707 Phantom Trophy Series 5 Aug 2006
The first weekend of the Phantom Trophy incorporated the Farleigh Hospice Regatta. The competitors enjoyed fantastic weather with medium to light winds and lots of sunshine. The fleet saw a very good turnout. Only the Saturday counted towards the Phantom and the results for the two races were:
1st Baby Beluga
The second weekend should have been the offshore race incorporating a stay over at a different venue but the tides and conflicting events made this impossible and instead a long offshore race was set. Unfortunately the conditions were less than ideal with heavy rain and hail and gusts of force 8. Four boats competed, and set off to Sunken Buxey. On the way out of the Crouch after a good spinnaker reach, the heavens opened and the boats were forced to take down the kites and white sail it whilst sitting out the rain and hail. Ordinarily the most taxing courses we sail is to find Holliwell! so finding Sunken Buxey proved quite a challenge to Baby Beluga and Race Horse who appeared to have set a course to Buxey Number 2.
This gave Marlin and Aquaholic a short lived advantage as the fleet switched positions trying to locate Ridge and then North Middle. This section was perhaps the most scary as the fleet sat out the rain in the estuary with little around. A single bolt of lightening came down just ahead of the fleet; every boat reported upon the amazing agility of their foredeck crew at that point who had unanimously decided sitting with legs wrapped around the base of the shrouds was not the best place to be at that moment in time!
It had proved to be quite disorientating and after rounding North Middle, all boats hoisted their spinnakers with Baby Beluga and Marlin now leading the way. Unfortunately the route they chose involved a stop off at Southend Pier to view the restoration works! Racehorse and Aquaholic sensibly decided to drop the kites, put in a reef and pointed up to head back in the direction of the mouth of the Couch. The conditions made for a hairy ride back in, unfortunately Marlin and Baby Beluga had a tough time having to put in tacks to Ridge which Racehorse and Aquaholic laid in one. The boats got braver and the reefs were shaken out and all proceeded to surf back into the Crouch. The positions were sealed at this point and once the fleet got past the Roach, conditions were much calmer, Racehorse finished first, Aquaholic second, Baby Beluga third and Marlin fourth.
The Sunday saw slightly calmer conditions but with foul weather in the morning. Bruce set a reasonably long race, to the mouth of the Crouch then up and down the Roach. Aside from Saturday’s four Black Sheep joined in but sadly did not finish. Marlin managed to get away to a convincing win, having been second for much of the race Baby Beluga lost out to Aquaholic who took second and Racehorse with guest helm Jonny Beale finished fourth.
For the final weekend, the sailing instructions indicated that a long distance race would be sailed. The conditions were fairly breezy again as we headed out of the mouth of the Crouch with the usual suspects of Baby Beluga, Aquaholic, Racehorse and Marlin. By this time there were significant differences on the overall points so with Baby Beluga taking first they sealed their victory. Marlin, unfortunately, was destined for fifth overall as they had not sailed the first weekend despite gaining second in the final race. Racehorse had to beat Aquaholic by four places, but in coming third out of four competitors, could not do this, and with their fourth Aquaholic achieved second overall. The prize giving took place shortly after racing and the competitors returned later for a barbeque supper before partying the night away.