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Phantoms for Halloween at Oulton Broad

by Bill Taylor 1 Nov 2022 18:45 GMT 29-30 October 2022

Because the original venue for the last event on the Phantom Eastern series calendar was suffering from a lack of water and excessive weed there was a risk of cancellation; however following brief discussion at the Class Championship, Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club stepped in to host at short notice.

A few sailors arrived on the Friday and took up residence at the historic Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club for the weekend, also enjoying a Class dinner table on Saturday evening.

Arriving at WOBYC on Saturday morning for racing to a forecast south-easterly 10 knots (gusting 20) breeze, four races planned for Saturday and three on Sunday; committee boat starts on the Saturday and from the club line on Sunday.

The committee boat, positioned at the far end of the broad, got the start of race 1 under way. Beating towards moorings at the other end of the broad it was clear to see there were many gains to be won or lost in the shifts. After making a good start and showing good boat speed newcomer to the fleet Duncan Russell (Deben YC) was caught out in a tack by a gust and gave his slot gasket a quick check; there were a few riders caught doing the same during the day. There were many place changes throughout the fleet; local Ben Falat showed the fleet the way around until very late-on when Richard Nurse (Northampton SC) overtook to win and Matthew House (a former local) 3rd.

The same course was used for race 2. With a good start by Ben he managed to keep the rest of the fleet chasing him round the track to take the win, Matthew House 2nd, Richard Nurse 3rd. The sailors paused for a well-earned buffet lunch that the club had laid on. The fleet was then joined by one more sailor Andrew Hunt who, following an impromptu fleet-poll, was pleased to hear that there would now be 2 discards from the 7 planned races; Andrew was back-in-the-'hunt' (pun !).

With late news that a memorial service was due to be held at Raveningham Church, Norfolk, for Betty Taylor, wife of Phantom designer and herself for many years first Class Secretary, the race officer was asked to coordinate an "Afloat Silence" at the next 2 o'clock warning-signal for the fleet to mark respect by all collecting on the same tack, stand-up in their boats and let-sheets-fly.

For race 3 the committee boat was moved to the club end of the broad as the wind had dropped unexpectedly and shifted to the south, with a shorter beat the windward mark got quite congested; the leeward mark at the other end of the broad split the fleet and with further shiftiness a shortened course flag was raised giving Nurse 1st, House 2nd, Bill Taylor (Creeksea SC) 3rd.

Race 4 saw the wind dropping even more to drifting conditions at times, but there seemed to be a trend developing with the top 3 Nurse, Falat and House finishing in that order. The day's racing completed, the fleet headed for the club-house discussing who got what shift right or wrong.

Sunday morning greeted the fleet with rain, more rain and not much wind; using the club line racing soon got under way as a first separate start ahead of the club racing series. Local Nick Crickmore taking an early lead was closely followed by Nurse and Hunt, that would be how they finished.

For race 6 the rain had briefly stopped letting House show the fleet he still had good pace even after complaining about a bad knee all weekend, he took the win with Falat 2nd, Nurse 3rd.

The wind dropping considerably, race 7 was advanced. Falat stormed into an 'unassailable' position and promptly fell into a wind-hole; left-handers Eric Howe and Graham Dale-Jones (both Creeksea) glided in on a gust and right-handers House and Nurse pulled up on a lift dropping Falat from 1st to 9th within only 6 boat-lengths of the first mark. House loudly expressing his "SchadenFreude" now continued his new-found form in the light; GD-J and Howe in 2nd and 3rd eventually couldn't hold off Nurse for long enough to finish it in that order, so House 1st, Nurse 2nd, GD-J 3rd.

All the races over and results in, it was Ben Falat 3rd, Matt House 2nd and Richard Nurse winning his second event in the Eastern series, Richard thanked the club and volunteers for putting on a great event at such short notice, and added that Phantoms would love to come back next year.

Also picking up a major trophy was Bill Taylor for winning the Eastern Travellers series overall from Chris Roberts (non-attendee here) on countback.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
11337Richard NurseNorthampton13112327
21432Matthew HouseArdleigh32234119
31266Ben FalatWOBYC215252411
41482Andrew HuntJersey12124535724
51273Bill TaylorCreeksea6431184825
61461Graham Dale‑JonesCreeksea5786107328
71297Nick CrickmoreWOBYC996418928
81394Nick FavellWOBYC769966631
91233Pete SarbuttCreeksea451177101134
101404Eric HoweCreeksea81071099437
111324Duncan RussellDeben10810811111147

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