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P&B Phantom Inland Championship at Northampton Sailing Club

by Mike Webster 9 Jun 11:29 BST 5-6 June 2021
P&B Phantom Inlands at Northampton © David Simpson

As the first weekend in June loomed, Phantom sailors from around the country were eagerly viewing their wind apps in the hope that the wind gods were aware it was the long awaited P&B Phantom Inland Championships.

Summer had arrived and along with it, high pressure and light winds! This didn't deter the 40 online entries heading to Northampton Sailing Club with its 420 acres set in the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire.

The fleet were keen to get together, to meet up with old friends and new. A handful arrived early on Thursday afternoon for the long weekend event, participating the club evening racing.

Friday was a planned training day as a precursor to the main event. John 'Titch' Wayling supported by Simon Hawkes and Mike Webster delivered some onshore boat tuning, exchanging ideas on rig and boat set up. This was followed by on the water coaching for the fifteen Phantoms, the light winds providing perfect conditions for practice roll tacking and gybing and finishing off with numerous short line, windward/leeward races. The debriefing session watching the go pro footage over a glass or two of the local Timothy Taylor's brew was always going to be a success!

Saturday morning saw many more Phantom arrive for the midday start and thankfully the light wind forecast for the weekend didn't deter most. The Race Officer - Neil Barford briefed the competitors, advising a postponement until the much anticipated 5-7 mph westerly arrived in the early afternoon. Due to the Sunday forecast looking even lighter, it was decided go try and race four out of the planned six race event on the Saturday.

Race 1 saw Mike Webster round the windward mark first, but was soon passed by Rob Starling who led the fleet around the trapezoid course. The difficult condition of small pressure bands and dead patches made life difficult for the sailors but Rob Cook closed ranks on the leader and managed to squeeze past on the last short beat to the finish line. Rob Starling smarting in second with Chris Shelton and Miles Odel in third and four respectively.

Race 2 commenced after a quick turnaround with the leading boats sniffing out the light pressure patches ahead of the rest of the pack. The downwind legs being particularly nervy when the fleet bunched together, desperately trying to avoid the killer holes in the wind. Simon Hawkes took the lead from Mike Webster only to have a brain freeze heading to the wrong mark on the last lap, gifting Mike Webster the bullet, Simon Hawkes a frustrated second and Benveluto Fallet taking third, with John 'Titch' Wayling in fourth.

Race 3 commenced in the same light and shifty conditions proving difficult for some to get the much sought after consistency. Clear starts and finding pressure were the key ingredients to success.

Rob Starling again made his presence know at the front end of the fleet with lots of movement and exchange of places, Rob Starling this time converting a first place closely followed by Charlie Chandler and Martin Watts with Simon Hawkes again punching into the top four.

Race 4, the final race of the day made the most of the fading pressure. A discard now in play changed to potential leader board and consistency was still the critical factor in who would come out on top after day one and the thought in everyone's mind that there might not be a day two ! The fleet eager to get started were too keen for the Race Officer, who deemed a General Recall. The fleet got away the second time with only one casualty of the 'U' flag. Despite the continuing light and shifty wind, some familiar faces were at the front again proving it wasn't all luck picking out those patchy shifts of pressure.

For the first time in the day the Race officer decided for three laps, which added pain to the sailors already aching knees. Simon Hawkes again dominated taking the winning gun followed by Rob Cook in second, with Richard Sims and Jim Hopton picking up third and fourth.

Sunday dawned with the lake looking like a mirror, with occasional breeze filling in from all directions. A short postponement was made but it was inevitable there would be no prospect of acing. The abandoned flag was duly hoisted drawing a close to the event.

Congratulations to Simon Hawkes who became the 2021 Inland Champion following a set of remarkably consistent results, never being out of the top five in difficult conditions... He clearly knew what he was talking about in the Friday coaching sessions!

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

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubRS1RS2RS3RS4Pts
1st1472Simon HawkesCastle Cove‑52417
2nd1485Rob CookNorthampton17‑15210
3rd1431Rob StarlingBurghfield281(DNS)11
4th1385John WaylingNorthampton64‑7616
5th1447Richard SimsCarsington9‑136318
6th1439Miles OdellNorthampton459‑1318
7th1440Mike WebsterNorthampton8111(OCS)20
8th1270Charlie ChandlerBowmoor7‑1721120
9th1266Benvenuto FalatWaveney Oulton Broad YC1235‑1520
10th1473Chris SheltonDowns310‑12922
11th1391Nigel KingLymington Town11‑168524
12th1481Martin WattsNetley‑20931830
13th1400Jim HoptonShustroke10‑2016430
14th1356Steve WardBartlety166‑21830
15th1337Richard NurseNorthampton13‑21171242
16th1139Matthew PritchardBurton22‑2718747
17th1419Andy WeatherspoonDRSC1419‑221649
18th1269Andrew HuntWOBYC19(DNS)131951
19th1273Bill TaylorCreeksea17‑24142152
20th1318Dave PatrickBroadwater182510‑2653
21st1394Nick FavellWOBYC GYGSC‑2811192454
22nd1484Paul BirbeckWimbleball1512(DNS)DNS55
23rd1297Nick CrickmoreWOBYC2318‑261455
24th1461Graham Dale‑JonesCreeksea‑3226241060
25th1369Duncan SymeGreat Moor2122‑251760
26th1364Tony CookDowns261423(DNS)63
27th1443Phil LongleyStone‑301520DNS63
28th1414Dave SmithHollingworth Lake2423(OCS)2370
29th1309Mike StoneStone2531(OCS)2076
30th1178To GissaneTBD‑3128272277
31st1208Simon LennaneLlandegfedd‑2929282582
32nd1467Norman ByrdDraycote27(DNS)DNSDNS87
33rd1224Yossi GalilloSWSC‑33DNS29DNS89
34th1457Simon WigmoreGrafham‑3430DNSDNS90

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