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Allen Brothers Phantom National Championship at Lee-on-Solent Sailing Club

by Steve Bolland 15 Oct 13:44 BST 6-8 September 2019
Phantom Nationals at Lee on the Solent © John Wayling

As a change to the norm, we have to thank part time Phantom sailor Steve Bolland for his view on the nationals which attracted an entry of 54 boats...

It was the least I could do, really, to offer to write the report after being loaned a boat for the event. Normally I'm not a fan of the Solent chop due to a PTSD-inducing event there a few years ago, but when someone offers to lend you their boat it would be churlish to turn it down. 'Just bring it back in one piece', they said. 'No problem', I said. More on that later.

Luckily for us lightweights the racing was called off on the first day as 30 knots blew in straight onshore. Although the Phantom fleet is well known for being the perfect ship for the, er, more generously proportioned athlete there were, in fact, many who were more than relieved to be held ashore. This was especially fortuitous for me as, a) it wouldn't have looked good to trash a borrowed boat in the shore dump, and b) it gave me time to get my head round the super-adjustable rig. Shrouds, adjustable forestay, adjustable lowers, what are they all about?

So, onto the racing. Saturday was far more amenable weather-wise. The sun was out, making the Solent look almost inviting and the wind was blowing 12-15 knots from sort of North West but it wasn't as steady as it might have been.

Race 1 and Harry Briddon (2016 and 2018 National Champ) sailed over me off the line so I tacked off to clear my wind. And capsized. I can exclusively reveal that boom on the Phantom is lower than that of the RS300 I normally sail. Another 300 sailor, Richard Le Mare, did exactly the same. He had polished his hull though and kept sliding off. Anyway, Andy Couch, who has basically won just about every Nationals since he was 14, won from Martin Watts, Ian Stone and Harry.

Race 2 was a peculiarity. Following a large left shift just before the start, Simon Clark and I were the only boats at the pin end so you can imagine our delight when we tacked and easily crossed the fleet. Joy upon joy as we stretched our legs and the new breeze didn't reach the boats at the committee boat end until we were well up the beat. Simon got caught on the second lap as the chasing group organised itself but I managed to stay clear to the end ahead of Ian Stone, Andy Couch and Harry Briddon. Happy days! However, I thought it a little uncharitable that Nick Orman had to ask three separate people before he believed the result.

Harry Briddon had race 3 all wrapped up until 100 metres from the finish when, as the wind went sloppy, he allowed both Norman Byrd and me past on the final reach to the finish with Ian Stone also in close attendance. Maybe this Solent chop isn't so bad after all.

However, Briddon made no mistake in race 4 and finished ahead of Martin Watt, Norman Byrd and Andy Couch.

Back on shore I had the double realisation that the metallic bouncing sound I had heard in race 3 was, indeed, a spreader bolt hitting the deck before launching overboard and that I had been UFDd in the day's final race. Outrageous! Apparently I was over the line not once but twice. If you're going to do something, I guess you have to do it properly.

At the top it was extremely close, a real testament to the consistency of the leading guys. Harry Briddon was leading from Martin Watts, Andy Couch and Ian Stone but with a few more lurking once the first discard kicked in.

Day 3, the wind was slightly lighter, had kicked right a bit and was shiftier than a second-hand car salesman. My Nationals nearly ended at the start of race 5 as my shroud parted company from the deck as I sheeted in. Discovering that the real use of lowers is to hold the mast in one piece until you stop panicking, I managed to lash the shroud to the deck and was able to carry on.

Nick Orman led for the first lap of race 5 and looked to have it in the bag but was overtaken by Andy Couch, Norman Byrd, Terry Crook and Jon Nuttall by the finish. I had to ask three separate people before I believed he hadn't won.

Having got in a bit of a pickle at the start of race 6 I went right just to find clear wind so you can imagine my delight when I got a private gust and planed into the top mark on a broad reach while everyone else was still actually beating. You make your own luck in this game. Couch wasn't to be denied though, spotting the new wind on the right of the run before everyone else, going on to win form Alister Morley, who was beginning to find form, Nick Orman and myself.

Bob Portway then sailed an absolute blinder in the 7th and final race. Backing up his 5th place in the previous race, he won from Mike Webster, Andy Couch and Alister Morley.

With all racing done we headed back to shore to be greeted by free beer which had warmed nicely in the sun. The prize-giving was a tour de force with everyone, and I mean everyone, getting a prize thanks to the extremely generous sponsors. I won a nice Ovington t-shirt and bit of glass for being top old bloke, but not as old as Chris Roberts who won the really old bloke's prize. (Ed. Graham Dale-Jones won the really, really old blokes prize for the over 70's..).

It was then just a matter of packing up and marking the critical shroud-holding-up bit of Dyneema so the owner could recreate the setting. I'm thoughtful like that.

