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Optimum Time Watches Phantom Southern Travellers race report and results for Round 4 at Lee on Solent SC 6th and 7th of May 2017 by Jon Cooper

The Southern fleet headed to Lee on Solent for the 4th open in the SW traveller series.
On Saturday Simon Hawkes ran some excellent training for half a dozen of us, he was given a high tech video camera off Gordon which captured some good videos of us all sailing, and also some fantastic shots of him “air humping” when the camera was put down and left on by mistake! All of the trainees benefited from the on the water coaching, some real improvements were made by all.

Sunday – Race Day!
We were greeted with Bacon butties, no waves and fickle wind. A good turnout of boats made for an exciting day ahead.

After a short briefing everyone rigged and headed out for 4 back to back races.

Race 1
The first race of the day started with multiple premature starters, everyone was quickly brought back via a general recall.
On the second start those that started at the lower end of the line had a good advantage, they were in the favorable tide and closer to the first mark!
The fleet headed out to the wing mark on a very broad reach. Jon Cooper, Mike Tustin and Rob Starling appeared to be in a good position, but the tide proved to be a cruel beast with Jon being pushed into the wing mark (Mike and Rob managed to squeeze round). Nick (Slow) Orman and Ben Falat’s experience showed with the pair of them leaving adequate space for tidal movement!
Nick and Ben tussled all the way round, but Nick came out on top in the end (this was the theme for the rest of the day). For others in the fleet the shifty wind and tide made for a difficult race with positions changing all the time.

Race 2
Race 2 was tough for all parties, some massive shifts caught lots of people out, with the tide easing (as well as the wind!)
Chris Shelton and Rob Starling kept up the tempo and finished with decent results, though Nick and Ben were ahead again. The Race Officer took pity on us and finished the race just as we ticked over the 40 min mark.

Race 3
The wind and tide had turned (both drastically!), and the race officer postponed the 3rd race to re-adjust the course.
The re-start got off without any major issues, a better course overall, and in my view the most enjoyable race of the day!
A good battle between Gordon, Deano, Ivan and Pete meant that the bottom 80% of the fleet were quite tightly packed for the first half of the race, the fleet did spread out a little towards the end, but you could see everyone was going for it!

Race 4
The race started and the fleet got away cleanly Nick and Ben were off in front, just in front of the pack. On the first downwind leg Nick went right, Ben went left and the rest of the fleet went left (presumably trying to cover each other as the wind had dropped by this time), Jon Cooper followed right and managed to ghost up into second place (more luck than anything else!). Nick and Jon rounded the leeward mark and headed off on a (very slooooow) reach towards the line / bottom mark. With the rest of the fleet struggling to get clean wind for the rest of the race Nick and Jon managed to pull a healthy lead and Nick took a comfortable win without any issues.

Overall a great days sailing with Nick showing some real class in difficult conditions, a well-earned second place from Ben also who was masterfully picking out the wind shifts and tides.
There were battles going on throughout the whole fleet, with all of the competitors off a good standard if a mistake was made it would cost you places, there was little that could be done to gain anything back (I think Ivan will agree with this!).

A massive thank you to LOSSC for hosting, to Gordon for organising the event, and to Simon “porn star” Hawkes for the Saturday training and dodgy videos!

Overall results:
1st Nick Orman
2nd Ben Falat
3rd Chris Shelton
4th Rob Starling
5th Jon Cooper
6th Mike Tustin
7th Roger Battersby
8th Steve Popple
9th Rich Cumberbatch
10th Pete Barnstaple
11th Gordon Kingston
12th Dean Griffiths
13th Ivan Walsh
14th Olly Hopkins

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