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Virtual Rigger Phantom Inlands at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Andrew Wilde 1 May 2012 15:27 BST 28-29 April 2012

The Phantom Inland Championship sponsored by Virtual Rigger, were held at Chew Valley Lake over the weekend 28th and 29th April. With a wet and windy forecast only 17 boats arrived at the venue Saturday morning. With extreme winds expected for Sunday the race officer suggested running four racers on Saturday however the fleet voted to only sail the 3 planned races back to back according to schedule with the winds expected to increase during the day.

Race 1 started on time in a good 18 knots. A double sound signal could be heard at the start indicating boats were over the line, Simon Hawkes and Ian Jay returned to go back through the start line. Andy Couch doubled back thinking it was a general recall allowing Wilde to round the first mark first followed by Tim Andrews, Couch then Nick Orman. At the leeward mark it was clear from the numbers on the back of the committee boat, Wilde, Andrews and Orman along with Ben Crossdale were awarded OCS, so they pulled out the race. Andy Couch showed excellent speed to open up a 4 or 5 leg lead at the front. In second the battle was on between Richard Sims and Mike Webster. At the same time Simon Hawkes was storming through the fleet, following Hawkes rounding the windward mark in last place. At the finish it was Couch, Webster, Sims with Nick Mason able to hold off Hawkes to the finish.

Race 2 Started with the wind building. At the windward mark it was Couch, Hawkes then Wilde. Couch could not be caught by Wilde or Hawkes despite trying to split tacks on the upwind legs. At the finish it was Couch winning with Wilde then Hawkes followed by Nick Orman then Nick Mason.

Race 3 started with gusts being recorded at 27 knots. It was clear at this point the rescue team were busy picking up broken boats and broken bodies. Wilde rounded first followed by Hawkes and Andrews. Hawkes put pressure on Wilde until the second beat when Wilde opened up a 200 yard lead with Couch pulling upto second and Tim Andrews passing Hawkes to get upto 3rd. Couch used some excellent speed and closed in Wilde on the next lap. At the leeward mark before the finish Wilde had a poor mark rounding with couch rounding well this meant a photo finish with Wilde beating Couch across the finish by 2 feet. In third place was Tim Andrews followed by Hawkes.

On Sunday the sailors arrived to heavy rain and gale force winds. The wind was forecast to drop much later in the day however the fleet agreed to wait to 10.30am to make a decision. At 10.30am the race officer offered to run a race as the wind average had dropped 2 knots since 9.30am, however gusts were still coming through in excess of 35 knots. Only 4 people put their hands up to suggest they would go out and race in the conditions, this meant the day's sailing was abandoned.

The wind was still gusting in excess of force 8 by midday so it proved to be a correct decision. Andy Couch was awarded the Inland National Phantom Champion Trophy after recording two 1st and a 2nd, with Simon Hawkes finishing second after a posting a consistent set of good results with Mike Webster 3rd.

Overall Results:

PosHelmR1R2R3Pts
1stAndy Couchy1124
2ndSimon Hawkes53412
3rdMike Webster26513
4thRichard Sims37616
5thAndrew WildeOCS2120
6thNick Mason45DNF26
7thWill Ellison910827
8thAndrew Belson811928
9thTim AndrewsOCS9329
10thBen CrossdaleOCS8732
11thJohn Bower612DNF35
12thNick OrmanOCS4DNF38
13thBen Falat7DNFDNS41

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