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Phantom Eastern Series Open at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Eric Howe 2 Aug 07:07 BST 27-28 July 2019
Roger Smith from Creeksea battling atrocious conditions in the Phantom Eastern Series at Royal Harwich YC © Jonathan Pulfer

Royal Harwich Yacht Club was the host for the latest Eastern Series Phantom open event in conjunction with the Smugglers trophy.

Unfortunately with an horrendous forecast for the first day, Phantoms were thin on the ground. The rain started at 8pm on Friday evening and continued all night. With a first race start due at midday things eventually started to brighten up. Unfortunately with a wind direction of SSW we knew we were in for some interesting conditions.

As we sailed out to the course we were met with a steadily increasing and violently shifting breeze.

Bob Portway's local knowledge and skill was put to immediate good use as he took the lead in race one, a position he would continue to take and stay in for all five races. Bob took the win in followed by Pete Sarbutt in second, Bill Taylor third, Roger Smith fourth and Eric Howe fifth.

Race Two saw Bob Portway take his second win whilst Bill Taylor took second from Pete Sarbutt.

The third race took place during a sudden flash storm with lashing rain and violent gusting winds catching several boats out in all classes. Bob still took the win with Bill Taylor second. Peter hung in for third, Roger fourth and Eric fifth - now sailing with two cracked ribs picked up during a capsize recovery during the squall. The fleet retired to the safety of the most welcoming RHYC for a wonderful dinner and live entertainment.

Day Two dawned with a much better forecast and an early start with the customary pursuit race for the Smugglers Trophy. The wind was very light and super shifty but was still a good warm up for the day's serious racing.

Bob was at it again with yet another win. Pete second, Bill third, Roger fourth and Eric fifth.

Race five was delayed just ten seconds before the start by a serious change in wind direction and strength resulting in a lengthy sail around while the course was reset. This was enough for the already limping Eric Howe who headed back in defeated. Bob Portway took his fifth win to keep his unbeaten record with Peter Sarbutt second, Bill Taylor third and Roger Smith fourth after succumbing to a mast-mudding capsize, the same fate as Eric the day before. Luckily no injuries this time just the embarrassing clean up on the hard afterwards.

Overall Results:

1 Bob Portway (RHYC)
2 Peter Sarbutt (CSC)
3 Bill Taylor (CSC)
4 Roger Smith (CSC)
5 Eric Howe (CSC)

Big thanks to RHYC for their wonderful welcome and first class effort. They really did a fantastic job in very testing conditions for us all over the weekend.

The next Eastern series event is at Southwold this coming weekend and with a better forecast a good attendance is anticipated.

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