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Leaderboard FD July August September 2023

Phantom Open at Creeksea Sailing Club

by Mark Spruce 10 Jun 2023 20:08 BST 3-4 June 2023
Creeksea SC Phantom Open © David Chick, Shaun, Graham-Dale Jones, Chris Roberts

I overheard a comment once, "that the Essex Massive couldn't organise a P*$$ up (*Phantom up) in a brewery" they said? Well, "they only went and blew the b$*^%y doors off!".

Drive east off the M25, just north of Old Father Thames and you head into an eastern county full of lush fields, green woods, orchards & dairy cows, country churches & village cricket greens and wood-clad houses resembling old, bleached boat hulls stranded on the shore.

Keep driving until you can smell the sea salt in the air - then turn down a twisty, narrow, leafy lane until you can see the water and a collection of dinghies parked on the grass under the sun dappled, woody canopy. You can only hear the sound of the wind through the trees, clanking the odd halyard against masts, a lone cuckoo and other bird song in the surrounding woodland.

You've reached Creeksea and its wonderful, hidden gem of a sailing club, hidden away on the northern banks of the River Crouch!

16 Phantom sailors entered for the second event in the Phantom Eastern Region series for this famed, Creeksea SC Open meeting.

The club encouraged sailors to turn up early and enjoy camping on their beautiful grounds, providing a great BBQ and a barrel of the local brewer's ale for all those who arrived on the Friday evening. A great opportunity to renew old acquaintances, meet new friends, share the craich and try to psyche out the competition!

We woke on Saturday to a weekend of wall to wall blue skies and a 15knot NE gradient breeze that increased to 22knots with reinforcement from the sea breeze and funnelling along the river. Perfect!

Of course, not all is plain sailing along this stretch of the river - it twists and turns, deepens and shallows, diverting strong tidal flow into a myriad of eddies and counter currents in the brown water. It hides behinds stands of trees, dock wharves and buildings to interrupt the strong wind creating big wind shadows, lifts and knocks. The Creeksea Fleet deliberately designed it this way - to give the locals home advantage and to frustrate all those visitors who think they can come from "civilisation" and steal all their silver ware!

Despite Chris Roberts snatching a well-deserved win from Bill Taylor and Mark Spruce in R1, Saturday was dominated by Terry John with a bullet in R2 and doing it again in R3 following the break ashore in the sun for afternoon tea.

Terry took a 2 point advantage at the end of the day's racing over, a very consistent, Bill Taylor but the shifty & strong tidal conditions mixed the rest of the fleet's results up with a big points gap to the bulk of the fleet who were all sitting with only a point or 2 between them.

After several 2 mile beats in their legs it was a tired fleet who recovered their boats and made themselves ready for the nights "Main Event".

Did I mention a brewery?

A very pleasant evening was spent eating and drinking a variety of craft beers at Wibbler's Brewery in nearby Southminster! So, it's not true - the Creeksea Massive CAN organise a P... .. in a brewery!

Sunday broke to more of the same. Wall to wall sunshine and a moderate to strong NE wind. There were some very tired (Hungover? You may say that, I couldn't possibly comment!) sailors emerging from camper vans and tents desperately applying the factor 50 and massaging sore muscles for the hiking and pumping (sorry, sheet pulling!) to come.

Sail, eat, drink, sleep - repeat!

The results were more spread out with race wins going to Bill Taylor, Mark Spruce and Terry Johns but again it was Terry (nett 9pts) and Bill's (nett 11 points) consistency that separated them from the rest of the fleet. Neither finished any race outside the top ten and, after discards, both only counted top 5 finishes. Very impressive sailing in such varied and challenging conditions. The last place on the podium went to Roger Smith (nett 22 points).

Close racing in the middle of the fleet meant sailors needed to fight right to the last race. Only 6 points separated the next 5 boats, with count-backs required to split point ties.

A testament to the Phantom itself - 18 year old boats competing with nearly new and a big range in ages and body weights all being competitive.

A great event was wrapped up again with afternoon tea in the sun for the whole fleet and the prize-giving.

As always, these events don't happen by themselves and the entire fleet thanked the Creeksea Massive organisers - Bill Taylor, Chris Roberts and Graham Dale-Jones for running such a laid back and unique event. Particular thanks went to the Race Officer Keith Fedi & his team and David Chick & Shaun who spent both days keeping a watchful eye on the fleet and providing the photos from the Creeksea SC patrol RIB. Not forgetting Mrs Roberts for the fantastic afternoon teas which I think she stole from the local cricket club?

Thank you - your humble narrator, for one, will be back!

The next event in the Eastern Phantom series is Royal Harwich YC on 1st & 2nd July - get your entries in to ensure your fun!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11464Terry John4116219
21273Bill Taylor22418211
31320Roget Smith84Rtd34322
41500Richard Nurse103375725
51342Mark Spruce3116101525
61245Paddy Denby7555Rtd426
71395Chris Roberts181127DNS29
81459Dave Nichols667410831
91420Clive Morley5132DNS11637
101404Eric Howe9710931038
111394Nick Favell1199116944
121433Warren Martin13128891148
131494Simon Evance1515121412DNS68
141233Pete Sarbutt1410OCS12RtdDNS68
151461Graham Dale‑Jones1214DNS13DNSDNS73
161174Yossi Galiko1616RtdDNSDNSDNS82

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