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Super Yachts at boot (newsletter)

Phantom open meeting at Shoreham Sailing Club

by Chris Shelton 12 Apr 20:58 BST 9-10 April 2023

The first event of the 2023 Phantom South East Traveller Series took place over the Sunday and Monday of the Easter weekend at Shoreham SC. The entry was very disappointing with only four Phantoms, but as the Open Meeting was being sailed within the club's Easter Cup series there were plenty of boats on the water in total. A combination of family commitments and an unfavourable forecast was probably the reason for the poor attendance.

Sunday's wind was exactly as forecast, a South Easterly F2, but what was not forecast was the sea mist, which meant at times you could not see the harbour wall on the other side of the entrance. This left the Race Officer no option except to postpone and hope that the mist cleared enough for sailing to take place.

After about an hour the visibility was slightly better and the committee and safety boats launched to assess the situation in the course area. The message came back that racing was on and the fleet launched just after midday after having to wait for a ship to enter the harbour.

The RO set a traditional triangle-sausage course and the fleet got away cleanly for Race 1. On the first beat the Phantoms of Ivan Walsh, Chris Shelton and Mark Spruce were all close together. Phil Popple was a little way behind having got tangled up with a National 12 on the start line. At the windward mark it was Ivan, then Chris, then Mark, but there was not more than 100 yards separating all three boats.

The positions stayed the same until the second beat when Ivan fluffed a tack allowing Chris to overtake. It did not stay like this for long and Ivan was soon back in front with the boats rounding the windward mark in the same order as the first lap. The boats stayed in this sequence for remainder of Race 1 with Ivan finishing first, Chris second, Mark third and Phil fourth. For a South Easterly wind that you would expect to be coming right across the open water of the English Channel it was very shifty. The shifts were generally not that sudden, but could move 15 to 20 degrees at times.

The strength was also up and down a bit but there did not seem to be any pattern to the variations.

Race 2 was soon under way and this time all 4 Phantoms were off the line cleanly with very little difference in boat speed. Different boats crossed ahead of each other until about the final third of the beat. At this stage Chris picked up a beautiful lift and rounded the windward mark not only well ahead of the other Phantoms, but also ahead of the faster Merlin Rockets. Phil was second round the windward mark and Ivan third.

The shifts on the first beat had not gone in Mark's favour and in the end he decided that an early shower was the best option. Places amongst the Phantoms remained the same for the rest of the race and although Phil was catching Chris slightly, he was still second at the finish. As the visibility started closing in again the boats returned to the harbour.

Back in the clubhouse the discussion was centred on the forecast for Monday when two more races were scheduled. Unfortunately the forecast turned out to be correct and with a steady F5-6 with stronger gusts on top, coupled with heavy rain and limited visibility, the RO made the sensible decision to cancel Monday's racing. That left the overall result based on Sunday's racing.

Thanks must go to Shoreham SC for persevering with Sunday and achieving two really good races. The course was laid well and waiting between races was kept to a minimum.

Easter Cup Full Results:

PosHandicapClassSail NoHelmCrewR1R2Pts
1stFastMerlin Rocket3796William WarrenMegan Pascoe213
2ndMediumWayfarer (Hartley)10688Bill WhitneyAlex Warren145
3rdFastMerlin Rocket3806Ben JonesHelen Hilditch426
4thMediumPhantom1491Chris Shelton 5510
5thMediumPhantom1454Ivan Walsh 3912
6thFastMerlin Rocket3773Alan WarrenWill Carroll10313
7thMediumPhantom1460Phil Popple 9615
8thMediumHADRON H2153Neal Lillywhite 8816
9thMediumSupernova1318James Gerwat 61218
10thMediumRS2001134Louise CarrPaul Walker13720
11thMediumDevoti D‑Zero140Martin Walker 121123
12thMediumWayfarer (Hartley)11046Ian O'DellTim Richardson151025
13thMediumNational 123492Roland WhiteheadKatie Whitehead141327
14thMediumPhantom1342Mark Spruce 7DNC32
15thMediumTopper42919Susan Lewis 181432
16thMediumTopper45975Fraser Fergusen 191534
17thMediumLaser187483Saul Dubow 11DNC36
18thMediumLaser Radial177861Jo West 16DNC41
19thMediumLaser 4.7133286Bea West 17DNC42
20thMediumTopper46465Callum Harris 20DNC45
21stMediumRS2001186Adam ThompsomFiona StevensDNFDNC47
22ndFastOsprey1380John MillsCaz MillsUTYY 250
22ndMediumDevoti D‑Zero Blue213Toby Lyward UTYY 250
22ndFastMerlin Rocket3800Richard BramleyTony ChealUTYY 250

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