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Phantom Open at Downs Sailing Club

by Alasdair Baker 20 May 22:20 PDT 18-19 May 2024
Race start during the Downs Phantom Open © Jeremy Blackman

A good turnout with 7 Phantoms and 16 Streakers present at Downs Sailing Club open meeting held over the 18th and 19th of May, with plenty of visitors from as far afield as Holland.

The forecast for Saturday was the light airs but nobody expected the direction to include every direction on the compass. As the race officer (Brian Mumford) was about to hoist his 5 minute flag the wind swung 90 degrees to the left. A short delay ensued while a large course was engineered to the new wind, Brian (RO) managed to get away the races fairly quickly with great organisation and enthusiasm of the race team. With The Phantoms going first and the Streakers going second. With three races scheduled for Saturday, the RO was able to take advantage of the light tides, but with the wind constantly on the move, the Race Officer had his race support team flat out moving marks and meant only two races happened.

In the first race it was a competitive start, but the wind lottery soon caused a game of snakes and ladders up the main beat, and the light pockets of wind coming and going there were several race lead changes, but it all came to a head on the finish line where the wind lottery whipped up a mixed result for all. Paddy Demby (1), Tim Demby (2), Chris Shelton (3).

Race 2 brought out the competitive edge with a competitive start, but by the end or the race the wind had gone a full 360, mixing up the results, with the final leg being a run to the finish and a game of waiting for the wind to fill in. Chris (1), Alex Spurgeon (2), Pete Harlow (3).

We all retired to the Club for hospitality at Downs Sailing Club from a great team, serving a Barbeque with amazing salads, and a good selection from our local Brewery Gadds, Hoppy Pale Ale being the winner of the evening.

Sunday brought more promise, with the Race officer keen to take advantage of the forecast of steady winds, quickly hoisted L flag and notified of his intent to have 4 races in the session. We still had time to enjoy some great breakfast sandwiches in preparation for the fully packed race schedule.

A fresh wind from the NNE, racing was looking like it would be fun and the first beat was closely fought with all to play for at the top mark, with a planning reach to mark 2, then a run along the shore, we soon encouraged the fishermen to pack up, with the fleet creeping up against the tide along the beach shore. There were one or two comments from the Streakers as we mixed it up with them along the reach to the penultimate mark, but there was an offer of beer for Chris in his assistance to help Lee Goodey in a streaker up to first place. Paddy managed to hold off Chris, after a Pin end start proved advantageous. Paddy (1), Chris (2), Alex (3).

Race 4 a tight start with everyone finding a spot on the front row, it was a competitive race to the first mark then the changing tide brought a new leader who stayed offshore and took a decisive lead to bring a new winner out of the pack (Dave Patrick). Dave (1), Chris (2), Paddy (3).

Race 5 saw a retirement as the winds lightened, it was a competitive first mark, with a lot of focus to get to the top mark against an increasing foul tide, with the wind still reasonable in patches. Keeping the boat free and fast proved to be the winning formula as Chris escaped to sail his own race. Chris (1), Paddy (2), Dave (3).

Race 6 and the tide increased making the first beat harder to judge the windward beat with some shifts starting to make it tricky. On the Second lap the winds fell away with the inshore out of the tide being the paying option but again sailing free and as fast as possible was the key to success. We were finished on the downwind leg close to Club as the winds had lightened to make progress over the tide hard. Chris (1), Paddy (2), Alasdair (3).

With us all back on the beach it was great to be able to offer thanks at the prize-giving, to the Organising team, Race Officer, Galley and Bar team, and all the Patrol Boats crew for their assistance, Thank you Downs Sailing Club.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1Chris Shelton1491Downs SC(3)122117
2Patrick Denby1245Broadstairs SC1(7)13229
3Alex Spurgeon1274Seafarers SC42344(5)17
4Dave Patrick1416Broadwater SC(6)5513418
5Alasdair Baker1145Broadstairs SC54(6)55322
6Tim Denby1264Broadstairs SC2646DNC(DNC)26
7Pete Harlow1364Lilliput SC73(DNC)DNCDNCDNC34

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