Icicle Trophy 2000

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Brentwood, 3 December 2000

[The report appears in Yachts and Yachting, December 2000.]

The weather was near-perfect for the 29 International One Meter radio sailors gathered at Fitzwilliams Farm to contest one of the longest-established IOM trophies in the UK.  Pleasant wintry sunshine was only interrupted by a brief shower in the early afternoon.  The wind built from a light 1 to 2 knot breeze to peak at about 4 knots with the rain and then fell back to 2 to 3 knots towards the end of the day, while holding a consistent southerly direction that would just occasionally back and veer 20 to 30 degrees.

Malcolm Schaffer asked for our indulgence because it was his first major event as Race Officer, and then proceeded to run a very well-managed and slick event that would have done justice to the most seasoned and experienced of RO’s.  In particular, not a single protest was lodged over the 20 heats as the event progressed at a perfect pace.  The skippers were organised into two fleets, “B” and “A”, which sailed in that order.  With the Equal Opportunities Racing System in use, the top four in “B” earned immediate promotion to the “A” heat, while the bottom four in “A” were demoted into “B” for the next race.

The seeding heats and early races saw me bolt off to three straight wins, with front runners including Malcolm Harris, Mark Dennis, and John Henningham well placed to exploit any opportunities.  Conditions on the water developed one or two interesting swirls as the wind picked up and blew through and around the surrounding trees.  Paul Galea, newly-established as the Brentwood club’s IOM champion for 2000, several times found his boat thrown onto a perfect opposite tack without any use of the rudder and without change of course!

I lost the plot completely in the middle of the event.  Simple lack of concentration saw a poor result and then demotion to “B” fleet, and a succession of errors held me there.  Malcolm took over convincingly at the top of the leader board by consistently good finishes in “A” fleet, while John and now Nigel Gilson contested third place.  Previous Icicle Trophy winners Peter Spence and Graham Bantock dropped in to watch the event, enjoy a chat, and offer helpful advice.

It is never over, of course, until it’s over, and I returned to “A” fleet to post another set of wins in the final two races of the day.  The two discards allowed me to drop the “B” heat scores in my results, and take the trophy by a handful of points from Malcolm, who had managed to stay just two points ahead of John.  A day of excellent, close, and exciting racing, the result always in doubt and only decided at the end of the final race – just as it should be.

1st Lester Gilbert (Ikon) 21 points
2nd Malcom Harris (Ikon) 27 points
3rd John Henningham (Tonic) 29 points
4th Nigel Gilson (Dann) 32 points
5th Mark Dennis (Ikon) 33 points
6th Graham Bartholemew (Ikon) 39 points


2022 Lester Gilbert