Looking forward to next year's Nationals already, at Rock from 11-13 September 2020.

The class association would like to thank the following for their sponsorship of the event; Allen Brothers, Crewsaver, Moatt, Morgan Sails, North sails, Pinnell & Bax, Southern Rope, Office Design Works and Vicky's embroidery services.

We would also like to thank the team at Lee on Solent sailing club for their hard work and dedication running the event. Gordon Kingston-Minnis was the class representative at the club and he made a huge effort for the class that all appreciated - almost as much as the free beer provided by Office Design Works.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Phantom nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st1456Andy CouchBlithfield SC13‑8‑41139
2nd1458Harry BriddonOgston SC4431(DNF)6‑818
3rd1467Norman ByrdDraycote Water SC5‑20132‑9920
4th1345Steve BollandBristol Cornithian YC912(UFD)‑114622
5th1280Ian StoneDatchet Water SC324‑12108(DNS)27
6th1419Martin WattsNetley SC2562‑32‑301429
7th1459Alister MorbeySalcombe YC127‑13‑2082433
8th1451Jon NuttallTenby SC813994(BFD)‑1943
9th1446Nick OrmanCastle Cove715‑181753‑1847
10th1392Leigh RiddellBroadwater SC‑1311‑3513613750
11th1395Chris RobertsCreeksea SC6‑25‑17714141051
12th1334Bob PortwayRoyal Harwich YC1121(UFD)(UFD)205158
13th1440Mike WebsterNorthampton SC10‑3114.51121(BFD)258.5
14th1400Jim HoptonShustoke SC‑398‑19189101560
15th1464Terry CrookStone SC‑33141025317‑2769
16th1391Nigel KingLymington Town SC1823‑25‑281912577
17th1435Will GulliverNorthampton SC16177533(RTD)(DNS)78
18th1431Rob StarlingBurghfield SC1962122‑31‑251280
19th1329Neville TaylorHunts SC20122623‑367‑4188
20th1211Chris SheltonDowns SC2216‑361413‑332388
21st1447Richard SimsCarsington SC‑30‑4220624192291
22nd1244Bill TaylorCreeksea SC‑35181119‑34311392
23rd1309Matt NieldConiston SC‑3427231617‑361194
24th1343Richard LeMareCastle Cove SC‑49335102722(DSQ)97
25th1348Richard CumberbatchCastle Cove SC21‑34122123(BFD)2198
26th1420Clive MorleyMinnis Bay SC1710‑341529‑342899
28th1278Jon ShawEast Lothian SC14‑3916301526‑35101
27th1340Edward ChildLee on the Solent SC‑362627‑32121125101
29th1386Nick MasonIsland Barn SC‑2922‑2826261516105
30th1406Tom WhittinghamBowmoor SC‑4528‑3024222117112
31st1241James OxleyWalton & Frinton YC‑423514.5‑48162724116.5
32nd1333Fernando GamboaLee on the Solent SC15‑412931‑402320118
33rd1443Phil LongleyStone SC2829248‑3532(DNS)121
34th1379Jeremy DeaconBroadwater SC26‑47‑4834281629133
35th1466Henry AyresLymington Town SC3130‑3229‑392031141
36th1454Ivan WalshShoreham SC‑413238‑4073832147
37th1384Neil BoughtonMount Batten SC32‑5037‑44184226155
38th1424Simon ClarkWhitefriars SC‑509‑4538434530165
39th1297Dean GriffithsBowmoor SC273741‑4225‑4636166
40th1339Dave ElstonCastle Cove SC‑474522‑50382933167
41st1233Peter SarbuttCreeksea SC38‑4831373724(DNS)167
42nd1318Dave PatrickBroadwater SC4624‑5033‑472838169
43rd1220James FellowsStarcross YC43‑4633‑45441840178
44th1277Peter HarlowLilliput SC25‑434339‑464034181
45th1461Graham Dale JonesCreeksea SC23404627(RTD)(DNS)RTD183
46th1465Gordon Kingston‑MinnisLee on the Solent SC5119(UFD)354935(DNS)189
47th1404Eric HoweCreeksea SC4036‑47364137(DNS)190
48th1289Steve NealRestronguet SC‑44‑444241304137191
49th1433Warren MartinCreeksea SC37‑5139‑43424342203
50th905Neil CardnoDerwent Reservoir SC‑53‑494449453939216
51st1254David SellarShoreham SC4838‑4947‑504443220
52nd1177Jack YoungLyme Regis SC‑52‑524046484744225
53rd1430Matt HouseRoyal Harwich YC24RTD(DNS)(DNS)DNSDNSDNS243
54th1346John WaylingNorthampton SC(DNS)(DNS)DNSDNSDNSDNSDNS275

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