707 Phantom Trophy 23 Jul 2005
Phantom Trophy Series Final Race
The final race for the Phantom Trophy on the 23rd July was the long distance inshore course of 24 miles. The race started in a light easterly breeze with a beat against the tide down to Holliwell, but speeds increased during the day when the sea breeze arrived, resulting in a race of about 5 hours.
Seven of the fleet took part, Nick Barnes in Cacciatore and John Lewis in in Baby Beluga were both on 10 points after race 4, with Mark Rainbow in Marlin on 12. Richard Bavin in Racehorse retired after a couple of hours, while the wind shifts were not kind to Nick Barnes and Angela Noonan in Aquaholic and so the main pack of four boats got away.
Incredibly after a five race series and nearly a 100 miles of racing, the trophy was decided on the last leg of the last race. Marlin needed to win with a boat between them and Baby Beluga and for much of the race, this was the way it was. On the way back to the club line, first Mick Hill in Swordfish and then Nick Wood in Emu Excursion held the position between the two, but Emu eventually took the lead and the winning gun, with Marlin 2nd Baby Beluga 3rd and Swordfish 4th all finishing close together. This was enough for John Lewis to win overall, having sailed consistently throughout the series, narrowly winning the first race to West Mersea and convincingly winning the return race home.
John and his team collected the Phantom Trophy at the 6:30pm prize giving and filled it with champagne to share with the rest of the 707 fleet. All in all a very successful series for the oldest yacht racing trophy, as far as we are aware, (first awarded 1833) and the fleet is looking forward to next year’s series.
Saturday 16th July
More sunshine and light airs greeted the 707 sailors for the two inshore races on the 16th July at Burnham, with the first race seeing Richard Bavin (Racehorse) come home well in the lead and so the three races sailed in the series so far, had seen three different winners. Nick Barnes (Cacciatore) came 2nd and John Lewis (Baby Beluga) 3rd.
The 2nd inshore race and 4th of the series, was sailed upriver from the Royal Corinthian line. With the tide flooding, most of the fleet stood out in the river for the beat in a light westerly, while John Lewis sailed close along the town shore (may be to keep an eye on his staff as he sailed past the White Hart) and looked as though he had a good lead. Unfortunately for John, whoever was in charge of navigation, failed to mention until too late that Fairway No. 9 on the other side of the River had to be passed to Starboard and so Baby Beluga had to reach back to take up last position. John however didn?t give up and worked his way through the fleet, to take the bullet at the finish, his second of the series so far. Nick Barnes in Cacciatore came 2nd and Mark Rainbow 3rd. After 4 races therefore John and Nick are on equal points with the tie-break giving John the lead.
9th and 10th July
Offshore races – Burnham to West Mersea
On Saturday 9th July the 707 fleet of 7 boats (35 crew) set of on the offshore races of the Phantom Trophy series. At the briefing at 8.30 am we were told the course would be Swin Spitway, Wallet Spitway, Bench Head, finishing at the Nass Beacon, so we headed to the charts to see what the waters looked like out of the Crouch. We had a long reach out of the river, then decisions had to be made about which way to go, with Marlin and Emu getting it right. A tight reach from the Swin to Wallet Spitways was then followed by a long run into the Blackwater with lots of sunshine and light airs. Marlin finished first, followed closely by Emu with Cacciatore came third.
We moored up at West Mersea Yacht Club, some boats making quite an entertaining spectacle of mooring between two posts (you know who you are!). The West Mersea Yacht Club was a great venue for our evenings entertainment, the afternoon spent sat on the Lawns only for us to return after dinner, slightly the worse for wear, for what became a marathon game of charades! One person couldn’t handle the excitement and woke up to find his chair had tipped over and his shoelaces had somehow tied themselves together. We retired to the Caravan site, not to go to bed but to discover the experience of the holiday camp nightlife!
On Sunday morning after patiently waiting for our fry up at the local cafe we got to the boats only to discover they were aground. Marlin was the only boat to make it to the starting area by 10 am when the race was due to start. We gather the Committee boat had been out there since 7 am to avoid that same problem! The rest of the fleet joined Marlin when we could get out and eventually the race started at about 11 am. The course was Saturday’s in reverse and we started in light airs. Baby Beluga went north with the rest of the fleet going south, and after the wind shifted to the east and filled in, Baby Beluga had gained an impressive lead. We had a really good run back into the Crouch, again with lots of sunshine, and were finished at Inner Crouch in case the wind died. Baby Beluga retained their lead, Emu was second and Cacciatore third.
An offshore series prize giving was held at the Royal Corinthian, Sunday evening following a barbeque on the balcony with commemorative glassware being presented.