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Phantom Eastern Series Open at Alton Water Sports Centre

by Bob Portway 9 Apr 06:57 BST 23-24 March 2019
Phantoms at Alton Water © Emer Berry

Sixteen Phantoms competed in the Phantom open at AWSC, sponsored by Fox's Chandlery, to show that the fleet is very much alive and sailing in South East Suffolk, as in other places in the country.

The weather was positively benign compared with the previous few weeks, with 8-10 knots predicted. The draw back was that this rather shift-prone piece of water became incredibly so, with wind shifts of up to 90 degrees making for a snakes and ladders experience.

First to find more ladders than snakes was Bob Portway(1334), extending a snakes worth of lead over Adrian Coatsworth (1448) and Chris Roberts (1395). In the second race it was Chris's turn, although Adrian was a threat throughout, while Bob and Ben Falat were distant in 3rd and 4th.

The third (last of the day) race saw the biggest shifts of the day. Having made a Port tack flyer on a huge Port lift, Adrian was able to consolidate when the wind lifted 90 degrees on Starboard. For the remainder of the race, the beat became a beam fetch, while the final reach of the square course became a beat. Moving up the fleet in the firmer wind, John (Titch) Wayling showed great speed, but was unable to break past Ben and Bob, having their own battle for 2nd. Ben held on for 2nd from Bob and Titch.

The following day's 8-10 knot WNW was also shot through with holes and huge shifts, and this time the beat being longer gave more 'riding-the-snakes' opportunities.

Bob again avoided the holes and headers better than most, to bag a 1st, while Adrian surrendered an early lead to end up 6th. Terry Crook(1464) was a new name near the front, with a 2nd, from Chris and Ben in 3rd and 4th.

Bob repeated the consistent progress to win the 5th race, and with Adrian 2nd, the overall result was still open between these two. Eric Howe (1404) looked to have had a good race, crossing 2nd, but the deafening silence confirmed his OCS status.

In the final race, a failed port flyer made Adrian's chances look poor, while Bob was content for Titch to blitz the course, for his 1st win of the weekend, as 2nd place was easily enough for overall success.

The Phantom fleet is grateful to the Alton Water Sports Centre for the hosting, and particularly to Race Officer Gavin Johnson and his assistant John Glasspool for keeping a brave face on having to constantly adjust the course to suit the shifting wind.

Also very grateful to Fox's Chandlery for sponsoring the event.

We hope to be back next year, by which time there should be a Sailing Club in existence at Alton Water.

Overall Results:

1. 1334 Bob Portway (AWSC/RHYC) 8pts
2. 1448 Adrian Coatsworth (AWSC) 14pts
3. 1346 John Wayling (Northampton SC) 19pts
4. 1395 Chris Roberts (Creeksea SC) 24pts

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