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Eastern Series open at Fisher Green Sailing Club Saturday 6th May

Fourteen eager Phantom sailors took part in the second event in the Phantom Class Eastern Series event at Fishers Green Sailing Club in the scenic Lea Valley.

The wind gods had come up trumps with a gusty North Westerly that carried punch at times but also faded away at critical points. The locals told visitors that the wind direction was unusual and most were secretly glad that the “home advantage” seemed to have been neutralised.

This seemed to be the case in Race 1 when Ian Stone from Maidenhead aced the start with a port tack flyer from the committee boat end leaving the fleet wondering why everyone else hadn’t tried the tactic.

Ian looked set to win the first race by a significant margin having been placed under pressure from time to time by Chris Roberts, Ben Falet and Chris Biglin, all of whom fell back at some point due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Having shown mastery of the conditions for almost three laps it was with surprise that Ian headed off for the wrong mark on the final lap, leaving the race wide open again for the following pack who realised his error. The win went to Jim Hopton, one of three sailors from Shustoke taking a sabbatical in the East, with clubmate Chris Biglin grabbing second place ahead of Roberts.

Race 2 was held back-to-back over the same course and this time the racing was very close with Chris Biglin always in the mix and pulling through to take the win from Ben Falat and Ian Stone.

Race 3 took place after a lunch break which allowed nerves to settle and a minor change to the course to be put in place. If anything the wind was more “on and off” in this race and the fleet quickly split into two main groups with close racing in each. The “followers” were unable top catch the “leaders”, despite strong gusts on offwind legs giving occasional hope to those in pursuit.

Amongst the leaders group the usual four boats were joined by local sailor Paul Bidwell who finished a creditable fifth to settle any dispute about “best local helm” for another season. The race was won by Ian Stone ahead of Chris Biglin and Ben Falat.

This meant that Chris Biglin had won the meeting with a very consistent score line ahead of an unlucky Ian Stone. Fellow Shustoke sailor Jim Hopton had done enough to take third place ahead of Falat and Roberts.

The next Eastern Series Event is a full weekend at Creeksea on 10th/11th June, with the following weekend at Stone Sailing Club likely to see the series results become clear.

For now Clive Morley from Minnis Bay leads the results but with 30 plus sailors entered to date the next events should see discards coming in to play.

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