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Phantom Midlands Traveller Series at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Michael Webster 10 Sep 14:12 BST 4 September 2021
The view over Draycote Water © Paula Southworth

Draycote Sailing Club hosted the third event in the Midlands traveller series on Saturday 4th September. A small but very experienced fleet arrived on the shore of the lake to witness a light breeze from the east.

And yes he's back... Andy Couch multiple Phantom Champion stepped back into his Phantom for the first time this season after favouring his VX One and Finn for most of 2021. Clearly in a bid to brush up on his amazing skills of flying his boat across the water (more on that later), in readiness for the up and coming National Championships in mid-September.

The forecast was for light and variable wind, which certainly was the case as the fleet began to rig their boats.

With the spare time before the racing commence, a couple of new boats went through the measuring process. Matt Velamail's battleship grey Ovington and Jim Hopton's new Ovi/James Jarvey beautiful wooden decked and low cockpit fit out... very nice!

Out on the water the RO set a trapezoidal course trying his best to fix the angles in the shifting light breeze. Not seen much in Phantom sailing he also added a leeward gate at the bottom of the course, as there are some discussions that this may be a feature at the National Championships at Stone Sailing Club later in the month.

Race 1 of 4 got under way with a long first beat, Norman Byrd leading the fleet for most of the race only to see, yes you've guessed it... Andy Couch easing past to take his first bullet of the day. Norman in second and an impressive start for Tom Whittigham, finishing in third.

Race 2 followed shortly with the fleet splitting up the first beat left and right. At one point the right looked good but in the end the left paid off with a big swing in the shift and set the order of play for the rest of the race. Andy finishing easily in first, this time Matt Velamail in second and Jim Hopton in third, with the new boats showing their paces.

Race 3 got away cleanly with Andy easing into the front with the cobwebs now blown away extending as the race continued. The rest of the fleet was compact and the tactical down wind legs saw the boats bunching and trying to make the most of the light wind patches. Familiar faces crossing the line Andy first, Tom second and Norman third.

Andy didn't need to hang around for the final race of the day and was packing his boat up on the shore while the rest of us mere mortals continued to battle it out on the water.

Race 4 started in the continuing light and shifty airs with left or right paying up the beat, but nobody really knowing for sure. Norman established his light wind prowess and lead for the race with Mike Webster sneaking past the fleet on the blind side on the final downwind leg finishing in third just behind his club mate Richard Nurse in second.

It was good to see Tom Gissane the newbie of the fleet showing a noticeable improvement in speed, clearly benefiting from the help and advice from his Bowmoor S.C team mates.

Congratulations to Andy..... is this an omen for the Nationals, we'll just have to wait and see.

Our thanks to HD sails and Ceilidh masts for their sponsorship of the 2021 Midlands series, their much sought after tee-shirts were distributed to three new recipients along with the usual liquid refreshment prizes and club trophies.

The next event in the Midlands series is at Burton Sailing Club on the 23rd October - note for diary !

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st1456Andy CouchBlithfield111(DNF)3
2nd1467Norman ByrdDWSC2‑4316
3rd1448Tom WhittinghamBowmoor3‑92611
4th1492Jim HoptonShustoke‑434411
5th1440Mike WebsterNorthampton Sailing Club57‑8315
6th1337Richard NurseNorthampton SC95‑10216
7th1270Charlie ChandlerBowmoor Sailing Club‑765516
8th1488Matt VelamailBeaver827(DNF)17
9th1362Tom GissaneBowmoor‑10106723
10th1406Olly HopkinsBowmoor689(DNF)23

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