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Phantom East Coast Championship at Burnham Week 2022

by Chris Roberts 7 Sep 2022 06:39 BST 27-29 August 2022

The three-day Bank Holiday weekend is the start of Burnham Week and the Phantoms race as a class with a fleet start to compete for their East Coast Championship.

Winds were forecast to initially be from the North but were mainly from the East, with occasional swings and a somewhat blustery force four and above. The first two days of racing were sailed from the Burnham Sailing Club line on courses that ensured Quay based spectators could enjoy the sight of these powerful dinghies racing. The final day saw a reversion to the Pile House Committee boat starts with courses being the more traditional downriver racing including the River Roach.

In addition to a strong entry from the local Creeksea SC fleet, visitors came from Lee-on-Solent, Royal Harwich and Ardleigh Sailing Club. The close proximity of the event to the forthcoming National Championships may have reduced entries but those that took part were firmly of the opinion that with boats and bodies tested to the maximum this was the best form of preparation.

And so on to the racing. Day one saw Bill Taylor put down a marker with a great start but he was unable to hold off Bob Portway who took the win after a ding dong battle with Taylor. A delighted Warren Martin took third place after Roberts picked up weed and almost capsized close to the finish letting Matt House through for fourth place.

Taylor again started well in race 2 and had a convincing win ahead of House and Portway. The run to the finish was however a classic Burnham dilemma of choosing either the North or South Shore. House was keeping a close eye on Roberts who had reached over to the North shore to avoid the tide. Taylor kept his cool though to win on the South shore and Roberts failed to receive a finishing gun as he and Warren Martin had been judged to be OCS. House took second having benefited from heading to the town shore whilst Portway took third having followed Taylor on the South bank with the rest of the fleet.

That evening a barbecue was hosted by Spruce and Taylor in the motorhome corral and the local delights of local butchers were sampled by the fleet. Anxious to avoid temptation and maintain his lead Taylor was seen to be drinking non-alcoholic beverages and the fleet knew that tomorrow was going to be hard work.

Day 2 saw a slight tweak to the courses with a figure of eight course being set that allowed the fleet to show their reaching speed with a fantastic cross river reach to a dumpy mark laid off the town Quay. The beats were shorted which was a relief as the previous days had been over a mile and a half against a flooding tide.

Taylor revelled in the strong breeze to take two wins with second places being shared between Portway and House.

By now it was fairly clear that Taylor could wrap the event up with only one decent result required on the final day but the change of course and race area seemed likely to present a chance to Portway who has form at performing under pressure.

The first race produced a surprise for the local boats when visitors Spruce and Portway started at the pin end of the line and powered ahead of those that had started lower down the line in the hope of getting to the North shore sooner. Spruce looked comfortable on this new course and tore off across the river to reach into and out of the River Roach before the run back to the line. House took a clear second ahead of Taylor.

Taylor had achieved a great result that looked likely to seal the Championship having capsized on the first short tacking beat, hit a mark but recovered well to pull back through the fleet.

Rather than rest on his laurels and perhaps mindful of Portways determination he stayed out on the course to complete the final race. Making no mistakes he won this race as well and Portway had to be content with a second place in the race and the series overall.

At the prize-giving a huge cheer greeted the ever popular Bill Taylor when he was awarded the bespoke trophy that was originally conceived by his late club mate John Torrance and donated by the late Kim Allen of Allen Bros.

The next and final event in the Eastern Series was scheduled to be held at Ardleigh Sailing Club in October however water levels are such that it is likely that an alternative venue will be found.

The fleet now looks forward to their National Championships at Lyme Regis SC over 16th-18th September.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Shergal Pharky1273Bill Taylor‑2111‑314
2Mandy1334Robert Portway1‑3‑52227
3Phootspa1432Matt House‑4223‑7411
4Phurious1342Mark Spruce‑64‑651313
5Gromit1395Chris Roberts5(OCS)345‑617
6Pink Panther1433Warren Martin3(OCS)4‑76518
7Well 'eeled1404Eric Howe‑85(DSQ)84724
8The End1461Graham Dale‑Jones7676‑8(DNF)26
9Pink Djinn1233Pete Sarbutt(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNC9DNC39

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