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Phantom Eastern Series Open at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club

by Chris Roberts 2 Aug 2017 13:45 BST 22 July 2017

The penultimate event in the Phantom Eastern Series took place on Saturday 22nd July and attracted entries from Creeksea SC and Fishers Green who joined two local boats for a challenging day's racing on the Broad.

Several of the ever so keen Creeksea fleet had in fact arrived at least a day early in order to have a bit of training and acclimatisation with host Ben Falat. Whether this was a good idea was in doubt as later arrivals discovered a somewhat battered and dispirited group of sailors who reported monster gusts, unmanageable shifts and variable depths of water across the broad. After investing in new wind indicators for future sounding purposes the fleet adjourned to the local hostelry for a spot of "Dutch Courage".

The day of the event proved more settled and warm sunshine greeted the sailors once the grey skies parted. Hopes were raised as the wind had dropped and looked steady "force 2ish" from a South(ish) direction giving a good beat up the Broad. Concerns from yesterday were forgotten and the fleet took to the water with a anticipation.

The first race saw Ben take off like a bullet from the start-line, never to be headed while behind there ensued the occasional loud debate over, "...is this mark to Starboard or to... no... yes... errrr, Ben did it like... port!".

Race 2 saw Chris take off in similar fashion, only to be slowly reeled in by Ben, then when Chris met his own personal mini-whirlwind, Ben took advantage by sailing around it, taking the lead and his second win.

The fleet put back in to the boat park, looking forward to a promised pizza lunch, only to find everything gone (some very hungry International 12 visiting sailors?), there was a collective vote-with-feet and sailors stayed put waiting for a new pizza order, while the race officer tried to work out where on earth to place their next start in a by now very fluid series.

The wind grew a touch stronger with strong gusts of variable duration and direction catching out the unwary. Home club sailor Nick Favell clicked into hyper-drive to windward, whilst Ben hung in and these two pulled well clear of the fleet; eventually Ben managed an overtake on the last downwind only to discover that everyone had been finished on the previous lap. Roberts who had pulled through to third after a brief swim was also disappointed to find that he's finished in fifth on the previous lap.

Coming into the final race Ben had already won the event and was too relaxed in starting perspective and thought he was over so returned to re-start last. That gave Favell, still firing on afterburners, his second win despite Chris Roberts and Roger Smith eventually being very hot on his heels. With two first and two fifth places this meant that Nick had secured second place for the home club on countback.

Many thanks to Race Officer Richard Sullivan whose master-stroke was to retain the same mark-rounding order, while simply shifting marks to suit a backing wind direction (oh yes, and for being so accommodating over the fleet's 'Food-First' policy!).

The final event in the Eastern travellers' series takes place at Alton Water on 14th / 15th October. The Eastern Area Championship is on the 26th, 27th and 28th August at RCYC and forms a part of Burnham Week.

Overall Results:

1st 1266, Ben Falat
2nd 1394, Nick Favell
3rd 1395, Chris Roberts
4th 1291, Nick Yannakoyorgos
5th 1320, Roger Smith

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