Green Lane off Sandy Lane, Lowton, Greater Manchester, WA3 1BQ
Week 7 in the GJW Direct Insurance sponsored Tipsy Icicle Winter Series at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club welcomed back the Topper and Laser sailors who were missing last weekend due to squad/training commitments as well as some old and new faces. All were greeted by bright sunshine and a gusty F2-4 ESE wind. This weekend there were 67 boats on the water which included 12 boats joining us for the first time in the series taking the total number of boats that have taken part in the series so far to 157.
As usual the race team for the day consisted of PRO Peter Baldwin and his assistants both on the committee boat and in the rescue crafts. On shore the competitors and spectators were fed and watered by the galley crew of Helen and Ann.
Once again the fifteen boat Asymmetric fleet were first away and had to make do with sailing around the ‘cans’ this weekend. With the Allen Sisters and Exley/Hall away this weekend it gave Hamish Gledhill/Simon Dowse (RS400/West Riding) a chance to close the gap but he didn’t count on the three high flying RS200’s of Tony Taylor/Sarah Tyson (Budworth SC), Louise Mckeand/Cathy Partington (LLSC) and Niki Birrell/Laura Woosey (RYA). Tony & Sarah scored a 1 & 4 while Louise & Cathy scored 3 & 3. Niki & Laura took second in the first race and returning after a 3 week absence and looking to make a late charge in the series Chris Pickles/Matt Sharman (RS400/Delph SC) won the last race leaving Gledhill/Dowse with a 4 & 5.
The seventeen strong Laser fleet were next away and this saw some close ‘nip and tuck’ racing between the current series leader Andy Stott (LLSC) who eventually came out on top with a 1 & 1 and Graham Macwhirter (UKLA) with a 2 & 2. Tom Ditchburn (Budworth SC) had a good day with a 3 & 4 while Jack Hopkins (Delph SC) having failed to finish the first race scored a 3 in race 2 of the day.
In the handicap fleet start forty boats, which included 14 from the junior fleet and 9 from the Solo fleet, took to the start line. In race 1 there was an individual recall while in race 2, after a general recall, the black flag was broken out. Both races in the handicap fleet were dominated both on the water and on handicap by Ed Thomas (Phantom/Pilkington SC) who came away with two bullets while chasing hard and sailing well were Gareth Williams/Jen Williams (National 12/LLSC) with two seconds. The bright sunshine and warmth appear to have brought out from hibernation the lesser seen Jez Entwistle (Phantom/LLSC) who although a bit rusty managed a joint third in the first race and a fourth in race 2. Christian Day/Sophie Richards (National 12/LLSC) suffered boat trouble but shared the 3rd place in race 1 and finished 5th in race 2 but still maintain their overall lead. A welcome new comer to the fleet was Mike Banner/Kay Woods (Albacore/Winsford Flash SC) with impressive boat speed to finish with a 6 & 3.
In the Solo fleet it was a return to the fleet for the first time this series to Alan Catto (LLSC) who went on to win race one. Second was the consistent Steve White (LLSC) and third the equally consistent Steve Ferrington (West Kirby SC) In race two Paul Heath (LLSC) took the bullet followed home by Steve White, Steve Ferrington with Alan Catto fourth.
It’s all very close at the top of the junior fleet with every point counting so it looks like it will go to the wire. The fourteen strong junior fleet saw normal service resumed as the top contenders returned from their travels. Both races were hard fought with Hayden Griffiths (Topper/LLSC) scoring a 1 & 2 while Oliver Blackburn (Topper/LLSC) scoring a 3 & 1 to keep him on top of the leader board. Tom Wallwork (Topper/Redesmere SC) scored a 2 & 3 to keep him in touch while in race 1 the ever improving Olivia Cuthbert (Topper/LLSC) scored a 4th, her best result of the series in a very strong fleet.
Once again it was another fantastic day on the water and the club would once again like to say a big thank you to all the visitors and members for coming, to everyone who helped to run the day and to our sponsor GJW Direct Insurance. The series continues next week end for round eight of ten and we would like to see you there. – visit http://www.llsc.org.uk for the results and further information on Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club.
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