Couch takes P&B Phantom Inlands in style

Northampton SC hosted the Pinnell & Bax sponsored 2008 Phantom Inlands over the weekend May 17/18. An excellent 39 boats entered in a very competitive fleet with close racing all weekend in a 12- 15 knot breeze. Andy Couch claimed his first Inlands victory in some style, the chasers narrowed the gap a little but still have work to do!

Three races on Saturday in the rain kicked things off, with the North easterly wind direction tending to favour working the right hand shore. Reigning national champion Andy Couch won all three races, the first two by some distance. Couch rarely leads round the first windward mark but through intelligent, usually conservative sailing works through to the lead pretty quickly and is able to build a safe winning margin.

Will Gulliver posted 2,2,3 for a solid days work, with some spells leading the fleet, as did Simon Childs 3,8,2 paying the penalty for returning to restart in race 2 when not actually over the line, and Nick Beloe 5,4,4.

It was Race 3 where Couch had the biggest test with both Beloe and Childs leading for good periods, before the champ. made his move. Other notable moments saw Brett Cokayne, John Wayling and Pete Evans all produce the upwind pace and direction to lead races, while Simon Heusen and Lawrence Crispin had a consistent set of results in the top 9.

Saturday was finished off with a fine evening of beer, fantastic food and good company. The after effects only too apparent the following morning.

Sunday started in Force 3 and sunshine, the wind had swung left slightly which brought the left hand shore into play and a new degree of uncertainty on which way would pay. The answer during the day was both, it just depended when!

Race 4 saw Wayling and Crispin planing into the Windward mark from the opposite corners of the track. The day continued in this manner making decisions difficult and often costly. Couch managed to hold off Beloe in Race 4 with Crispin taking a third – his best result of the weekend.

Couch finished his day right there, not needing to do the final race. The shoot-out for the minor places was hotly contested for a couple of laps, before some big shifts and the left hand corner began to dominate. Gulliver managed to hold out to win from Wayling, Cokayne and Mike Webster.

So Andy Couch claimed his first Inlands victory in some style, the chasers narrowed the gap a little but still have work to do! First master was Eddie Brooks, Grandmaster Neil Boneham and first Classic was Russell Brayshaw.

Overall a fantastic weekend, with Northampton laying on a very well organised event on and off the water, well done and thanks!

Phantom - Final positions

1st 1277 Andy Couch Blithfield 1 1 1 1 40 DNC 4pts
2nd 1216 Will Gulliver Northampton 2 2 3 4 1 8
3rd 1170 Nick Beloe Northampton 5 4 4 2 5 15
4th 1274 Simon Childs Northampton 3 8 2 8 12 21
5th 1309 Lawrence Crispin Stone 9 5 6 3 8 22
6th 1302 Pete Evans Rudyard 7 3 5 7 13 22
7th 1149 Brett Cokayne Staunton Harold 8 6 9 6 3 23
8th 1175 John Wayling Northampton 4 15 40 DNC 5 2 26
9th 1275 Simon Heusen Lyme Regis 6 7 7 10 7 27
10th 1100 Mike Webster Elton 11 14 13 9 4 37
11th 1194 Ian Jay Sutton Bingham 16 10 10 13 9 42
12th 1229 Eddie Brooks Elton 13 9 24 16 6 44 Master
13th 1255 James Case Wells 10 12 11 12 15 45
14th 1304 Simon Cowood Northampton 14 13 14 14 10 51
15th 1111 Steve Cockerill Stokes Bay 12 16 8 17 40 RAF 53
16th 1269 Paul Childs Solent University 17 11 12 15 40 DNC 55 Youth
17th 1256 Rod Thorpe Creeksea 20 24 15 11 11 57
18th 1288 Doug Conway South Shields 15 19 20 23 17 71 Youth
19th 1243 Paul Lester Chase 19 18 17 21 25 75
20th 1241 Tim Travis RAFSA/Alton Water 40 OCS 28 16 18 14 76
21st 1177 Russell Smith Bowmoor 29 17 19 20 20 76
22nd 1264 Jeremy Shinton Bartley 18 21 23 26 18 80
23rd 1183 Daren Pike Rollesby 24 28 18 24 24 90
24th 1163 Robin Sanders Chase 22 20 26 33 22 90 Master
25th 1155 Ian Miller Felixstowe Ferry 30 30 27 19 16 92
26th 1209 James Jarvey Hickling Broad 28 22 22 27 21 92
27th 1278 Chris Roberts Creeksea 27 23 21 22 40 DNF 93
28th 1208 Neil Boneham Bartley 21 33 28 25 23 97 Grand Master
29th 1273 Pete Gough Draycote 32 32 25 29 19 105
30th 1290 Nick Thorp Alton Water 23 25 32 32 30 110
31st 1296 Chris Wright Rutland 25 29 31 28 28 110
32nd 1239 Alex Stephenson Sunderland 26 26 29 31 40 DNC 112
33rd 1184 Clive Morley Minnis Bay 36 31 30 30 26 117
34th 1291 Andy Murphy Burghfield 31 35 33 36 27 126
35th 1189 Simon Hare Oxford 33 34 35 35 29 131 Master
36th 946 Russell Brayshaw Hollowell 35 38 36 34 32 137 Classic
37th 1171 Dave Hawkins Denver 40 DNC 36 34 37 31 138 Grand Master
38th 1106 J Harvey Haversham 40 DNC 40 DNC 37 38 33 148
39th 1201 Gordon Halfacre Northampton 34 37 40 DNC 40 DNC 40 DNC 151
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