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Phantom Eastern Series Open at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Chris Roberts 9 Apr 13:45 BST 6 April 2019

The second event in the ever popular Phantom Eastern Series took place on Saturday 6th April at Fishers Green Sailing Club in the beautiful Lee Valley National Park near Waltham Abbey.

The competitive fleet of 16 boats included the usual travelling circus of Creeksea SC boats, whilst the growing home fleet was supplemented by club members borrowing boats to join the event. Travellers from further afield included Steve Popple from Shoreham who had taken a brave pill to join the Eastern Circuit at an inland venue.

Race officer Godfrey Clark and his stalwart team of assistants and rescue boat crews did a fantastic job dealing with running the racing for the Phantoms and their smaller single handed friends in the Comet class at this joint event.

The wind direction was predominantly from the North East but shifty and of variable strength. Committee boat starts and additional temporary marks allowed good courses to be set and the racing format of four races with a lunch break allowed the fleets to enjoy an excellent hot meal and catch up on the betting odds for the Grand National.

If the bookies had been running a book that on the Phantom fleet it's fair to say that they would have been pleased to see the strong showing in race one of outsider Steve Popple, who seemed to revel in the challenge of a more "intimate" water and showed well in the early running. After very close racing throughout the fleet it was Matt House from Alton Water that made the race look easy and took the win from the bookies favourite and club mate Bob Portway. Paul Rayson borrowing Ken Daniels "Red Devil" took a well earned third place and must surely be scanning the adverts for a boat of his own.

Race 2 followed swiftly after the final Comet had completed their race and the quick turnaround was welcomed as the weather was distinctly chilly. Despite a biased line meaning a late rush to the pin end, the fleet managed to get away and close racing swiftly resumed with borrowed local boats continuing to get amongst the leaders and showing great potential. Bob Portway took a commanding lead and held on to win from Rayson with Creeksea's new boy Terry Crook in third place.

After lunch the start of Race 3 saw an over eager fleet well over the line towards the favoured pin end leaving the Race Officer with no alternative than to recall the fleet and let the well behaved Comet fleet enjoy the start of their racing in clear water. The second start for the Phantoms got away cleanly and saw Portway win again keeping ahead of a challenge from Roberts and House.

The final race of the day saw one or two non-starters who felt that they had either suffered enough or wished to follow the horse racing in the comfort of the heated clubhouse.

Local boats were again making a good showing and it soon became clear that this was no flash in the pan when Cristian Hill sailing a beautiful classic Claridge woody belonging to Paul "Round the World" Bidwell took the lead and held off Roberts for much of the race to take the gun ahead of Portway, House and Roberts.

With two wins and two seconds it was a clear win for Portway with Matt House also clear ahead in second place. The next four boats were separated by a nautical horses head of five points with Paul Rayson taking third place for the home club.

After racing the fleet were treated to a splendid free buffet and the thanks to the club of the respective fleet winners were echoed by all.

The next event on the Eastern Circuit is a two day event at Stone Sailing club on the Blackwater Estuary and is set up to be a "must do" event for the whole class.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st1334Bob PortwayRHYC‑21124
2nd1432Matt HouseRoyal Harwich1‑4337
3rd1350Paul RaysonFishers Green325‑910
4th1372Cristian HillFishers Green55‑8111
5th1395Chris RobertsCreeksea‑1362412
6th1464Terry CrookCreeksea636‑815
7th1460Steve PoppleSussex YC4(DSQ)9518
7th1461Graham Dale‑JonesCreeksea774(DNC)18
9th1369Jon StewardFishers Green89‑10623
10th1404Eric HoweCreeksea‑14811726
11th904Paul BidwellFishers Green11‑1271028
12th1291Nick YannakoyorgosFishers Green1010‑131131
13th1233Pete SarbuttCreeksea121312(DNC)37
14th1244Bill TaylorCreeksea911(DNC)DNC38
15th1433Warren MartinCreeksea‑1514141240
16th1154Louis lappageFishers Green‑1715151343
17th897Dave HodgesFishers Green161616(DNC)48

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