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Phantom class at Burnham Week 2023

by Eric Howe 7 Sep 2023 11:32 BST
Burnham Week 2023 Day 1 © Alan Hanna

Six phantoms took part this year but, despite the smaller than normal fleet, racing started on Saturday in a shifting tricky breeze from the west south west on a trapezoid course in town off the BSC.

The reigning east coast champion Bill Taylor and Northampton's Richard Nurse were the first to show their pace, whilst Roger Smith was quick as well but failed to sail through the outer distance mark gate on the final upwind leg. Richard took the win with Bill second, Chris Roberts took third as Roger had been relegated to sixth. In the second race Roger put things right taking second with Richard collecting his second win. Bill was pushed back to fourth place by Chris, now getting up to speed after a quiet year in the phantom by his standards. After racing we retreated to the Corinthian balcony for drinks and to continue discussing the days events followed by dinner at the White Harte. We agreed it was a fantastic start day to the event.

Day Two was forecast to have a little more wind from the west north west and it lived up to the forecast.

The town course was extended and included a very tricky town side beat against the tide. Bill Taylor got out of bed with a huge smile on his face at the conditions and took both races in formidable form. Richard kept the pressure on with two close seconds with Chris right in there for third having led the second race for a time.

Pete Sarbutt unfortunately had his kicker explode knocking him out of both races. Roger had a fourth and then with one bad tack where he just couldn't squeeze under his boom, he capsized and succumbed to the shallows and mud on the town bank which trapped him, forcing a retirement.

He was found later removing all the mud in the dinghy park and licking his wounds.

We retreated to the Corinthian balcony for drinks and more debriefing then off to the White Harte again to top up the calories that had been lost after two hard races.

There was nothing in it now between Bill and Richard with Chris after them.

It was starting to get interesting for the race for fifth place now and subsequent report writing prize as well.

A added dimension was the reversion to the traditional Burnham Week courses (long!) with a Committee Boat start at Pile House and down river courses with the "big boats".

Monday's race start was also later at one o'clock but with a very light breeze, a long course and an ebbing tide, an epic tactical hour and three quarter race took place for the title.

After an hour the fleet was pretty much together with most of us having a lead at times. Chris was now in his element and found the magic to take the win, whilst Roger had the makings of the conditions for a great second, whilst Richard took third.

Pete, after an unlucky first couple of days, got the fourth he deserved. This pushed Bill back to fifth.

This meant Richard took the championship with Bill second and Chris third. Roger got the fourth and I'm writing this with fifth.

The final event in the Eastern Series is at Waveney and Oulton Broad Oulton Broad on 28/29 October.

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