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Phantom Eastern Travellers at Denver Sailing Club

by Simon Childs 14 Mar 2007 10:35 GMT 11 March 2007
16 helms for the Phantom Eastern Travellers open at Denver © Brian Sadler

Sunday the 11th March was the start of the newly formed Mailspeed and Tempra-tech Ltd sponsored “Phantom Eastern Travellers Series”. The day broke to beautiful blue skies and a nice brisk breeze, making it a near perfect sailing day. At 10:30am, the D.S.Cs Officer of the Day, was briefing 16 helms, an extremely pleasing turn out. The club safety boat was out on the water alongside the RAF Sailing Association Safety Boat team, in preparation for the launching of the fleet.

The order of the day was to be two back to back races in the morning and two back to back in the afternoon, 3 to count, a physical challenge for even the finest sailors given the amount, and direction of the wind on this river.

Race 1:

The course was set as 1 2 1 3 5 4, a relatively short course but enough to show the Phantoms the joys of the river and test every aspect of their sailing abilities. We started on the broad line and as the hooter went all 16 boats piled across the line with Simon Cowood, Will Gulliver and Darren Pike getting the best starts. As they criss-crossed up the river there was much shouting for right of way to be heard and one capsize before the first mark. The fleet began to spread out as they chased each other down to the second mark. Will Gulliver was the first round number 1 as he steamed downwind to extend his lead. Darren Pike was hot on Chris Sallis’ tail as they raced to catch up with the leader. The second mark turned out to be a rather challenging jibe mark and with boats piling into it all in close proximity it proved to be particularly interesting for the spectators. On the return up the river James Case and Simon Cowood battled for fourth place but pressuring third as they went. On the run down to number 3 this time, the boats are getting closer together with some heated battles in the middle of the fleet. As John Huggett came round number 3 he got stuck head to wind right in front of the clubhouse, entertaining for the spectators as J McLeod tries to dodge the stricken boat to take his place and capsizes himself. During the second lap positions remained relatively unchallenged and the race finished with Will Gulliver taking the ¾, followed by Darren Pike, and James Case.

Race 2:

The boats congregated tight on the line for the start of the second race. James Case had a poor start, but Will Gulliver took an instant lead. With the brisk breeze turning into a gusty 16 knot blow, the sailors being tired from the first race, this was going to be a difficult one. Rod Thorpe came down from number 1 in second place, only to capsize and invert, also loosing his rudder, consequently having to retire. The boats were starting to “drop like flies” by the middle of the first lap and the OD made the call to shorten the course to 1 lap. Dave Hawkins and Jez Tailor raced side by side on the run down to number 3 and into the final moments of the race, with Dave just taking it at the line. Will Gulliver took the win, shortly followed by Simon Cowood and Darren Pike.

Race 3:

After a well earned lunch, the safety boats took to the water again and awaited the launch of the Phantoms for the afternoons racing. This time, the course was set at 2 3 5 4 to try and keep the boats out of the strongest winds, which were becoming stronger and more gusty. Once again, Will Gulliver commanded the entire race. Jim Frost took a rather unexpected trip through the reeds as he tried to round number 2. With only 11 boats making the start of this race, John Huggett had to retire after 1 lap due to a rather large ingress of water into his boat. The remaining 10 boats struggled on to the finish. Will Gulliver took the ¾, and thanks to the discard, was able to take his boat out of the water and enjoy the last race from dry land. Darren Pike was runner up this time, with Simon Cowood following him.

Race 4:

Due to the discard system only7 boats made the start of the final race. Everyone’s attention was distracted from the race itself, as Jim Frost made the most entertaining capsize of the day, just prior to the start. He fell dramatically from his boat after catching a wild gust, and watched it sail away from him faster than he could swim. Rescue 1, halted his boats rapid progress towards the sluice gates, as Rescue 2, recovered Jim. By this time, the race was well under way, but this did not stop a determined Jim clawing his way through, the now tiring back end of the fleet, to gain a creditable 5th place. The fleet was well separated on this occasion, with Darren Pike taking the ¾, followed by Rod Thorpe, and Ian Miller.

The event was wrapped up with a presentation for the winners and a few words by the commodore, Rose Young. All in all, it turned out to be a very exciting and fun packed day, a great days sailing, with some really close racing, together with the friendliest bunch of guys you could wish to meet, made the day nothing short of perfect! Denver Sailing Club looks forward to seeing all their Phantom friends back at Denver for next years open.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stWill Gulliver1216Northampton0.750.750.75DNS2.25
2ndDarren Pike1183Rollesby Broad2320.754.75
3rdRod Thorpe1256Creeksea5164211
4thSimon Cowood1119Northampton623DNS11
5thIan Miller1155Alton Water955313
6thDoug Conway1074Paxton Lakes846DNS18
7thJez Taylor1211Southwold1387419
8thDave Hawkins1171Denver1178621
9thChris Roberts1128Creeksea7614DNS27
10thJim Frost1157Buckenham17DNS9531
11thJohn Hugget615Denver141014731
12thJames Case1255Wells31614DNS33
13thClive Morley930Margate121614DNS42
14thAndy Griffin1054Nottingham109DNSDNS 
14thJ McLeod1091Blackwater1711DNSDNS 
14thChris Sallis1116G&G SC ?416DNSDNS 

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