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WALTON & FRINTON SPINLOCK PHANTOM GRAND PRIX

“As Last Race Winner Sullivan Takes The Spoils”

By Warren Martin and Ian Sullivan

The Spinlock Phantom Grand Prix series supported by JJ Boats and Allen Brothers moved to Walton & Frinton Yacht Club in the heart of the beautiful backwaters of Swallows and Amazons fame.  The 17 assembled phantom sailors had things other than exploring the muddy creeks and tributaries on their mind (though some became a little more familiar with them than they would have liked).

Saturday dawned fine and bright with a good 15 knot breeze.  The Race Officers Chris Brooke and John Sewell planned an Olympic triangle/sausage course in Hamford Water in champagne sailing conditions.  Race 1 had a clear start and Matt House showed how consistent he was going to be staying clear of the chasing Daren Pike and Ian Sullivan to take the win.  Places within the mid fleet changed regularly with Pete Shuttleworth and Phil Longley leading the rest home.

Race 2 - After a delay to allow the Race Committee to reset the course after a wind shift, Matt and his Alton Water sparring partner Bob Portway reacquainted themselves with the latter taking the win after a closely fought battle.  In the increasing wind the mid fleet positions had the added excitement of the odd capsize non more critical than Pete Shuttleworth who’s inadvert swim just before the finish gave Martin Jenkins the starboard advantage over Warren Martin allowing him to squeeze by.  A little further back, the classic woody sisterships of Simon Hipkin and Dale Jones were proving that well sailed phantoms of any description can provide competitive racing when in big fleets.

Race 3 was to be a beat to the windward mark followed by a reach to a spreader mark off Stone Point at the entrance to the river and a drag race back to the club against the wind and tide.  Matt House pulled off a great port tack start and was away opening up a big lead at the turn for home.  Unfortunately for him Ian Sullivan reveled in such conditions performing a ‘slow death’ by cutting Matt’s lead bit by bit on every tack and taking the lead with only 150 yards to go.  The rest of the fleet tacked back and forth against the fast flowing and rapidly draining river adding extra motivation to keep going or it would be a long walk home.  Daren Pike, Paul Church and Bob Portway rounded out the top five.

Walton and Frinton Yacht Club looked after the fleet in style by laying on an excellent bbq, enjoyed by all in the splendid restaurant overlooking the now empty creek.  The sun set to much convivial chatter washed down by excellent guest ales and several rums.  Some say that the club laid on a firework display specifically to celebrate Pete’s mum’s birthday, other suggest that we had the benefit of a local fund raiser for cancer.  Either way donations were made, excuses given for leaving the bar leaving the three monkeys of Sullivan, Pike and Martin to pontificate into the small hours.

Sunday saw a band of wind and rain sweep the intrepid campers through the night but the day again dawned bright and sunny with the showers clearing by 9am.  The wind was up and had gone more into the west so yesterday’s sedate procession to the race course was replaced with a screaming reach and very big grins and people asking if they can ‘do that again’.

Mirroring the previous day’s format, Race 4 was set as a triangle/sausage and another clean start gave Sullivan more than a few worried moments as he was the only boat going right.  It was pretty even with House and Sullivan reaching the top mark side by side.  House showed his superior off-wind speed to build a small lead.  Unfortunately at the last gybe mark House got it wrong and ended up needing a foot spring off the centerboard allowing Sullivan to get parity.  The final beat began with House on Sullivan’s windward hip.  Ian Hill kindly delayed righting his boat as the pair approached him but Sullivan thought his chance had gone as he was forced low giving House a bit of extra leverage.  Sullivan managed to get the distance back crossing the line just in front.   In mid fleet Martin Jenkins capsized just before the line and Warren Martin thought about revenging Saturday’s close finish however Jenkins used his local knowledge of the tide to drift over the line mere feet infront.

Race 5 became the race home with a winner take all kicker with House, Sullivan set to duke it out but knowing that Bob Portway still had an outside chance of the win.  Warren Martin clearly hasn’t read the book ‘How To Make Friends And Influence People’ by hitting the port end of the line too early and getting called out by Matt House.  Unfortunately for House, Martin capsized in from of him, Pete Shuttleworth and Paul Church to stuff up his and their starts.  Portway got away cleanly leading round the top mark with Sullivan close behind.  House was on the charge so it all came down to the fetch back home.  The flat out close reach clearly suited Sullivan who managed to lead the drag race for the win with House moving past Portway very close to the finish meaning that the overall results finished the same way.

The fleet were handsomely looked after all weekend by the club and were rewarded with fantastic conditions and close racing throughout the fleet.  The Association thanked everybody for making the effort to travel and Ian Sullivan thanked the Club, Race Officers, Race Committee, Safety Crews, Trolley Handlers and Bar & Restaurant Staff for their kind hospitality.  An excellent weekend was had by all.

The next event in the Spinlock Grand Prix Series is the National Championship over 4 to 6 September at Minnis Bay (entry details to be available on the website soon…).

Results

1st Ian Sullivan 3,(7) 1,1,1=  6pts
2nd Matt House 1,(2) 2,2,2=  7pts
3rd Bob Portway (18DNS) 1,5,3,3=  12pts
4th Martin Jenkins 7,5,(12) 4,4=  20pts
5th Paul Church 6,(16OCS) 4,9,5=  24pts
6th Pete Shuttleworth 4,8,(9) 6,6=  24pts
7th Warren Martin (10) 6,7,5,10=  28pts
8th Daren Pike 2,3,3, (21DNC) 21DNC=  29pts
9th Phil Longley 5,(13) 8,8,9=  30pts
10th Ian Miller 9,4,6,(16RET) 15DNF=  34pts
11th Stewart Jarvis (13)11,10,7,8=  36pts
12th Simon Hipkin 11,9,11,(16OCS) 7=  38pts
13th Dale Jones 12,10,16DNF,(17DNS) 15DNF=  53pts
14th Chris Nelson 8,16DNF,14,16DNF,(21DNC)=  54pts
15th Ian Hill 14,12,13,(16RET),15DNF=  54pts
16th Nick Wood (21DNC),21DNC,21DNC,16OCS,11=  69pts
17th Johnathan Pulfer 17RET,(21DNC) 21DNC,21DNC, 21DNC=  80pts

W&F GP - 01 W&F GP - 02 W&F GP - 08 W&F GP - 10

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