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Phantom National Championships at Stone Sailing Club

by Ian Sullivan 12 Sep 2014 11:45 BST 5-7 September 2014
Competitors at the Seabrook Developments sponsored 2014 Phantom Nationals at Stone SC © Ian Sullivan

The dust has settled on the 2014 National Championship sponsored by Seabrook Developments following a slow-moving but very eventful championships where Andy Couch took his fifth National Championship within the Class.

Several of the 49 Helms massed at Stone Sailing Club the day before in time for preparation, tuning, polishing and practice but found that finding a pitch for the tent, a curry and the odd drop of rum and coke (diet of course) was more appealing given the forecast of light winds making way for no wind.

Racing on Friday afternoon provided a constant breeze of 7 kts or so giving great racing throughout the fleet. Race One saw Couch take the win from the returning local Lawrence Crispin borrowing a boat from Ovington and Andy Davis from HD Sails who appears to have taken over as Phantom guru at the loft. Will Gulliver and Paul Beasley rounded out the top five.

Race Two showed again that the left paid up the first beat giving Couch the win followed by Davis, Gulliver, Crispin and Mike Tustin who was revelling in the lighter conditions. Ashore the fleet were treated to 'Phil's BBQ' where much of the discussion turned to the weakening forecast. Two pairs of "Phil's Dyneema Scissors" were handed out one for each race.

The fleet woke to find a mirror spread across the Blackwater. Without the sun in sight concern spread that there might not be the all-important third race that would constitute a series. Andy Davis gave an impromptu demonstration with many regretting taking notes as there was more information than the hangovers could remember.

Discussion of running the event again stopped when late in the afternoon a small breeze started to build and Wendy Robinson, the PRO, sent the fleet out at the bottom of the tide to try and get a race in before it turned. The fleet leapt like gazelles to their charges and headed out.

The race was pivotal for more than a few as with 30 seconds to go a right shift occurred. Feeling that they had spotted something good more than a few gave up on the plan to go left and headed for the Committee Boat. Unfortunately for them the breeze re-established itself from the left leaving Jim Hopton to show a clean pair of heels to the fleet and take the win ahead of John Wayling and Crispin. The very consistent Paul Beasley was fourth followed by Couch.

Sunday dawned and the expected mirror was punctuated by small zephyrs under a heavy mist making Wendy's job difficult as there was more wind than expected but not enough to race. The fleet waited it out and were rewarded with two races. Race Four was won by Andy Couch who had headed left on the first leg followed by Davis, Paul Lester, Olly Hopkins and Gulliver.

By race five a strengthening ebb tide was sweeping across the course meaning that the pin had become even more crowded with everybody heading left yet again. Matt House won the pin and his eyes lit up thinking of the glory ahead, unfortunately he listened to those around him and was persuaded that he was over even though only one gun was heard. Andy Couch appeared from the left, yet again, to take the race followed by Davis, Crispin, Wayling and Gareth Griffiths putting in his best performance of the weekend.

In securing his fifth title Andy Couch made himself the most successful Phantom sailor in the boat's 43 year history, leading Davis and Crispin.

The Class Association would like to thank everybody at Stone Sailing Club for the efforts in putting on the event, our sponsors Seabrook Developments and Phil Longley for all his hard work including sponsoring some very special scissors...

At the AGM John Wayling stood down from his five years as Class Secretary and on behalf of the members we would like to thank him for all his efforts.

Next year's event is being held at Minnis Bay on the Kent coast over 4-6 September 2015.

Please see the Full results [PDF] and if you finished in the top ten at the Phantom nationals then fill in your Gear Guide information here

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