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A Phantom experience

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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A Phantom experience
    Posted: 27 Aug 17 at 8:03pm
Today there wasn't a lot of wind, in fact it didn't look as if we were going to race, then a light sea breeze filled in from the South East and my pal who'd offered his Phantom to Dan the man who in turn offered it to me not having any kit with him gave me the opportunity to at last get a feel for it.

Now I know I'm too small for it, 70 kgs aint Phantom helm weight, but everyone knows dinghy sailors are pussies about these things and I know best so the hell with it.

It's light compared to my EPS, easy to get down the beach easy to rig and dead familiar now, it's just a bigger Solution, with identical controls, it even has that duff aluminium tower that broke on my Solution and the logo on the sail is the red eye fish, so it's like stepping into a comfortable pair of slippers.

Pushing off from the beach, the Milanese foil came down and engaged no problem it's got a tie down rather than metal tab thing and the rudder downhaul clips off into one of those trip up cleats so if you clout it, it'll kick up OK. everything fine at the helm control bit. The first thing you notice is just how much uncluttered room there is, sail doesn't need loads of downhaul and sets OK the boom is carbon the mast is carbon, much nicer than the Solution, everything else controls similarly four control leads on the deck lead off to where you sit, yet not quite cramping your style the way the Solution controls are right where you feel you need to sit when it's light, the Phantom has a bit more room to lean forward, yet, it didn't seem to slide into the notch i like to put it in upwind when it's light which is just off pinching. More on that later, it's not that windy and feel isn't really transmitting through my brand new board shorts just yet.

In the race we had the mackerel fleet, now a little more aggressive than in previous years its getting quite competitive these days, a Hornet, the Alto, an RS200, an Aero 9, a Contender, a laser2 and that was about it, a bit diminished since nobody thought we'd be racing and some had gone elsewhere to enjoy the sun.

The only way to try a boat in my book is to race it so off we went, there's quite a strong tide running but I got the sense there was a bit more wind out to sea, so virtually everyone set up the coast and I took off out to sea hoping to find a bit more wind and knowing they've all got to come out in the tide anyway and with any luck once out far enough I'd get the nose square on to the tide.

Eventually I get onto the lay line tack and to my huge delight I had them nailed by a country mile, the Phantom had been punching out to sea well, even with the tide on the weather bow, it isn't as responsive as the Solution and I got the distinct sense that the centreboard might be a bit ahead of the vertical, but the ropes to pull it back didn't have any effect so in the end I had to lump it and work the tiller rather than my body to get it to track where i wanted it to, then as I'm closing it starts to head, then the wind having headed forced the bow into the tide and I've got a full tidal knock, then to my further grief, i notice way in the distance the Alto, which had still been behind with more showing ahead of it as we closed rather than behind it and now it had a bit of a bow wave and I noticed the crew getting on the wire, then everyone else, the damn wind had filled in along the coast and the entire fleet had gotten lucky.

I had no choice but to suck it up and rounded behind everybody except the Laser 2 so I had it all to do, but with the benefit of a slightly fresh force 3 and a few wavelets I set to working them, bearing off down the small faces rocking it into the bear off rather than grabbing handfuls of sheet, it's not like my boat, set up to pump, so I had to make do with hauling in on the mainsheet and bearing off but it wasn't long before I caught up with the back markers and rounded the gybe giving water to a laser and sliding inside the 200 that had gone a bit wide and by the bottom mark I took the laser and the Aero 9 and had my sights on the two Laser front runners, they were both repeating the coast route and over standing, so I understood a bit and gained some ground, then down the run, let go the forestay slackened the shrouds and went to try for sailing it by the lee with the kicker dumped, but my man had too many knots to let the boom go far enough out, i managed to undo one of them, but the other was just a well tight slip knot, so I couldn't get the boom out into the slack shroud as far as I'd like but it was enough to cream the two lasers, then round the mark the wrong way, don't ask, snr moment, by the time I unwound it I was back where i had been at the top of the run, but whatever, i was enjoying sailing this boat.

