707 Phantom Trophy 2008 11 Aug 2008
The Hunter 707 Fleet had geared themselves up for the prestigious Phantom Trophy this year to be sailed over the last three weekends in July. The intention of racing to Stone was unfortunately cancelled at short notice due to poor weather; however we persevered with a rejigged format of a long distance race on the second Saturday.
The course took the fleet out of the mouth of the river and around the Buxeys for 20+ miles in decent breeze and fine conditions; returning back on a rising tide first was John Lewis and his crew on Baby Beluga, followed by Marlin with Aquaholic in third place.
Sunday’s two races were interrupted by a scorching but becalmed morning which was used by most of the fleet to raft up and go swimming. However the breeze filled for the afternoon so we got away on a decent breeze around the Roach and beyond, with (yet again!) John Lewis’ Baby Beluga crossing the line first, followed by team Rainbow on Marlin and Stuart Mears on Doddle.
The decision to postpone the previous Sunday’s race meant three races on the final Saturday, and we were not let down by the conditions; a strong but constant racing breeze and a high tide at 1:00pm was perfect for a windward/leeward course in the mouth of the Roach. Nick Geaves and his trusty sidekick Charlie Bird kindly presided as Race Officers, and Mick Hill prepared and laid the course on his RIB, with cameraman to boot.
There were three races of about 45 mins during which each boat managed to foul at least one spinnaker drop each, the last of the incoming tide forcing a very late gybe going into the downwind mark rounding. The first race was won cleanly by Andy Woodhill and team on Black Sheep, who led early and stayed out in front, with Hilly and crew on Swordfish taking second place, and Marlin in third. The second race had a stronger breeze and was won by Baby Beluga, with Swordfish again in second and Doddle taking third.
The third and final race of the competition sealed it for John Lewis’ team on Baby Beluga with another convincing first place; Marlin confirmed their second overall with another second, and Doddle came in third to take third equal overall along with Swordfish.
Congratulations to John Lewis and crew on Baby Beluga for retaining the trophy they also won last year. Roll on 2009!