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Phantom 2024 National Super Series at Stone Sailing Club

by Mark Spruce 7 May 03:45 PDT 27-28 April 2024
Launching during the Phantom 2024 National Super Series at Stone © Mark Spruce

I've managed to drag myself out of the snug at my local, "The Muzzle & Leash" next to the adult shop opposite Walthamstow dogs after a bank holiday away with no boats, to report on the Phantom Super Series event at Stone SC held over the weekend of the 27th & 28th April alongside the UK Finn Masters Nationals.

Day One started well with the rain drying up and a classic ENE 8-12 knots breeze filling in over a strong flood tide. With a forecast of strong SW winds for the Sunday, Race Officer Neil Fulcher made the sensible decision to get 4 races completed in these ideal conditions, in case Sunday sailing was not possible (a wise move as it turned out).

20 Phantoms entered and faced a challenging start sequence with a U-Flag up from start one, big Pin-End bias and at least 2 knots of flood tide holding everyone back from the line. In fact, it was difficult to lay the pin on starboard and it was Sprucey who took advantage. Despite advertising it for at least 3 mins before the start, he won the pin on Port, crossed the whole fleet and that should have been it! Sadly, he then tacked onto starboard thinking the left had more wind and less tide. The problem was, it didn't and he ended up around 6th in the pack at the weather mark. Rob Cook laid down his marker and earned a clear win with the Northampton posse of Richard Nurse in second and John Wayling in third.

Race 2 was repeat of race 1. Again, Sprucey advertised his intent at the pin end and again the fleet let him do it! This time, he went the right way, lifting above Nick Favell on his stern and sailing over Rob Cook to extend his lead and take the win. Once again, the Northampton trio of Rob, Richard and John filled the next three places.

Race three was sailed in slightly lighter conditions. Rob Cook once again took the win with Bill Taylor from Creeksea SC working his way up into third to break up the Northampton monopoly of the podium. With less flood tide holding the fleet back from the line, local boy Phil Longley fell-foul of the U-Flag, something he found very bemusing!

All change for Race 4, the last of the day - started just as the ebb began to flow pushing the boats, still under the U-Flag closer to the line. Still slightly lighter on the wind front, we saw a third different race winner with Northampton's own John "Titch" Wayling taking a, well deserved win in his new boat Phloosie from an ever-improving Bill Taylor, who was, by now, learning how to make his new boat perform. Richard Nurse was third to secure a really well-deserved overall podium. Uncharacteristically, Rob Cook found himself buried deep at the windward mark, unable to extricate himself, finishing with his discarded 7th place.

It says something about the strong one-design nature of the Phantom - every one can have speed and ultimately, it's good starts, tactics and boat handling that separates the winners from the rest of the fleet.

Four races meant 20 very tired bods in the bar for the beer and curry evening in the clubhouse.

Compared to Friday night, it was a very quiet bar not helped by the entire absent Finn fleet who'd retired to their slippers and bed-time Horlicks (with the exception of Andy Couch and OK World Champion, Nick Craig, who everyone knows, are actually Phantom sailors anyway!)

As predicted, heavy rain over night was the indicator of the incoming front and strong SW winds coming. Low tide, a strong ebb tide and narrow race area meant it was going to be very difficult to lay a safe race course and the RO abandoned racing for the day. The Masters Finn fleet looked very relieved at the decision - they were concerned that they may actually get planning in that much wind! The Phantoms were a little disappointed but understanding.

So, Saturday evening's results stood. Four good races completed and the discard came into play. The Northampton squad took the podium - a great result for all three who have definitely upped their game this season with well-tuned and well sailed boats. Well done to Class Chairman, Rob Cook, Richard Nurse who is starting to nail some quality results and to John Wayling who is making Phloosie fly!

4th was Bill Taylor who sailed his way into contention throughout the day. Who knows what might have been if he had been able to demonstrate some of his strong wind ability on the Sunday.

5th was Sprucey - frustrated that he converted several 4th & 5th places to 6th & 8ths on then last downwind leg to the finish but comments that "he'll dine off his port tack start and race 2 win for years to come!"

Mentions in dispatches:

Phil Longley - "Nobody expects the..." but everyone expects the local boy to be up there and indeed he is. He'll rue that OCS but at least it meant that he didn't have to write this report!

Chris Roberts - fighting near the top despite a capsize and a very badly frayed / broken port shroud. He kept his mast but I'm not sure about his marbles?

That's a wrap. My bookie is happy - most of my pre-event predictions proved to be reasonably accurate so he's not out of pocket by too much. Well done to Team Northampton. They said "Dominance"!? I prefer to say "lucky" (that we didn't sail Sunday - they might just have been out of The Cup just like their local Rugby team, the Saints on the Same weekend!).

That's the Phantom National Super Series Event 1 completed. A great event and very competitive.

There is one Super Series event in each of the Phantom Regions along with the Inland Championships, this year at Northampton SC- you need three events to count so get your boats prepped and out on the water.

Overall Results:

PlaceSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4Pts
11496Rob Cook121‑74
21500Richard Nurse2‑3237
31504John Wayling3‑4418
41420Bill Taylor4‑5329
51342Mark Spruce‑816613
61443Phil Longley57(OCS)517
71464Terry Crook7‑119925
81395Chris Roberts(DNF)157426
91264Tim Denby10610(DNS)26
101266Benvenuto Falat9‑1281128
111482Andrew Hunt118‑121029
121488Andy Pyet14(DNS)51231
131461Graham Dale‑Jones‑16914831
141267Dean Saxton614‑151333
151394Nick Favell121011‑1433
161214Nick Thorpe‑1713131541
171425Stephen Pates‑1816161648
181459David Nickols13(DNF)DNSDNS59
191309Mike Stone15(DNF)DNSDNS61
201215Scott Jaycock19(DNF)DNSDNS65
211204Oliver Moon(DNC)DNCDNCDNC69
211433Warren Martin(DNC)DNCDNCDNC69

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