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John Torrance


The Phantom Class is sad to announce the sudden passing of John Torrance on Wednesday 19th October.  John was a long time Phantom Sailor, committee member and class measurer and will be sorely missed.  To quote one of the many posts on facebook "Sailing on the river Crouch won't feel the same without him"

Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Phantom National Championships 2016 South Shields Sailing Club


This year’s Nationals were hosted by South Shields Sailing Club and saw a respectable turn out. There were entries from as far as Shoreham, Weymouth and Milford Haven.
On the morning before the first race, as well as sail measurements a few boats were picked at random for weighing (some more random than others!). The boats picked were brand new this year indicating a continuingly growing class. All boats measured were in limits and legal.
During registration the competitors received their embroidered fleece and the first of the bacon rolls, all included within the entry fee
Races were held outside the breakwaters just to the south. Day 1 saw a fairly stable breeze coming off the land with big shifts and prolonged gusts from 12 – 20 knots.
Race 1 – Boats got away cleanly under the new U flag start (like a black flag but if there is a GR you are allowed back in the fleet). A sausage triangle course remained for the weekend and was well set. Harry Briddon, Will Gulliver, Chris Turner, Jon Nuttall and Norman Byrd were all in the mix but Harry came out on top which was pretty much the form for the rest of the weekend.
Race 2 – Again boats were away and again Harry was off like a rocket. Peter Shuttleworth smashed the first beat to be first at the top mark, not that he mentioned that at all during the rest of the weekend! This time Will was hot on his tail closely followed by John Wayling who showed his usual upwing pace to beat Jon Nuttall who nearly managed to stack it on the short reach to the finish just in front of Nick Orman.


On return to shore the cook it yourself BBQ was up and running and the bar was making a healthy turnover until the early hours!
Day 2 started with a very light breeze still off the land and another bacon roll. As the fleet made it to the race area the breeze picked up nicely to give another 12 – 18 knot day but this time accompanied by drizzle and rain. The courses were sausage triangle and set promptly and true as before.
Race 3 – Will found himself lined up for the wrong start line at the one minute gun so encouraged the rest of the fleet to have a jump start which caused a GR which under flag U meant he was back in the game for the restart.
We got away cleanly the second time and it was the first bullet for Will. Harry followed him home and a superb sail by Nick Orman saw him third followed by James Dawson in fourth.
Race 4 – Harry, Will, Chris, Nick and Norman got away in clean air and couldn’t be touched on race 4, they stayed clear of the fleet all race and stayed out of trouble. The fleet were grateful for a rapid turn around between races at this stage as the rain set in and everyone was feeling the cold.
Race 5 – Chris Turner again challenged Harry for the bullet but Harry held on to confirm the Championship. Will came in third followed by Oliver Davenport who had been getting increasingly better results through the weekend, one to watch for the future! Neil Fulcher had a cracking final down wind leg rolling two boats to cross the line 6th.


With an award winning fish and chip supper and plenty of drinks to celebrate with the new National Champion, some decided to brave South Shields on a Saturday night. The less said about that the better!
Day 3 dawned with another bacon roll and the fleet looking forward to blowing away the cobwebs. The forecast for the Sunday had ranged from 30 to 2 knots over the weekend but in the end it had gone Northerly and was about 15 knots. The combination of the ebb tide and the Northerly breeze had caused a steep short swell at the river mouth and as a result the race officer decided it was too dangerous to race. It was increasing all the time.
At the prizgiving Phantom class association chairman Phil Longley thanked the sponsors – Colonial Capital, The Morton Partnership, Vicky’s embroidery services, Ovington Boats and Seabrooke developments – presenting the winners and committee prizes for each race, spot prizes for a few special competitors, as well as brandy glasses and wine for the top ten
It was a fantastic weekend and South Shields made us feel very welcome. The food was excellent as was the beer and company. Massive thanks to the ladies in the galley and the bar staff who made the weekend very special. Thanks also go to the PRO Nigel Denchfieild for getting the course right and turning the racing round in some varying condiditons.
Well done to Harry sealing the deal with 4 firsts and a second, look forward to doing it all again soon!
Individual trophy winners:-
Under 30 – Harry Briddon
30-40 Cup – Jon Nuttall
2 Score cup – Will Gulliver
Half Ton cup – John Wayling
3 Score – Jimmy Sanderson
Endeavour Trophy – Stephen Lowe
1st Classic – Stephen Lowe

Full results here

Optimum Time Watches Southern Series Phantom Open Meeting Round 4 held at Shoreham SC in July

This year also counted towards the Phantom class’s national Grand Prix series. 10 helms enjoyed three races on Saturday. Local Steve Popple won races 1 & 2 in champagne force 4 conditions.  Race 3 in progressively lighter conditions favoured local veteran Ivan Walsh who having nailed the start  bagged  his first open meeting race win. Consistently low scores by Chris Shelton & Richard Simms kept them in contention overnight.

