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P&B Phantom Inland Championship at Northampton Sailing Club

by Mike Webster 4 Jun 20:04 BST 1-2 June 2019

The weekend started earlier for some of the further travelling Phantoms and the customary Friday night get together. With free camping they made themselves at home in tents and motorhomes overlooking the 420 hectare lake, set in the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside.

The event format and NoR planned for 4 races on Saturday and 2 races on Sunday.

Saturday dawned to sun and a light southerly breeze of 7- 10 kts which fluctuated constantly throughout the day with some interesting stronger patches producing some significant shifts. It was going to be a game of snakes and ladders with big decisions on both the upwind and downwind legs to take full advantage of the shifting winds and bands of breeze. Nerves of steel were going to be required.

The PRO Miles Odell and the race team set a great course despite tricky conditions, consisting of a windward leeward and inverted P making full use of the lake.

The fleet of 22 boats were keen from the start with general recalls in each of the days races. The strength in depth of the fleet ensured close racing with no great distance between the front and back of the fleet. One mistake and places were lost, it was going to be a tough days racing where consistency would pay.

Race 1 showed signs of things to come with defending Inland Champion Andy Couch posting his first bullet closely followed by Will Gulliver, Nick Orman, Alister Morley and Ian Stone finishing in the top five.

Race 2 provided equally challenging conditions with at least four leaders during the game of significant snakes and few ladders. Andy posted another bullet with Nick and Alister beginning to show their consistency and Martin Watt and Mike Webster punching into the top five........ it was going to tough at the top !

After a lunch break Race 3 saw another closely contested affair with yet another bullet to Andy who seemed to pull off what was needed to cross the line in pole position, was anybody going to stop a clean sweep? Will, Nick and Alister winning the gambling shifts to finish in that order.

PRO Miles Odell decided to 'can' the scheduled race 4 until Sunday when the wind forecast showed much better conditions. A great call which was much appreciated by the fleet allowing an early dinner and extended time for liquid refreshment !

As expected the tales of 'if only' and 'missed shifts' interspursed with Champions league football were plentiful...... as was the Doombar !

Sunday morning was an early start due the extra race scheduled with breakfast at 8.00am and preparatory signal at 8.55am. Not the best start for the day with some side effects from the night before, but the fresh breeze soon cleared the heads. The wind was now a south westerly direction blowing 12 -15 knts straight down the lake and building, it was champagne sailing conditions with blue skies and 24C.

Race 4 saw another general recall but the second start got away cleanly. With now less shifty conditions boat speed came more into play, still extremely close racing with Andy doing what he does best, yes you've guessed it..... another bullet. The chasing 'brat pack' of Nick, Will, Alister and Ian producing more consistent top five results.

The PRO decided enough was enough and hoisted the black flag for Race 5 to discourage any overly keen sailors, but John 'Titch' Wayling, Ian and Andy were all caught out with an OCS... ouch ! This allowed Will to post his eagerly awaited bullet with Martin Watts clearly loving the breeze finishing second, Nick third and Mike Webster punching into the top four for the first time.

The final Race 6 provided more of the same, excellent racing conditions, great courses, close competitive racing with a compact fleet. Yet another bullet for Andy showing the fleet how to race a Phantom at its best with Ian, Alister, Will and Mike all pushing for top five places finishing in that order.

Those who travelled were rewarded with a great weekend of competitive sailing, amazing weather, food and drink and a friendly social, what more could anyone ask for?

Congratulations to Andy Couch for such an emphatic event winning performance, retaining the Phantom Inland Championship title.

Thanks were given to Northampton Sailing Club for hosting the event and to P&B for kindly sponsoring the event and for providing great prizes.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1456Andy CouchBlithfield1111(OCS)15
2nd1435Will GulliverNorthampton3‑6231413
3rd1446Nick OrmanCastle Cove42323(RET)14
4th1459Alister MorleySalcombe5344‑6319
5th1280Ian StoneMaidenhead2775(OCS)223
6th1259Martin WattsNetley64972‑1028
7th1440Mike WebsterNorthampton95‑2064529
8th1400Jim HoptonShustoke7‑125115836
9th1346John WaylingNorthampton101168(OCS)641
10th1130Tim PlattMaidenhead8981310(DNC)48
11th1348Rich CumberbatchCastle Cove11‑1616108954
12th1447Richard SimsCarsington(OCS)1712127755
13th1356S WardBartley‑1510101591155
14th1441Ian HarridgeNantwich1281116(DNC)DNC68
15th1404Eric HoweCreeksea1715‑1914121472
16th1357Bruce HattersleyModbury141415(DNC)DNC1276
17th1318D PatrickBroadwater18‑191817111377
18th1343Olly HopkinsBowmoor16(DNC)149DNCDNC81
19th1461Graham Dale‑JonesCreeksea191313(DNC)DNCDNC87
20th1389Colin Meddows‑SmithNorthampton131817(DNC)DNCDNC90

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