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Icicle Race at Harlow (Blackwater) Sailing Club

by John Wilmott 23 Jan 20:07 GMT 21 January 2023
Harlow Blackwater Icicle Race © John Wilmott

Light winds provided a tactical challenge for the 2023 Blackwater Icicle open race, this year hosted by Harlow Blackwater Sailing Club on January 21 at Maylandsea, Essex.

The event - postponed from its usual post-Christmas slot because of foul weather - saw twelve finishers from six different clubs. Temperatures were below freezing and the breeze was 6 knots at best, so the course was confined to Lawling Creek.

First across the start line was Piers Lambert (Brightlingsea SC) in his Merlin Rocket, crewed by Pete Nicholson, closely followed by Charlie Matthews (Royal Corinthian Yacht Club) in his Blaze and the Solos of Mark Maskell (Blackwater SC) and Paul Aldridge (Brightlingsea).

At the windward mark, Piers Lambert was starting to pull out a substantial lead. When the tide turned halfway back up the creek, the fleet had to choose between the north side of the river with more wind but risk crossing the tide to finish, or the south side with less wind.

Only the Solos of Mark Maskell and Paul Aldridge chose the north side. Keith Gilmore (Harlow Blackwater SC) in his Blaze and the two Kestrels helmed by Paul Gray (Maylandsea Bay SC) and Howie Enkel (MBSC) on the south side were gaining on Piers Lambert as the wind filled in from behind.

The Lasers of James Hutton-Penman (RCYC), Adam Prior (RCYC) and Nick Peel (RCYC) were also benefiting from the late breeze as the fleet started to close up.

Mark Maskell chose his moment to cross the tide to perfection, finishing third across the line and beating Piers Lambert by 33 seconds on handicap. Paul Aldridge also benefited from sailing up the north shore to finish in third place.

Results:

1. Mark Maskell - Solo - Blackwater SC
2. Piers Lambert/Pete Nicholson - Merlin Rocket - Brightlingsea SC
3. Paul Aldridge - Solo - Brightlingsea SC
4. James Hutton-Penman - Laser Radial ILCA 6 - Royal Corinthian YC
5. Charlie Matthews - Blaze - RCYC
6. Adam Prior - Laser ILCA 7 - RCYC
7. Nick Peel - Laser ILCA 7 - Burnham SC
8. Paul Gray/Craig Beech - Kestrel - Maylandsea Bay SC
9. Keith Gilmore - Blaze - Harlow Blackwater SC
10. Nathan Flynn - Laser Radial ILCA 6 - RCYC
11. Howie Enkel/Danni Tebbutt - Kestrel - MBSC
12. Phil Spillane - Hadron H2 - MBSC

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