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Fishers Green Sailing Club Icicle Race 2022

by Christian Hill 12 Jan 09:42 GMT 9 January 2022

Sunday 9th January saw the first piece of silverware in the FGSC calendar was up for grabs, the very much sort after, the one to win, marvellous Icicle Trophy.

30 club members, 8 different classes, with the biggest fleets being the Merlins (7), Solos (7), Lasers (5), arrived at the green chomping at the bit, and were greeted by a very awkward South Westerly light shifty breeze, a nightmare for the Race Officer team of Colin Hill, Alan Appleton & Alan Hayward, trying to shoehorn in a startline between the islands and shallows which was long enough for 30 boats.

In short the first attempted start resulted in carnage. Everyone being over, people going backwards, true club racing gold.

Take 2, with the line reset, and everyone taking a breath, the second start was relatively incident-free, with only a few boats OCS, all of which went back and as it turned out to great dividend, as they picked up a huge left hand lift, that propelled them to windward mark. One causality of the start and first beat was Graham Sexton in his new Solo 6015 who had clearly left his starting shoes at home.

First round the windward mark was the Merlin 3770 of Jon Steward & Maz Pearson, who were quickly overtaken by his kids, the brother and sister team of Harry & Annabel Steward in Merlin 3575, who would lead the double hander charge throughout the race.

As the rest of the pack descended on the windward mark, those who kept momentum came out on top, namely the single handers Godfrey Clarke in Solo 4801, and the Laser boys Tony Cooper, Mike Atkinson and our lone Aero sailor Blake Newman, who set the early race pace.

After visiting all corners of the lake, in a attempt to spread the fleet out, it was clear those who avoided the big holes would be coming up trumps. Early race leader Blake Newman in Aero 3600 unfortunately found a hole, while Graham Sexton in Solo 6015 somehow, after a shocking start, had hit the front.

This was turning out to be a day for the single handers. Whilst individual battles were taking place all over the race track, it was clear the top spot was between the two Solos.

So after 75 minutes of racing the shortened course flag was raised. Graham Sexton in Solo 6015 led around the final mark with Godfrey Clarke in Solo 4801 closely behind, oh and add a Aero just in front, Graham in 6015 tacked for clean air and the pin end while Godfrey 4801 stayed on and headed for the committee boat end. Call it divine intervention, or skill to sniff out a lift, or maybe good old fashioned luck, Godfrey took the win by a boat length from Graham. The final podium position would be contested by one of three Lasers, but Tony Cooper in Laser 209795 held his nerve to take third.

The racing was so close that we had two dead heats: Nick Pighills in Solo 4471 and Richard Piper in 4571 couldn't be separated as they crossed the line, and the RS400 of Steve Conroy & Hannah Baker tied with the Wineglass of Paul Durbin & Brian Casson on corrected time.

It was menagerie club racing at its best, a tough but great day on the water, a truly hard fought race which no matter where you were during it, was never over. A day of snakes and ladders, which saw the single handers come out on top, shutting out the top five.

Overall Results:

1st Godfrey Clarke, Solo 4801
2nd Graham Sexton, Solo 6015
3rd Tony Cooper, Laser
4th Richard Bettels, Laser
5th Mike Atkinson, Laser

1st double hander, Harry & Annabel Steward, Merlin 3575
1st U18, Jess Cooper, Topper
Endeavour trophy, Alan Hayward for his services to the race management team

Bring on the rest of 2022!

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