Popular class stalwarts Titch & Viv arrived during the afternoon to initiate proceedings which kept Tyler & Lisa behind the bar fully employed thus ensuring a healthy profit !!

Grateful sailors tucked into bangers, mash & beans during the evening courtesy of the two Mandys.

Overnight winds increased creating typical Shoreham conditions. Titch easily won race 4 held in a held in a rising force 5 followed by Gareth Griffiths & Steve Popple. Toe strap failure immediately followed by an Olympic standard back flip meant Walsh finished 6th.

Race Officer Phil Ayton & his excellent team wisely decided to cancel race 6 due the deteriorating conditions.

Steve Popple retained his overnight lead with Ivan Walsh runner up & Richard Simms third overall.

Competitors wish to thanks club members both on & off the water for their help which ensured such an enjoyable event.   www.optimumtime.co.uk

Optimum Time Watches Southern Series Phantom Open Meeting Round 5 at Downs SC Kent on 30/31 July

1st and 2nd for Downs Sailors! 

As part of the Optimum Time Watches Southern Series, Downs SC welcomed 5 visitors making a fleet of 9 boats in total.  It was a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon but unfortunately with very little wind.

The Race Officer and his team did a great job to get the first race started after a short postponement in very challenging conditions. The fleet was split on the first beat with everyone chasing whatever wind they could find. Unfortunately after three legs the RO decided to shorten the course at the wing mark so Race 1 was won by Ivan Walsh (Shoreham SC) and 2nd Chris Shelton (Downs SC) & 3rd Eric Styles (Downs SC). AP over H was displayed and after a short wait on the beach it was decided to cancel any further racing for that day.

Midland series 2016

18th Sept Bartley SC8th

9th October -  Shustoke SC (also GP event)

5-6th November – Grafham Water SC (also Inlands)

2-3 events to count

Eastern Creeksea Open - Report


An impressive fleet of 28 boats entered the Creeksea Phantom Opening Meeting which yet again proved to be a favourite with regulars who knew that every effort would be made to attend to all their needs. The traditional barrels of beer had been carefully selected by the home fleet and proved an immediate hit with those that arrived early on Friday afternoon.


On Saturday Race Officer Edwin Buckley was faced with something of a dilemma as the North Westerly breeze did not look to be settled and with a flooding tide it looked difficult to get a true beat for the first race. He therefore sent the fleet heading up river on the clubs favourite course of Cliff and Canewdon, with a short beat across the river before a long run back to Creeksea. The weather gods soon realised his predicament and shortly after the start the wind picked up and the heavens opened to wake the fleet up and stretch some muscles. The fleet found they had a hard beat to contend with which soon split the fleet into two groups for the reach to Canewdon. After a quick fetch across the river the fleet decided that the south bank was the prefered option to better the flooding tide although choosing where to cross the river to get to the start line proved a challenge that resulted in some place changes. Paul Church made the best of this challenge to score a race win ahead of Matt House and John Wayling.

Phantom East Coast Championships 2016

This year the East Coast Champs was held at Royal Harwich Yacht Club, who had kindly invited the Phantom Fleet to attend as part of their annual Smugglers Trophy Event.

A number of the fleet arrived early on the Friday evening to join some of the PSYCO members (Phantom Sailors Yacht Cruising Organisation) aboard yachts moored at both Royal Harwich and Woolvestone Marina. Following much merriment, a diet of beer, cupcakes and the odd rum and coke, the fleet turned in remarkable early to gain much needed rest before the day ahead.

Saturday brought bright sunshine, a gentle force 3 from the south east, and 11 fit sailors and 1 recovering from a bad back, apparently as a result of his toil during the week. At the briefing the race officer Gordon indicated that he had arranged to set 2 separate race areas, one for the Wayfarers and Handicap fleets and the other for the Phantoms and National 12s. He also warned of the local rule of racing being prohibited within the launching area, this was later to catch some victims from the Phantom’s.

