|Alan Husk joined Essex Police in January 1980 and was
posted to Southend Division. He moved to Traffic in 1992 and is currently serving at
Brentwood patrolling the M25 Motorway. In August 2000 he was passenger in a motorway
patrol car which was hit by an articulated lorry on the hard shoulder from the rear. This
kept him out of sailing for 6 months. He has now returned to full fitness.
He has 2 daughters who also sail a Solo and a Europe. Alan has a Westerley Centaur cruiser that he frequently uses for pleasure sailing. It is moored at Southend and gives him access to the Thames Estuary and East Coast, also trips to Holland and France.
He has been a member of the Halfway Yacht Club for 12 years and the Commodore from 1997 -2000. He travels all over the country to sail taking part in competitions in England, Wales and Scotland.
A friend who came to Westcliff as a probationer, where I was then serving introduced me to sailing. He taught me in his father's Mirror in return for me teaching him to play squash. He tried to scare me by dipping the gunwale into the water but just succeeded in getting me hooked on my first outing, so I loved it from the beginning.
I have now been sailing for fifteen years starting in a Mirror, Solo's, 505, Fireball, International 14, RS400, RS600, Dart 18 and more recently my Phantom, No. 999.
I've competed at PAA offshore sailing on 4 occasions. 3 were on the south coast and one on the Solent. These were very enjoyable occasions for me, as I never knew there were so many good pubs and eateries to be visited on the Isle of Wight. On the 4th occasion I helmed a Sigma 33 around the Western Isles of Scotland and saw the fantastic view of the Mull of Kintyre coming out of the mist during a night race to Northern Ireland. On arrival we sat on the foredeck and watched the sun rise, eating cheese and drinking red wine. It just cannot be beaten as a memorable moment in my sailing career.
Also I took part in a night sail in a gale 6-7 in a dead run from EC1, Mid-channel mark to Boulogne in one of the South Coast PAA events. I was sick as a dog during the crossing and would not recommend such. I did race back the next day despite the fact that the ferry terminal was not too far away.
Another most memorable performance to note was the Solo world championships in 1995 where I achieved a 4th place in Holland on the Ijsselmeer. In 1998 at Stone on the River Crouch I won the Phantom Nationals. As you are aware, in 2000 I won the PAA Nationals at Rutland Water and at Southampton this year; both enjoyable experiences.
I had been sailing a Solo for 10 years and getting more generous in proportions each year which led me to look for a dinghy to accommodate the more heavier build. I decided on a Phantom and found myself at the baby end of the fleet at 15 and a half stone, which progressed as high as 18 stone. However there are some lighter competitors who also compete in the Phantoms at 12 stone.
I would recommend Phantoms for the beginner if generously proportioned as it carries weight so well. Solos are limited to between 10 -14 stone realistically to compete but if you are young and prepared to work hard, a Phantom is the ideal dinghy. They plane early in a breeze and go to windward well if you push them hard
The Phantom Association chairman and treasurer is Roger Brown who resides at 'LIMANAKI', Straight Half Mile, Maresfield, UCKFIELD, East Sussex, TN22 2HH
I have sailed at Netley 4 times now and the water is excellent for tight, close racing. They cannot put out long beats due to restrictions imposed by shipping channels. It improves tactics and manoeuvres but and not everyone wants to sail mile-long beats. I have sailed worse and I would be happy to go back there.
I find all the races a blur of concentration and effort and hardly know where I am on a course at times through looking for the wind shifts and tidal flows. I am continually trying for clear air yet still considering the back eddies and wave patterns sailing trim at all times. All races seem short to me with so much going on there is not time to sit still or be bored although I do like varied courses. Olympic Trapezoid, Reverse P's and Triangular courses make it more of a challenge and fairer as one course may suit one type of boat better.
Barnacle Bill, 2001
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