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Marlow Ropes Tipsy Icicle Series at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club - Day 6

by Richard Catchpole 12 Feb 2019 09:52 GMT 10 February 2019

After weeks of no wind, too much wind and ice had curtailed racing in the Marlow series the weather gods were finally kind(ish) as competitors were treated to 16-26 knots of breeze straight down the lake for 3 consecutive races.

It was hairy conditions for all and there were thrills and spills aplenty across the day with 68 boats in the first race but only 30 making the final start line of the day. The OOD team and rescue had plenty of work to do as the asymmetric fleet were lapping in 8 minutes and mast tips were touching the water on many occasions!

The 25-strong Laser fleet, full of talented sailors, was first away. Garry Knott (Pennine) showed the fleet a clean pair of heels in the first race, followed by Tim Keighley (West Riding) and Graham McWhirter (UKLA). Having preserved her brand new sail in Race 1 by coming in after one lap, Charlotte Greenhalgh (LLSC) came in on fire to take the bullet in Race 2 from Ollie Blackburn (LLSC) and Garry. Garry resumed his position at the front in Race 3, this time George Graham (LLSC) and Charlotte. A good mix of results and great racing.

In the Handicap fleet, the lead was tightly contested with only seconds splitting some of the finishers. Mark Platt (Bolton) got the first, while the ever improving Julia West/Joe Hartigan (LLSC) got the bit between their teeth in the last two to take the bullets, leaving them first on the series leaderboard. Andy Flitcroft (Bolton) notched up a couple of podium positions and Steve Blackburn (LLSC) couldn't quite get his nose in front on the day but was consistently in the top 3.

Both Bill Kenyon/Ben Swainson (Budworth) and Steve Dawson/Tash de la Fuente (LLSC) had good starts to lead the fleet at the first mark, but experience told in the taxing conditions and the re-established team of Dave Exley/Nigel Hall (LLSC) gave a masterclass in the testing conditions. While they could not be caught in any of the races, they were some good battles behind with Chris Pickles/Matt Sharman (Delph) and Richard Catchpole/Gary Coop sharing the spoils in 2nds and 3rds. Some great survival instinct and tactical awareness were needed to make the best of the conditions.

Philip Barnes (Budworth) dominated the proceedings in the Solo fleet with a clean sweep on the day in conditions clearly to his liking. Dave Tunnicliffe (RYA) was next best placed with a couple of 2nds and Nik James (LLSC) held on to 2nd place in the overall standings with a couple of podium positions. Many of the sailors decided enough was enough after the first race, with Andy Fox (LLSC) and Martin Brennan (Hollingworth) taking home a podium position each to get them on their way for the series.

The juniors had a great day on the water with half a dozen venturing onto the water in what became very difficult conditions. The third race became a non-counter as only one Topper made it to the start line. Noe Peckham (LLSC) came out of the blocks fast with a great display of windy weather sailing to take two bullets from John Bridgeman (LLSC). Daisy Fisher (Hollingworth) claimed two 3rds to put her in the mix overall.

What a great way to finally get this series properly under way! With 3 races per day and an earlier start time of 11.30 now scheduled through the rest of the series, many of the missed races should be caught up, look forward to some great action in the coming weeks.

Many thanks to Gerard van den Hoek who provided some great photos of the day.

Series results to date can be found at

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