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Phantoms at the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta

by Henry Ayres 6 Jul 2021 03:09 PDT 3-4 July 2021

A toned-down event due to ongoing Covid restrictions saw fourteen Phantoms entered for the 2021 Weymouth Regatta sponsored by Dorset Boat Works and Beat Racing.

Day one saw a SW force 3 and the decision of the race officer to take us right across Weymouth bay with the sail to the start area being the longest sail that many competitors had seen for a while.

A well-set start line and U flag from the off prevented any startline shenanigans and the fleet set off on what was to become a monster day.

The windward mark saw Ian Stone, Simon Hawkes, Henry Ayres and John Wayling round in no particular order at the front of the fleet.

Sailing a trapezoid, sausage course, Nick Orman did some good work downwind and Ayres quickly slipped backwards as he tried to remember how to sail.

The course was horrendously long and the race went on forever. Orman, sailing a new boat, slipped back as he got to grips with it and the final result was Hawkes, Stone and Wayling.

Then a few things happened that changed the course of the result. The wind increased and Simon Hawkes decided to try a bit of sly pig. But as he pulled it on broke the mast lock and the sail came down. With such a long way into the club that was the end of his day and he joined Paul Birbeck who had not made it to Race 1 with the same issue.

Race 2 saw the race officer shorten the length of the beat but the damage was already done for many.

Another even start and the lead boats quickly put distance on the also rans with Alex Knight Improving from 4th to 3rd and Nick Orman getting control of his boat and head and improving quickly to second with Ian Stone taking the win.

Race 3 and even more wind and now quite lumpy and the war of attrition continued with Ian Stone breaking his kicker. The fleet was now pretty much banging the corner and the beats could have featured at about level 7 in Dante's inferno.

With Stone now back in the pits Orman stepped up to take the win with Rob Cook continuing his improvement throughout the day to take 2nd after a brutal hike off with Wayling who secured 3rd.

Then a long sail home to share Ibuprofen and war stories.

A subdued evening as most of the fleet were exhausted and the football was on.

Day 2 dawned thoroughly miserable with a lot of aching bodies but as the Ibuprofen took effect the day brightened and we launched into a gusty force 2 - 4 for a further scheduled 3 races but this time in Portland Harbour.

Starting choices were slightly more challenging with those going to the pin looking good at the start of the race but the boats that went right gained further up the track with favourable shifts. The wind was very shifty at the windward mark.

With both Stone and Hawkes returning to the fray, the finish order was Stone, Hawkes and Orman. Race 5 saw less of a choice on the startline but managing the shifts and the traffic from other fleets was essential. The wind was slowly building throughout this race with a few epic battles going on throughout the fleet as the sailors threw their tired bodies into the penultimate race. The finish order was the same with Stone firmly taking control but Hawkes pushing him the whole way.

A few sailors headed for home as the last race beckoned and the wind continued to build. A busy windy beat saw Stone extend but Hawkes, Birbeck and Ayres round the windward mark in close proximity with Orman a little behind as he struggled to hold the boat down. As the fleet rounded the windward mark the wind increased to survival levels and things started to get really tasty.

Orman Capsized giving Birbeck and Ayres the opportunity to cash in a podium position for this race but Ayres bottled it downwind citing exhaustion. Orman caught Birbeck but every time the fleet turned downwind he fell in on the gybe and then had to catch up.

Thankfully a wind shift made the dead run in 35kts a broad reach and after a very lively sail, the result was Stone, Hawkes, Orman, Birbeck with Ayres taking la Flamme Rouge as the final finishers of the entire regatta.

A low key covid prize-giving saw Ian Stone thank Castle Cove Sailing Club, the Regatta organizers and the race office and his crew.

A fantastic event very much enjoyed by all that took part.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11280Ian Stone21(DNC)1116
21487Nick Orman‑62133312
31385John Wayling34346(DNC)20
41472Simon Hawkes1(DNC)DNC22223
51466Henry Ayres865‑95529
61446Alex Knight4345(DNC)DNC32
71419Andy Weatherspoon58779(DNC)36
81391Nigel King97688(DNC)38
91485Rob Cook752(DNC)DNCDNC46
101484Paul Birbeck(DNC)DNCDNC64446
111447Richard Sims1198117(DNC)46
121360Stuart Maunder121091010(DNC)51
131318Dave Patrick1311101211(DNC)57
141339Ian Jay10(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC74
151373Chris Greetham(DNC)DNCRET13DNCDNC77

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