Race one started on a trapezoid course with the windward mark set just off the Butt and Oyster pub at Pin Mill this was obviously done to encourage the Phantoms to get away early, drawn in by the smell of the beer also exuding directly to windward. Initially it looked as though the pin end of the line would pay as Bob Portway and Ian (Windy) Miller looked to pull away and cross the fleet, however John (Titch) Wayling had also had a good beat on the opposite side of the track, and Matt House had got some good fortune and was lifted into the mark having been crossed by the previously mentioned.  At the mark, Titch led Matt and Windy around and on to the first reach. Down the next 3 legs odd positions changed, though Matt appeared to be the quickest of all down the reaches. On the second beat Windy managed to sail himself down the pan while Ian Pavey and Paul Church picked the left side of the course and put themselves in contention for a podium finish. By the final leg and to the finish it was Matt 1st, Titch 2nd and Paul 3rd.

By race 2 the wind had built to a force 4 with significant gusts coming through to catch out the unwary. The RO had also changed the course to a Triangle, Sausage course to provide a little variety and some excellent reaches for the Phantoms. This time the fleet spread evenly across the line, leading to the bunch arriving at the top mark together. Warren (Thumper) Martin was in the mix with Matt leading, Thumper 2nd with Titch and Paul in close attendance. On the second lap Paul unfortunately suffered a kicker failure, that took him out of the race, Bob Portway had taken the opportunity to pull past Thumper, leaving a 1.2.3, of Titch, Matt and Bob. There had been a number of capsizes due to the gusty conditions and hence by race 3 a depletion of the fleet.

Race 3 was on the same Triangle, Sausage course though the tide was due to turn part way through the race. It was down to who could judge where and when the tide that would gain the best advantage. It appeared the local Matt House had used his knowledge to push for the front, but this would evaporate as he tripped up at the gybe mark, to let Titch, Paul and most of the remainder of the fleet through. On the second lap, a late capsize by Nick let both Thumper and Windy through leaving the podium spots to Paul 1st, Titch 2nd, and Bob 3rd. It was going to make the second day of racing interesting having had 3 different jockies in 1st place. The fleet retired to the shore for well earned sustenance.

Joined by the PHWAGs the fleet triumphed in the smugglers quiz, particularly assisted by Radio 4 listener Thumper. We were then provided an excellent meal by Royal Harwich before returning to the PYSCO yachts for a nightcap before bed.

Sunday dawned bright, having had heavy rain overnight (according to Nick and Thumper who had spent a restless night in the back of their cars). The wind had died to nothing and the forecast did not promise much more. The first race of the morning was to be a pursuit race (not part of the series) followed by 2 further races. What wind there was came from the East with a flooding tide. Windy had decided to retire from the pursuit race before getting on the water, as he had predicted this would be a bit of a drifter. The Phantoms started last in the pursuit and it was a matter of who drifted fastest down to the first mark. On rounding the mark on to a beat against the tide the inevitable was going to happen, Yes.... boats started sailing backwards. There were a number of retirements, though 3 intrepid Phantomers decided to stay on for a chance to win the Sail Medic sponsored gillet. Bob and Paul appeared to have read wind conditions correctly by coming over to the south shore and picking their way between the pontoons, while Titch had gone over to the north shore hoping for the wind to build. Though both Bob and Paul had some distance over Titch on the water they had both fallen foul of the local rule not to sail with the landing area and were hence disqualified, leaving Titch as the winner.

With the likelihood of the wind dropping further and the tide increasing the RO abandoned the racing, so people could get home in good time.

Thanks go to RHYC for their hospitality and holding the event, to Sail Medic for their sponsorship, and to Seamark Nunn who also sponsored some prizes. To Gordon the RO and  Matt House for co-ordinating the event.


East Coast Champs

RankClass          SailNoClub        HelmName                          Nett

1stPhantom1346         John Wayling (2.0)

2ndPhantom1432RHYC         Matt House 1.02.0(7.0)10.03.0

3rdPhantom1273         Paul Church 3.0(12.0)

4thPhantom137RHYC        Bob Portway (5.0)

5thPhantom1305         Ian Miller  (7.0)

6thPhantom1233         Warren Martin (8.0)

7thPhantom1279         Ian Pavey   4.07.0(12.0 )23.011.0

8thPhantom1291Nick Yannakoyorgos (6.0)

9thPhantom1065         Ian Hill  10.08.0(12.0 )30.018.0

10thPhantom1378 Jonathon Pulfer    9.0(12.0 ) 12.0 33.021.0

11thPhantom1174 G Dale Jones (12.0)


Sail Medic Pursuit Race

1stPhantom1346         John Wayling

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