Once the wind was up and I'm hiking, everything settled down and it's a joy, well a painful one, long tack out half a mile, it so needs a trapeze and it would take one easily, I can rake the rig, take the wires off the shroud points, this boat is made for me to trapeze and i think that's what I'd be tempted to do if I got one.

The Lasers overstood again and this time I had a bigger lead at the weather mark and left them to chase the fast boats, but they were way ahead by now so it just got down to enjoying a force three marginal planing reach with a few wave slides, which you could happily induce by sailing high building speed then bearing off down the face and the phantom doesn't get trapped in the trough like the 390 mtrs of the Solution does and is an easy match for the damn Laser which at 420 loves our wavelength. I think the Phantom is 440 and that extra half a metre makes all the difference not only upwind but off it and I love it, standing up you can footsteer it back up the wave face, then slamsitdown to bear off and away and not once even on a botched mark re round where I screwed up and dipped the boom, did I feel even close to disaster it's such a well mannered boat. There is no doubt another couple of notches on the beaufort scale would see me absolutely hammered but maybe I'd deal with it better than I can in the EPS with those wings digging in and it loving irons if I don't get right over quickly.

It is a bit further to go through the tack than the Solution and a couple of times it was already up on its ear before I got there, but a bit of practise and one less purchase on the mainsheet maybe even rear sheeted, do Phantoms sheet off the rear, I dunno but there's room to mess about, I like the set up I have on the Solution with a single small diameter spectra core stripped from the middle of the mainsheet then sewn so there is not too much weight of mainsheet for light weather use, but the centre sheeting as it is currently set up also would work better off wind.

The rest of the race passed pretty uneventfully it was a typical Hythe race which once the route is established there's not much you can do to buck it, steady wind direction and tide dictates what you have to do and other than correctly guessing the tidal layline with others over estimating it, there's not much you can do to dramatically regain big lost ground against faster boats and so it was I finished behind the Contender, Hornet and Alto as I would expect and not far enough in front of the lasers to nail them on handicap, but then they are sea bandits these days at 1097.

But I took a lot from the day, I loved the boat and can't help myself scoping the duck looking for them, in reality between the Solution and the Phantom lies an absolute weapon, which I guess is that Aero 9 but, it lacks the retracting centreboard the on the fly raking rig, the controls and the handling the Phantom has, it may be an old design but these modern Ovington built, Vandercraft fit outs are great, could it be improved, maybe a thwart to save the knees, certainly a trapeze for correct sized and weight helms...

Edited by iGRF - 27 Aug 17 at 8:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote KazRob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 17 at 8:19pm
Glad you enjoyed it (not that I've ever sailed one), but I think you've hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph.
Decades old designs boats like the Phantom may be, but it's not just the design that makes the boat, it's also the decades of development, tweaks and general refinement a lot of these older non-SMODs bring to the table that makes them a joy to sail.

All you need now is some pies :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil_1193 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 6:57am
70kg isn't too light for a Phantom. there are and has been quite a few at that end of the weight range that have been sucessful, as has the 100kg+ band, thats the thing it carries weigh, or lack of it very well because you can massively depower it an still be very quick in breeze if you are light, or grunt it out if you like pies.

Theres also the option of having a flat cut sail for the lighter helms, with a medium cut for the lightwind days.

Stick it on a high mod 'skinny' carbon mast and its a different experience again.

