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Phantom Eastern Series open meeting at Creeksea Sailing Club

by Bill Taylor 20 May 13:36 BST 14-15 May 2022

One of the favourite events on the Phantom Eastern circuit saw Creeksea Sailing Club welcome early travellers on the Friday night who took full advantage of the free beer and BBQ that the home fleet had provided.

The 14 strong fleet on Saturday morning saw not much breeze to start with, so the race officer Edwin Buckley soon flew the postponement flag till he was sure the wind had filled in. After about an hours delay the wind had filled in just enough to get the sailing under way but the normal up river course could not be used because of the wind direction, so a course between Burnham marina and the club was set.

Making a good start Warren Martin was first round the windward mark but was "engulfed" by the following fleet on the run up river.

After a tight battle it looked like Bob Portway had managed to pull out enough of a lead to keep ahead of Graham Dale Jones on the run to the final mark off the club before a final short beat to the line, however, Chris Roberts and Terry Crook were able to better judge the point at which to head up for the mark against the tide and rounded to finish in that order with Dale Jones in third.

Well fed and watered after lunch the fleet returned to find that a nice 10kt breeze that had filled in. The start of the 2nd race saw an opportunity for Bill Taylor to get a port tack flyer over the fleet only to let Titch overtake on the beat whilst Roberts pulled through to third and the trailing pack from 4th to 9th came over the line together giving the race officer a battle to decide the finishing places.

With the same course as the second race, the third race was under way with an even stronger wind filling in with Bob Portway becoming the third winner of the day with Roberts in second place ahead of a delighted Mike Stone.

That evening the fleet retired to an Indian restaurant in Burnham for curry, a few beers and a detailed debriefing session.

Sunday morning brought one more competitor returning to the fleet after a six year break. Marcus Ingram showed he had not forgotten how to sail a Phantom, making a good start on the beat against a foul tide and immediately being in contention with the leaders. With short tacking being the order of the day and whilst a few boats made it look easy, two laps was one too many for some, with some others finding the clay for a short break including local legend Eric Howe for one.

Round the leeward mark was very tricky, stay in the tide with the wind or inshore to the finish line out of the tide and breeze. Terry Crook made the right decision and took the win with the Roberts in second.

The fifth race was much of the same with tacking battles up the shore towards Burnham, making the windward mark first was Titch with Roberts in close pursuit, and making the most of the tidal gate they pulled away from the fleet with Roberts overtaking Titch on the run back leaving Roberts to take another bullet and Titch in second.

The tide had started to turn for the sixth and final race, so an easier beat over the full width of the river was possible with and a run back up the shore this time. The shorten course was welcome as the breeze was beginning to fade and the end of the race saw Bob Portway take the win ahead of Titch and Terry Crook.

With Chris Roberts not sure if he'd done enough to win the event and become the first home sailer to have won the Creeksea Phantom Open, a nervous wait was had until the race box confirmed he had finally done it after 20 previous attempts and many past top three placings.

The next Eastern Series event is at The Royal Harwich Yacht Club over the weekend of 16th and 17th July.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11395Chris RobertsCSC1‑3221‑46
21385John WaylingNSC‑51‑53228
31464Terry CrookCSC2‑6‑614310
41334Bob PortwayRHYC‑6‑7155112
51273Bill TaylorCSC‑7247(RET)518
61320Roger SmithCSC45‑76‑7621
71430Tim DenbyBSC84811(DNC)(DNC)31
81234Marcus IngramURYC(DNC)(DNC)DNC43731
91404Eric HoweCSC‑12‑9996933
101433Warren MartinCSC9‑11‑11109836
111420Clive MorleyMBSC‑14810810‑1136
121309Mike StoneCSC11‑133‑13131037
131233Pete SarbuttCSC1010‑14(DNS)81240
141461Graham Dale JonesCSC31412(RET)12(DNF)41
151204Olly MoonCSC‑1312131211(DNF)48

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