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Optimum Time Watches Phantom Southern Travellers at Burghfield Sailing Club

by Chris Shelton 6 Dec 2016 07:27 GMT 3 December 2016

The final event of the Optimum Time Watches Phantom Southern Area Series took place at Burghfield Sailing Club on 3rd December. The event was originally scheduled for the end of October, but a forecast of no wind saw the club make the correct decision to postpone the racing in advance and re-schedule for early December. As competitors arrived early on the Saturday morning many were wondering whether it was a case of Deja-vu? The lake was glassy calm, but the race committee were on the water laying the course confident that the wind would arrive from the east as forecast.

The race committee were correct, and after a short postponement 8 Phantoms took to the water for a series of short sprint races. The short course format in relatively light, shifty winds made for plenty of place changing. Add into this patches of weed in the lake that seemed magnetically attracted to centre-boards and rudders and boats could easily move from first to last in a single leg.

Race 1 started in about F2 (at the most) and at the finish it was Matt House first from Olly Hopkins and then local expert Rob Starling. Race 2 started in slightly more wind and, after the usual series of place changes, this time it was Ian Stone first, Chris Shelton second and again Rob Starling third. No delays and straight into race 3 where Matt House was once again on form to take the bullet, Chris Shelton second and ultra-consistent Rob Starling third.

After a short break for lunch, the fleet were back on the water for the afternoon session in a breeze that had shifted slightly to the right and increased to about F3. Local sailor Alex Reeve read the conditions correctly to take first place in race 4, Ian Stone was second and once again Rob Starling was third. Race 5 was arguably the windiest of the day with all of the sailors having to hike on the beat, and managing the occasional plane on the two reaching legs. The (slightly) stronger winds seemed to suit Ian Stone who took his second bullet, Rob Starling moved up a gear to claim second and Alex Reeve was third.

Again no delays by the race committee and race 6 was soon underway. Ian Stone was well in the groove and scored his third first place of the series. Rob Starling had found a new consistency with a second second, and Matt House was back in the mix with a third. The final race of the day saw the wind ease back a notch which seemed to suit Matt House who scored his third first place. "Mr Consistent", Rob Starling, was second and Ian Stone was still up there in third place.

When all the scores were added up, 3 firsts, a second and a third gave Ian Stone overall victory from Matt House in second and Rob Starling third. In the writer's opinion; the sprint format worked well on that type of water and congratulations must go to the race committee for keeping the waiting time between finishing one race and starting the next to the bare minimum.

As well as the Burghfield open, a second trophy was being contested at the same time. This meeting was the final event of the Optimum Time Watches Phantom Southern Traveller Series and two boats were in contention for the top spot: At the start of the day Ivan Walsh was leading the series from Chris Shelton who was counting a DNC. If Ivan could beat Chris at Burghfield the overall title would be his. But if Chris was ahead and managed fourth place or better, then he would be the overall winner. This lead to a little bit of match racing whenever these two boats found themselves close to each other around the race course and probably explained why both boats were further down the overall positions. On almost every start Ivan tried to push Chris on the start line, but never quite succeeded. However Ivan got it right on Race 6 managing to sail Chris well past the windward lay line on port tack to finish ahead of him in that race.

When the Burghfield results were added in to the overall series Chris's fifth place was not enough. The series finished with Ivan Walsh first (12 pts), Chris Shelton second (13 pts) and Steve Popple third (17 pts).

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st1280Ian Stone‑41‑421138
2nd1432Matthew House1‑41‑443110
3rd1431Rob Starling‑3‑33322212
4th1389Alex Reeve‑5‑65134417
5th1211Chris Shelton‑722‑666521
6th1343Olly Hopkins2‑7658DNCDNC28
7th1348Rich Cumberbatch65885DNFDNC32
8th1300Ivan Walsh‑8‑87775632

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