in a trail of tinsel, cracking baubles, party poppers and against the odds pulled out a 28 and half minute lead to be in and out the showers and in the galley supping an oddly warming brew of tea with more than a little Christmas cheer on very smiley faces.

In second place Mick Wright and Paul Mander sailing a RS200 wining the start and making no error, sailed a good race with a brilliant beat to the finish in a wind that failed shortly after the start and was nothing more than a rumour at the finish beating the odds.

Third place went to Alan Jackson and Lorna Lavel-Chesterton sailing a Merlin Rocket finding the start too exciting, planted the foils well and turkey in the mud bank to the north end of the line and waited for the fleet to leave the area before joining in. Jacko now with maxed out for favour points spent the race time trying to pull the magic bunny out the jam pot, leaving a trail of other’s disasters around the course and well pulled the hat down to protect the ear holes, was lucky not to be too verbally bashed up by the less than understanding front end.

Fourth place fell to Chris Roberts sailing a Phantom. If there had been an empty Christmas plonk prize then Chris won it hands down, arriving too early at the start, piling into Jacko’s mud bank to give the fleet a PY’s chance of a result, followed to race mark 4 and went out on a (out the back door) flyer to the north side that would take more than the Christmas Angel to sort out. But, being a drifter and sticking to the task in hand crossed the line 45 minutes plus on a pacing tide, stayed the distance.

The following Hard Nut Crews, Paul Aldridge and Dave O’Reilly - F/B 5th. Graham Ireland – Laser 6th. Dave Griffiths and Paul – RS400 7th. All the other competitors DNF but were in the bar alive and well.

The next sailing event at Harlow (Blackwater) SC is the Wool-Led Hat series Starting Sunday Jan. 15 at 11.10. Races 1 and 2, all comers welcome £2 per day £10 the series.

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