A total of 24 boats took part in last weekend's Phantom open meeting at Creeksea SC
Twenty-four Phantoms arrived on the River Crouch on 9-10 June for Creeksea SC’s open meeting to be greeted by brilliant sunshine but a severe lack of wind. However, race one got underway with a light westerly breeze which swung around to the east half way down the first leg turning it from a beat to a run causing the fleet to bunch. Neil Fulcher benefited the most by coming from last to sail though the whole fleet and into second place. It also meant that the return leg was a beat against the tidal stream rather than running against it. Alan Husk made his first appearance of the season and promptly showed a clean pair of heels to the rest. With much place changing on the short tacking up the shore it finished Alan Husk first, Allen Burrell second and Alan Bull on his first visit away from the great expanse of water that is Haversham posted an excellent third.
Race officer Ray Coombes changed the course for the second race and was generous on the start with no recalls, the fleet close tacked up the shore towards the marina, first to the mark was Allen Burrell, second was Multipower’s Red Kick sponsored boat sailed by Tyler Harmsworth with Phil Argent, Allen Husk and Neil Fulcher in close attendance.
As they set off down river a rain squall came through reversing the wind direction again (quite normal for Creeksea I’m told). The wind increased a couple of notches to give an excellent beat to what was the weather mark, the positions remand the same until the following leg that now had turned into a fetch, Argent overhauled Harmsworth to take second an took off after Burrell. There was quite a battle behind these three with Fulcher, Husk and Richard Pakes changing positions until the last run in to the finish where Fulcher held off Husk while Pakes parked up in a hole to finish sixth. Meanwhile Burrell and Argent had opened up a large gap over Harmsworth, at the finish Argent took the gun with Burrell second.
Sunday dawned again with bright skies but will a lot more wind and race three got off first time. Burrell was again first to the windward mark with Argent, Harmsworth, Husk and Fulcher chasing hard the next As the fleet turned for the final run home against the tide, the positions remained the same, Fulcher made a dash for the opposite bank and for a while looked to have stolen a march on the rest until he got caught in a wind shadow. As the others crossed over, Harmsworth got the best gust and took the lead which he held to the finish. Argent went for a dip on a gybe to leave Burrell and Fulcher fighting it out to the end with Fulcher taking second by a boat length. Husk came in fifth with Pakes again sixth and Paul Beasley seventh.
Another race and another course saw Fulcher take the early lead with Husk Burrell and Beasley in attendance as the wind increased. Burrell moved to the front with Husk taking second from Fulcher and Harmsworth. With four races down and four different winners, the last race was going to be an even tighter . And with the gybe mark just 30 meters off the shore, it was also going to be interesting!
Fulcher set the early pace with Burrell, Husk and Harmsworth giving chase by the leeward mark the position settled down for a couple of laps with Burrell leading from Fulcher, Harmsworth, Husk and Argent. Burrell held on to the finish just holding off Fulcher in the dash to the line, while behind Harmsworth had dropped to fifth as first Husk and the then Argent passed, but he managed to reclaim fourth as he out-larded Argent to the line.
An excellent weekend’s racing was enjoyed by all and the free lunch and beer made it even more special.
1st Allen Burrell (Halfway YC)
2nd Neil Fulcher (Stone SC)
3rd Alan Husk (Halfway YC)
4th Tyler Harmsworth (Stone SC)