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Phantom Eastern Series at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Peter Sarbutt 21 Jul 15:40 BST

Royal Harwich Yacht Club hosted the latest Eastern Series Phantom open event in conjunction with the annual Smugglers regatta, with a turn out of ten Phantoms. Many of the visiting Creeksea group elected to arrive on the Friday night to sample the culinary and liquid delights of the Butt and Oyster.

Saturday dawned sunny with light winds from the south east, which steadily built throughout the morning ahead of the racing starting shortly after midday with all competitors enjoying Champagne sailing conditions and the picturesque river Orwell.

The race officer set a windward leeward course for the first race, with the fleet keeping to the north shore to avoid the rising tide. Visiting sailor Richard Nurse, was closely followed by local sailor Bob Portway as well as Creeksea top guns Chris Roberts and Bill Taylor. Richard held his position for the first race with Chris Roberts in second and Bill Taylor in third. Down the fleet there were regular position changes, some tactical checks of slot gasket and most importantly, close racing enjoyed by all.

The second race was an Olympic course, local knowledge prevailed with a win from Bob, a strong second position by Bill Taylor and third place to Richard.

The third race was back to windward leeward. Now towards the top of the tide, there were some more varied approaches to the upwind and downwind legs and some changes to the top of the tables. Richard dominating the race with Bill with another second and Pete Sarbutt in third after a particular fortunate downwind leg on the last lap.

Racing over, the club enjoyed the hospitality of RHYC for post race dissection and refreshments.

Sunday morning was a similar start to Saturday with light winds, this and the aroma of bacon sandwiches convinced most of the Phantoms to stay ashore for the pursuit race, with only Bob Portway electing to compete.

The forecast of a building breeze led some of the athletes to decide that two bacon and egg rolls would provide tactical advantage for the afternoon's racing. Ballast consumed, a couple of hours were spent setting up boats whilst hiding in the shade as far as possible.

Fortunately the predicted breeze filled in throughout the morning so Sunday's racing was again held in perfect conditions, with a moderate breeze from the South East with some bigger gusts building through the afternoon to keep the fleet on its toes.

Race 4 was set as a windward leeward and Richard maintained his previous momentum to win a third race, with Bob, nicely warmed up from the pursuit race in second and Bill in third.

Race 5 was a trapezoid course allowing the phantoms to really shine making the reaching legs an exhilarating blast from mark to mark. Richard consolidated his position with another first with Chris and Bob snatching the remaining podium finishes from the rest of the field.

Given the afternoon was pressing on, the final race was a slightly shortened version of the previous trapezoid course. Some of the bigger gusts caught some of the fleet out, with a particularly spectacular capsize to windward at the gybe mark calling short Eric Howe's impressive performance. Gurgled expletives were enjoyed by the boats in close pursuit until they realised they too needed to gybe...

Bill Taylor put in an impressive performance to win, Chris in second and Richard third.

A big thank you goes to the RHYC for their welcome and efforts to put on another superb event.

The next Eastern Series event will be at Burnham Week racing for the East Coast Phantom Trophy over the August bank holiday weekend with another strong turnout expected.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm
11337Richard Nurse
21273Bill Taylor
31334Robert Portway
41395Chris Roberts
51233Pete Sarbutt
61433Warren Martin
71404Eric Howe
81461Graham Dale‑Jones
91320Roger Smith
101224Yossi Galiko

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