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Optimum Time Phantom Southern Travellers at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Richard Cumberbatch 23 Oct 2019 15:02 BST 19-20 October 2019
Salcombe Phantom Open © Andrew Sterling

For the second year running the Optimum Time Phantom Southern Traveller Series were at Salcombe Yacht Club for the final event of the season.

And what an absolutely stunning weekend it turned out to be. Wall to wall sunshine, blue skies and the harbour to ourselves, at what is undoubtedly the most picturesque venue on the calendar. Even the seals put in an appearance.

Admittedly, the wind and tide can be 'interesting' at times, but when you make a call and it comes good the rewards are significant. Get it wrong and it can be devastating. I don't think there was a sailor there who doesn't have tales of both. And therein lies the challenge, but until you go there I don't you ever really quite appreciate it. There's a reason other classes flock here.

The weekend started well, with a bit of session in the Victoria on Friday night, and a pub breakfast the following morning to watch England take the Wallabies apart. Perfect.

2 races were held each day, and overnight it was a Salcombe top 4, with Alister Morley, taking two bullets, Paul Ellis with 2 seconds, Chris Cleaves with 2 thirds and Olly Alexander a fourth and a fifth.

This didn't reflect just how close it had been on the water, with places changing constantly, but unsurprisingly the Salcombe boys came out on top when it counted.

Saturday's races were a beat down the estuary to mark 1, and then a long run up the estuary and through 'the bag' to 7, somewhere off towards Kingsbridge. No 40 minute lightweight races in this neck of the woods! Chris Cleaves led for much of the first race, but Alister and Paul eventually overhauled him.

In race two, at 50 yards from the line it looked like a bullet for Paul and a second for Richard Cumberbatch, but Alister still managed to find his way to the front for his second bullet, and Chris took his second third of the day.

Sunday was breezier, and the wind was coming down the estuary instead. In race 3 Alister Morley and Paul Ellis again led the way with Alister and Paul assuming their usual positions of a 1, 2 respectively. Jim Hopton, Richard Cumberbatch and Chris Cleaves were fighting for 3rd. As the breeze increased on the final beat Jim and Richard pulled ahead a little with Richard just taking 3rd on the line.

Race 4 looked like being a repeat of race 3 for Alister and Paul, but Jim was hanging in there. It was all getting rather close on the final beat. The shorten course flag was raised, but a little late for Paul who had already decided to cross the estuary. Jim Hopton snuck the bullet from Alister Morley, the only person to do so all weekend, and Richard benefited from the late shorten course signal to take 3rd from Paul Ellis. Not that either of these events affected Alister and Pauls final scoreline.

Overall Results:

1th Alister Morley (Salcombe)
2th Paul Ellis (Salcombe)
3th Jim Hopton (Shustoke)
4th Richard Cumberbatch (Castle Cove)
5th Chris Cleaves (Salcombe)
6th Olly Alexander (Salcombe)
7th Nick Mason (Island Barn)
8th Dave Patrick (Broadwater)

9th Bruce Hattersly (Salcombe)

All told, it was an outstanding weekends sailing. As one person was heard to say "it's like having a cheeky little summer holiday".

Sincere thanks to both Salcombe Yacht Club for their hospitality and for hosting a great event, and to Optimum Time for their sponsorship.

We'll see you all again next year!

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