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Icicle Trophy 2024 at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Christian Hill 18 Jan 22:05 PST 7 January 2024
Fishers Green Icicle Trophy 2024 © Angie Meyer

28 boats assembled at Fishers Green Sailing Club to stake claim to the first trophy race of the year, the much sort after beautiful Icicle Trophy.

With conditions nearly prefect, the race management team of young gun Graham Sexton and the vastly experienced Alan Hayward set a tight race track, with two true taxing beats, and with all off wind legs kite-able, so something for everyone and anyone to claim the title of FGSC Icicle race winner 2024.

The competitive fleet, full of past winners and new wannabes, took to the race track. The pin end was the place to be, and thankfully the fleet got away cleanly. Mike Atkinson Laser won the pin and went on the charge, A short dash to the windward mark saw 3 Merlin Rockets at the top: 3799 Paul Rayson/Christian Hill rounding first, shortly followed by Wembley guests 3702 Duncan Salmon/Ruth, and father and son teaming up again for a shot at the title, Jon/Harry Steward 3575.

Then came the marauding, rampaging armada of 25 other competitors, trying to find clear air and safe passage. Add the strategically placed race island in the middle of the downwind leg, forcing competitors to make the decision to go left or right, and things got very close and interesting.

Leading the charge of the Solo fleet was Nick Pighills 5249, and representing the Laser Radials Simon Williams, who had his nose in front. Birthday boy Blake Newman in his Aero 6 had high hopes for a shot at the title but was an early casualty after a dip in the icy waters and called it a day.

As ever, finding clean air in the mid-fleet melee was key. Mike Atkinson's Laser had the hammer down trying to keep the fleet of 10 Merlins in eyesight, while trying to put as much space between him and various other title contenders like Wembley GP14 team Steve Cooper & Liz Guest who were putting in a great shout.

Space on the race course was at a premium with no time to rest on one's laurels. A missed windshift would prove costly, as many found out trying to navigate the tricky shifty conditions of FGSC.

A tricky gybe mark also caught a few more out as fatigue took its toll. As the fleet spread out and the minimum one-hour race length quickly approached, Mike Atkinson in his Laser had done enough to keep the Merlins at bay. The shortened course flag was raised and a last mad dash to the line saw the battle weary competitors straining every last sinew. Luckily it was a short journey to the shore where a real sense of sailing club spirit was shown as everyone helped each out at the congested slipway.

11 different classes were on show, the biggest fleets being 10 Merlins, 8 Solos and a wonderful mixture of vessels in-between: an RS300, Cadet, GP14 and Streaker to name a few.

A great day all round, and Tony Cooper's knee survived its first outing after surgery, Sam White survived many swims learning to get to grips with the RS300.

Competitors and guests were treated to a wonderful curry created by Naina, while the race team crunched the numbers, and with that a new name would be etched on the impressive Icicle Trophy, that of Mike Atkinson in his Laser by 43 seconds for a well-earned deserved victory.

1st Laser 195812 Mike Atkinson
2nd Merlin 3799 Paul & Christian
3rd Merlin 3575 Jon & Harry

Many thanks to the race management team and rescue boat teams who had a busy start to the year.

Also, Angie Meyer for the great photos and Naina for a wonderful curry.

Until next year where your author will try yet again to get his hands on the elusive trophy.

A wonderful start to the year. Looking forward to more of the same at the Green for the rest of 2024.

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