Phantom Class Eastern Series 2012 second round got underway at Up River Yacht Club over the weekend of 21st and 22nd April. The small but beautifully formed fleet of nine boats had plenty of time to chat and socialise before the first start at midday.
Phantom Open Meeting 2012 at Up River YC
The late start was essential to ensure adequate water on the flooding tide. Two races were scheduled for Saturday with three pencilled in for Sunday. With five races and three to count it looked like getting two good results on the first day would prove to be a good move - and so it would turn out.
The first start saw the fleet beating up river off the club line to a turning mark past the infamous 'Ditch' with a long run back downriver to the wider reaches of Brandy Hole and Fambridge. Jarvey and Roberts pulled through the fleet to round the mark neck and neck but the long run saw Simon Hopkins (guesting from the Lightning Fleet) and Ingram display their local knowledge by hugging the South bank to push him hard whilst Roberts unshipped his rudder and questioned the wisdom of using a fixed blade.
After beating to Stowe Pole and a quick gyration around Clements Creek the fleet turned back to finish at the club line. Jarvey had kept his cool and held Ingram and Hopkins at bay to finish in that order.
After a quick lunch the second race got underway and looked like a re-run of the first as Jarvey again led the fleet round the windward mark on a slightly more frantic course around an up river course (how appropriate). With numerous marks to round in a complex routine it did seem like the race officer was testing the sailors stamina and there were many groans as the lap count continued. Racing was remarkably tight but Jarvey hung on to his lead in a determined manner only looking flustered as the wind faded for a period and swung. Local boy Tim Harris made his move to sneak past Wayling and House and then overtake Roberts to take a deserved second place.
The evening entertainment took the form of two barrels of beer which the fleet managed to see off in record time followed by a Curry or Fish and Chip supper delivered to the club from local eateries.
Sunday had been expected to attract more competitors but the weather may have deterred further entries. The sky bore all the signs of wind in the offing with dark clouds rolling across the landscape and a notably chillier breeze. Three races to be held back to back over longer courses downriver looked likely to mix up the results but Jarvey just needed that third win to be sure of tying up the event.
A committee boat start had the fleet beating with the tide in very close company and John Wayling looked to be the most comfortable in the stiffer breeze over longer beats. In a sign of things to come Matt House having switched back to his Mylar P and B took third behind Ingram. Jarvey was back in fifth and it looked like it was going to be a hard fought battle with the decision over the top places wide open.
The second race over the same course saw House really step up to the challenge and it was a pleasure to see him take his first ever Phantom Open meeting win ahead of a very consistent Ingram who just pipped Roberts on the finish line. Jarvey was placed fourth and the results were starting to get too complicated for the contenders to work out who was the real threat in the last race.
By now the tide had turned and the weather seemed to be about to take a turn for the worse. The wind over tide conditions and the ripping tide tested all the sailors but racing remained tight for all competitors bar one. Matt House aced the start and with new found confidence kept the lead and approached the final mark with only a short beat to the committee boat to secure his win.
Given the rising wind and the long beat home the race officer had other ideas and the competitors were horrified to hear that the finish was going to be on the club line - just three miles up river short tacking into the ebbing tide.
In true Phantom style the racing remained tight as the fleet raced for home and an exhausted group of sailors struggled ashore after the finish. House had kept his cool and took a second win. Jarvey had secured another open meeting victory with a second place ahead of Wayling.
Despite the weather and the smaller entry the competitors all agreed that the racing was a close as has been seen for some time with boat speed being even across the fleet meaning that a premium was placed on tactics and technique. Jarvey was the master of both but it certainly looks like the series will be hard fought with a return to form of past winner of the Eastern Series John Wayling, young upstarts Ingram and Harris, whilst House just needs to decide which sail to use!
Final word should go to Simon Hopkins, who when asked what he thought of Phantom sailing said he had never felt so much pain before - but had loved the experience.
1st James Jarvey 1403
2nd Matt House 1355
3rd Marcus Ingram 1256
4th John Wayling 1175
5th Chris Roberts 1395
Phantom Class website