Rear sheeting has been done, as has the thwart, as had a mainsheet track on the thwart, as has a single bottom boat, as has the partially dropped floor boat. All have their pros and all have their cons

Trapeze? Well in essence its the rig (less jib) off a Fireball so not impossible, but would it be worth it? Ermm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 9:14am
Originally posted by Phil_1193

70kg isn't too light for a Phantom. there are and has been quite a few at that end of the weight range that have been sucessful, as has the 100kg+ band, thats the thing it carries weigh, or lack of it very well because you can massively depower it an still be very quick in breeze if you are light, or grunt it out if you like pies.Theres also the option of having a flat cut sail for the lighter helms, with a medium cut for the lightwind days.Stick it on a high mod 'skinny' carbon mast and its a different experience again.Rear sheeting has been done, as has the thwart, as had a mainsheet track on the thwart, as has a single bottom boat, as has the partially dropped floor boat. All have their pros and all have their consTrapeze? Well in essence its the rig (less jib) off a Fireball so not impossible, but would it be worth it? Ermm



Thanks Phil, would it be worth it? Well in comfort terms on the sea, long half mile same tack beats, most definitely the comfort of a harness against the exercise of the stomach muscles? I'd expect to be further punished on handicap, but that doesn't really bother me that much although I love to moan about handicaps, that's not really where I get my reward. My spreadsheet suggest the Phantom should be 1009 and adding a trapeze on my algorithm sends it to 997, I doubt they'd let me get away with that, but probably 990-995 could be do-able a trap isn't exactly a kite.

Tell me what's happened to Boon Phantoms I saw one once at the dinghy show, it looked really well fitted out in much the way you describe, thwarte and all, but they no longer advertise it on their site did they stop building it?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil_1193 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 10:50am
Originally posted by iGRF



Thanks Phil, would it be worth it? Well in comfort terms on the sea, long half mile same tack beats, most definitely the comfort of a harness against the exercise of the stomach muscles? I'd expect to be further punished on handicap, but that doesn't really bother me that much although I love to moan about handicaps, that's not really where I get my reward. My spreadsheet suggest the Phantom should be 1009 and adding a trapeze on my algorithm sends it to 997, I doubt they'd let me get away with that, but probably 990-995 could be do-able a trap isn't exactly a kite.

Tell me what's happened to Boon Phantoms I saw one once at the dinghy show, it looked really well fitted out in much the way you describe, thwarte and all, but they no longer advertise it on their site did they stop building it?


Oddly enough I find its my legs that start hurting long long before stomach muscles

All the moulded epoxy phantoms come out of the class owned mould which is now with Ovington.

They either supply a fully fitted boat to the average customer. They also supply bare hulls to Vandercraft, P&B and in the past Boon who have then fitted it out.

They can also supply the hull without the top deck which is then fitted out - JJ does this with the dropped floor boat in either wood or epoxy.

The Boon thwart is just an aftermarket option that can be fitted to pretty much any epoxy Phantom. But it adds 1.5-2kg to the weight of the boat. Boon would possibly make one still if you wanted one.

All moulded boats have to come out of the class owned mould, anyone can make a wooden one.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 12:25pm
Interesting, so the class own the moulds, they presumably sanction builders and sails are they class driven or can anyone build sails and have them measured?

So a bit like the Solo then?

So next question why do so many folk still buy those awful coffins when a boat as great as the Phantom is available, is there some ruling that stops pro jocks flogging sails? Is this another case of mis marketing with the Phantom lumbered with the Fatboi niche, just as the Solution is encumbered by it's lightwieght tag, neither of which is totally as true as the folklore suggests?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gordon 1430 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 12:38pm
Hi Grf
Boon I think has left the marine trade,  his Solo mould is now with Ovington.
Sails can be made by anyone. As are rudder centreboard and spars.
A  few years ago we were having 80 plus entries at the Nationals and its looking like we will be back to 65ish this year (59 pre entered). Why people sail other boats I have no idea.
In your neck of the woods Downs SC have a few boats.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 12:58pm
Originally posted by iGRF

Interesting, so the class own the moulds, they presumably sanction builders and sails are they class driven or can anyone build sails and have them measured?

So a bit like the Solo then?

So next question why do so many folk still buy those awful coffins when a boat as great as the Phantom is available, is there some ruling that stops pro jocks flogging sails? Is this another case of mis marketing with the Phantom lumbered with the Fatboi niche, just as the Solution is encumbered by it's lightwieght tag, neither of which is totally as true as the folklore suggests?

