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2023 Phantom National Championship at South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club - Day 2

by Mark Spruce 16 Sep 13:18 PDT 16-18 September 2023
2023 Phantom Nationals at Abersoch Day 2 © Peter Hawkins

Harry Briddon continues to dominate

After an hour's postponement for lack of wind and a hold on shore to allow The Rock Triathlon and a paddle board race to finish on the beach, the fleet sailed out into a building ENE wind eventually reaching 12knts for the start of Race 3.

Pin end bias spread the fleet down the line with Briddon popping out clear ahead, tacking off the right to pick up a nice lifting breeze on the starboard lay-line into the first windward mark. He wasn't challenged from there with Martin Watts, Mike Webster and Nick Oram fighting for the podium places. Boring Briddon took another bullet.

The wind continued to build to 14/15knots for races 4 and 5 with 7-10degree, regular shifts and nice building swell waves. Finally, proper sea sailing that the Phantom revels in!

Briddon led round the course in Race 4 only to cross the finish line to silence at the end of long, alternating, two windward - leeward and 1 triangle laps. This gave the win to fast improving Jon Rickard (Hooe Point SC, Plymouth) who is blistering fast upwind in breeze. The medium to strong winds brought a new crop of sailors into the front of the fleet with Mike Tustin, Duncan Adams, Adam Froggat and Richard Cumberbatch all showing consistent speed to challenge the established class performers.

Race 5 saw normal service resumed with Briddon taking another well-deserved win. His upwind speed and tactics can't be faulted and he works hard on the waves upwind and down- all skills he no doubt learned sailing a Finn in the GB squad in a previous life.

The entire fleet revelled in the perfect angle, high-speed surfing plane back to the beach pushing exhausted hiking muscles for one last grinning buzz!

It was fantastic to see the entire fleet, including the winners rally round to help everyone onto trolleys and ashore through the surf on the beach. This show of class support has been echoed down then fleet throughout the last two days. Simon Hawkes lent a mast to a fellow sailor to keep him sailing and Martin Watts showed his boat work skills to fix Nick Oram's kicker to enable him to keep fighting for the overall podium.

Earlier during the pre-race postponement / hold on the beach, tension gauges and tape and rig set up tutorials were given, helping new sailors to fleet get to grips with the complexities of the very adjustable Phantom rig. Great to see.

Tonight, sees the Daily Prizegiving and Class AGM squeezed in around the WC Rugby (apparently, Religion up here in Wales this evening?). That's followed by a Pie & Mash Supper for all the fleet, volunteers and supporters.

Tomorrow sees the fleet tackle the final two races in similar conditions to today. I'm no mathematician but I'm not sure Harry Briddon can't be beaten. However, the increased breeze has really opened up the top 20 so everyone has skin in the game tomorrow. Watch this space!

Provisional results so far can be found here.

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