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Phantom Open at Downs Sailing Club

by Paddy Denby 2 Jun 05:53 BST 22-23 May 2021

Nine visitors joined the two resident host club boats for a two day open meeting over the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of May, most notably it was the inaugural event of the new South East Phantom travellers circuit and the first open event since lockdown restrictions were eased.

A total of 3 races were planned on the first day with a variable forecast of SW 8kts reducing to 4-6kts the sailors were greeted by the extremely welcoming club with conditions improving at the time of launching, after a slight delay to reset the course due to a noticeable change in wind speed and direction the first race was under way, Paddy Denby made the best of the start and the first leg rounding the windward mark first closely followed by local Chris Shelton, a few places were made and lost on the downwind legs and racing was close until the 2nd run on the trapezoid course when the wind was replaced by extreme bouts of rain, the race turned into one of who could drift back slowest on the tide with first place turning to last and vice versa, Phantom virgin Tom Field-Stevens (purchased the boat the previous Sunday) surprising the fleet at one point by sailing, or maybe drifting slightly less slowly than the rest from the rear to near the front, shortly after what felt like another 5 reshuffles the race was eventually abandoned as was the rest of the days racing.

The club provided a BBQ and drinks in the evening which was enjoyed by several the visitors and thanks should be heaped on the club for providing the social element especially with under the current restrictions.

Sunday morning provided another challenge for the race officer with a forecast promising increasing breeze from the already 15-18kts when the sailors arrived. Due to a combination of other commitments and the forecast the fleet was depleted to 8 for the start of the 4th race. With a freshening forecast, and the planned committee boat unable to make the journey to the start line, a club line start was put in place with a SW breeze and north running tide starting position was key, at the first mark it was Paddy Denby first round with Mike Webster close on his heels, by the end of the first lap it was Webster from Denby closely fighting for the lead with Webster extending through the remainder of the race with Denby in a clear 2nd followed by John "Titch" Wayling 3rd at the finish.

The start of the 5th race was raced around the same circuit with an increased realisation that a good start was key, again Denby and Webster fought it out along the first leg with Denby just coming out ahead around the first mark, with Webster making the most of the downwind and the next upwind leg pulling out a noticeable lead, Denby had consolidated 2nd with Chris Shelton 3rd, Nick Mason 4th and Clive Morley 5th. Webster and Denby were somewhat disappointed to find that with their over enthusiasm at the start they were both OCS promoting Shelton to 1st, Webster 2nd and Morley 3rd.

As the breeze had now increased to 20-25kts the fleet voted with their feet and all returned to shore to complete the racing for the weekend.

Overall Results:

1st Chris Shelton (Downs SC)
2nd Nick Mason (Island Barn Reservoir SC)
3rd Clive Morley (Minnis Bay SC)
4th Mike Webster (Northampton SC)
5th Paddy Denby (Broadstairs SC)
6th Titch Wayling (NSC)
7th Dave Patrick (Broadwater SC)
8th Tony Cook (DSC)
9th Tim Denby (BSC)
10th Stewart Jarvis (BSC)
11th Tom Field-Stevens (BSC)

Once again thanks to Downs SC from the fleet, especially to the race team, canteen and patrol boat crews for putting on such a great event under extremely trying conditions.

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