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Phantom Eastern Travellers 2018 trophy awarded

by Chris Roberts 21 Dec 2018 10:47 GMT
Bob Portway (left) receives the Phantom Eastern Region Travellers Trophy from 2017 winner Chris Roberts © Diane Roberts

The 2018 Phantom Eastern series comprised eight events with four to count and it attracted 37 competitors from across the Eastern area (and further afield).

Unfortunately two events were lost at either end of the season. High winds resulted in the event at Island Barn in March being a "no show" (but well done to the three Southern Area sailors who did venture out), whilst weed growth at Hickling Broad meant that the planned attendance at the Hickling Autumn regatta was also cancelled.

The first event for the region was thus the ever popular Fishers Green event which saw Matt House win from fellow Alton Water/RHYC sailors Bob Portway. Chris Roberts took third.

Close competition at Creeksea saw former Eastern Traveller and East Coast Champion John Wayling return to show the locals the way round in a well attend event. Bob Portway took second place ahead of Ben Falat from Oulton Broad.

Oulton Broad was also the host club for the next Eastern event with a great days racing in June seeing Ben Falat take the event (for another year) ahead of House and Roberts.

Royal Harwich Yacht club hosted the next weekend away and superb sunny weather and fabulous facilities allowed the fleet to enjoy close racing in the River Orwell. The lighter conditions suited Roberts, Portway and Paul Church but an appearance by Fresham Pond sailor Chris Yelland was noted with interest (or should that be concern?) as he absorbed all the tuning tips on Saturday and kept going faster as the weekend progressed to take a fifth place in a fleet of eleven class stalwarts.

The final deciding race saw Roberts fall victim to Rule 30.4 and this decided the open meeting in favour of Bob Portway. Ben Falat kept up his challenge with third place.

By this point in the series it looked like no single helm had a commanding position (but Bob was looking good) and the remaining events assumed increased significance. This aided attendance and the return to the ever popular Southwold Sailing Club in August meant that one or two proposed Summer holiday dates were rumoured to have been speedily revised!

Both the weather and venue were perfect for a real display of Phantom sailing and newcomer to the fleet this year Adrian Coatsworth took the event ahead of Bob Portway. The results were so close that it was initially thought that Bob Portway had done enough to win but closer examination showed that Coatsworth was the clear winner.

This meant that yet another helm had won an event but Bob Portway had done enough to establish a clear advantage.

With the final event at Alton Water it looked likely that a win at his home club would nicely round off the series for Bob Portway. Paul Church seemed to have other ideas however and took the event ahead of Matt House and a surprised Graham Dale-Jones from Creeksea.

In the final analysis Bob Portway was a very consistent winner and added the Eastern Travellers Trophy to the East Coast Championship won earlier in the year at a windy Burnham Week.

The unique "Phantom in a bottle" trophy was awarded to Bob Portway by the previous winner Chris Roberts at Alton Water. Bob has also taken over the role of Eastern Area Phantom Class representative and the fleet looks forward to another highly competitive year ahead.

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