Because with a Phantom you usually need to stick with the latest developments in sail and mast tech. The latest spec sail, a high modulus carbon stick doesn't come cheap.

I'll stick with my 'coffin' even if it means that the only problem with my crap sailing is me....

That said the Phantom is a great boat but the rig/sail arms race aint cheap.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 1:18pm
Originally posted by iGRF

e a trap isn't exactly a kite.

I'd say its most likely a bigger deal.
Consider.

The kite
It adds some speed downwind. Not as much as you'd think because if you sail hot angles you go a great deal further, and if you don't sail hot angles the diminishing apparent means diminishing gains.
Upwind, you've got a quite probably wet kite and pole adding weight in the end of the boat, a halyard waving in the breeze and quite possibly a bunch of extra ironmongery supporting the mast, so for sure you're going to be slower, and you spend more time going upwind than downwind.

The wire.
The first and most obvious thing is that the average crew weight plummets. Lets say you end up with a lighter average weight crew for much the same righting moment upwind.
Downwind there's a good deal less weight in the boat, so its going to plane earlier and plane faster, and even have a tad less wetter area. So its going to be a bit faster.
Upwind. Well, on the one hand you have got extra weight and drag hanging off the mast with the extra wires and the crew further outboard, but on the other hand you've still got the reduced weight, and the power/weight/etc may well get you into territory where the boat will plane upwind. For sure it will go like a lunatic on a shy reach.

So with the kite the vmg will be better downwind if the sailor is good enough to get the angles right, but the boat will be slower upwind. With the wire the boat will be faster upwind and down, if maybe not as fast downwind as with a top class sailor.

The big thing, though, is that you've taken one of the rare boats that the horizontally challenged can sail competitively, and turned it into yet another boat for lightweights. Is that good for the sport?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil_1193 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug 17 at 2:02pm
Originally posted by iGRF

Interesting, so the class own the moulds, they presumably sanction builders and sails are they class driven or can anyone build sails and have them measured?

So a bit like the Solo then?

So next question why do so many folk still buy those awful coffins when a boat as great as the Phantom is available, is there some ruling that stops pro jocks flogging sails? Is this another case of mis marketing with the Phantom lumbered with the Fatboi niche, just as the Solution is encumbered by it's lightwieght tag, neither of which is totally as true as the folklore suggests?


The association bought the mould off Vandercraft back in 2012 iirc when it was already with Ovington and they were already making the hulls for Vandercraft. At the AGM it was voted on and agreed. The association takes a fee from each boat that comes out the mould and this is put to one side to pay for the replacement mould that will be needed at some point.

Sails can be made by anyone, out of anything as long as it meets the measurements you could bang one up in your front room if you so desired! Think pretty much every sailmaker has had a go at making them, most, to be fair, currently use a P&B with a smattering of North and HD in the mix

The sail of choice varies depending on who at the fornt of the Nationals fleet has some sort of 'affiliation' with a sail maker and can get everyone 'a cracking deal' LOL

Why don't people buy it over other options? As you state miscinception its for fatties, it carries weight very well but you dont need to be huge to be competative, in the same way you don't need to be featherlight to get it going in light winds.
That and the PY talk, yes its been hammered, yes it is, in my opinion, a bit low, 1008-1012 is where it should be, but even me as an average semi pie eating plenty beer drinking weekend jockey can win handicap races with it at 999, as, for example, this weekend, light winds, East coast tidal estuary and beating Merlin Rockets over the water.

And the other misconception is the biggest pockets win, that is not true, any epoxy boat with any carbon rig can win on the day, its all down to the bloke on the wiggle stick! Especially at club level

High mod masts do make it 'easier' but its still not a given brand new kit will stick you at the top of the tree every time, time in the boat is the key - btw I won the Creeksea open with a 2 year old sail that isn't even 'cut' for the mast its on, luck had a big part to play as did spending a lot of time in the boat this year and not capsizing!! Smile


Edited by Phil_1193 - 29 Aug 17 at 2:03pm
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