Phantom Training day and Open meeting at Alton Water SC

Phantoms at play
Neil Shroud
The first event in the 2012 Phantom Class Eastern Series took place at AWSC with new sponsors Allen Bros joining long standing supporter James Jarvey of JJ boats.

Saturday started with a tuning session ashore with approx. twenty boats rigged up, fully tweaked and calibrated with much borrowing of tape measures and rig tension gauges. This time was well spent as it had allowed a light breeze to develop on the reservoir and Ian 'Windy' Miller took the fleet out for an on the water session that involved starting practise in sail number order and gate style starts. This exercise warmed the helms up for a rigorous work out after lunch with Coach Simon Butterworth of National Class sponsors Virtual Riggers.

Simon started with a briefing to explain the two routines he had planned. 'Gut Buster' and 'Box of Hell' might almost have been Phantom boat names but by the end of the day the class had a better understanding of the logic behind the titles of the exercises. Simon seemed to enjoy putting more mature helms through their paces and his run through of the videos of starts and mark rounding proved illuminating.

Of particular interest was the challenge of stepping out of the classroom to estimate the three boat length required to establish mark room (no more calls for water from this class now!). This left several helms standing a proven two boats away with only a few accurately gauging the distance correctly. That evening, the majority of the fleet assembled for a very sociable meal and beers at the Kings Head in Stutton - with entertainment provided by the fleets Canon and Ball pairing of Ingram and Pike.

The sunshine from Saturday was replaced by a slightly dull and cold Sunday but at least the breeze looked a little better for the 23 entrants from 13 different clubs.

The first race saw a clean start from a well drilled fleet with Jez Taylor 'acing' the beat to lead from Chris Roberts with Simon Childs in close pursuit. On the run Roberts pulled through and at the gybe mark Childs proved he hadn't needed to attend the training session by executing a perfect racing rounding to overhaul Taylor and push Roberts hard on the beat.

After working hard to round the windward mark Roberts managed to pull away and take the gun.

The second race saw a change in fortunes with the breeze proving unstable with large shifts and a challenging windward leg on the trapezoidal course set by Gavin Johnson and Jerry Andrews on the committee boat. Childs had to fight hard to take the gun from Bob Portway from Alton who is showing great boat speed to add to his expertise at dealing with Alton Waters vagaries.

Lunch ashore was a brief affair as a further two races were planned and the fleet made a quick return to get back to the starting area. Whilst waiting for the starting sequence it became apparent that the wind was starting to swing and was fluctuating in strength. After tweaking the course and a false start the third race got under way with the threat of a Black Flag. Whatever James Jarvey had for lunch must have contained a secret shift sniffing ingredient as he played the shifts and kept his nerve whilst being challenged by last year’s Eastern Series champ Ben Falat from Waveney and Oulton Broad and Bob Portway.

The final race was again started under the threat of a Black Flag and this time a roll call of sail numbers diminished the fleet by seven boats.

Jarvey had got the hang of the conditions and his beautiful new boat by now and again made it look easy whilst the fleet endured much place changing as the breeze either filled in from astern on the downwind legs or faded on the beats. Ben Falat again followed Jarvey across the line whilst Childs took third.

The final results saw Jarvey win from Childs on count back with Bob Portway taking third being two points behind. Falat secured fourth place by counting two seconds and a fifth ahead of Roberts.

At the prize giving the usual class 'spot prizes' we're awarded throughout the fleet and the latest Eastern series 2012 tee shirt design was unveiled. To qualify for this designer item three events must be completed - with the next opportunity being at Up River Yacht Club on the 21st / 22nd April.

A huge thanks to everyone at Alton Water for hosting the event and enduring the Phantom fleet visitors during the Winter and Frostbite series. Massive thanks are also due to Simon Butterworth for his coaching and to Windy for all his efforts in organising the event.

Overall Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Entries: 23, Scoring system: Appendix A
RankSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4TotalNett
1st1403James JarveyHickling Broad SC(4.0)4.01.01.010.06.0
2nd1376Simon ChildsHayling Island SC2.01.0(6.0)3.012.06.0
3rd1205Bob PortwayAWSC3.02.03.0(5.0)13.08.0
4th1359Ben FalatWaveney & Oulton Broad YC(6.0)5.02.02.015.09.0
5th1395Chris RobertsCreeksea SC1.09.0(10.0)4.024.014.0
6th1355Matthew HouseAWSC(8.0)3.08.06.025.017.0
7th1340Tyler HarmsworthShoreham SC9.06.04.0(14.0 OCS)33.019.0
8th1256Marcus IngramUp River YC10.0(12.0)5.07.034.022.0
9th1259Jez TaylorAWSC7.010.07.0(14.0 OCS)38.024.0
10th1349Daren PikeRollesby Broad SC5.011.011.0(14.0 OCS)41.027.0

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