The International Etchells South Coast Championship 2019
Over the weekend 26/27th July, the 2019 Etchells South Coast Championships were held in Cowes and organised by the Royal Thames Yacht Club
Saturday morning’s racing started in a 12 to 14 knot breeze from the north and, while it was forecast to increase, that didn’t happen. Unfortunately as the wind was shifting so much, it took 45 minutes before the first start could actually happen, as the committee struggled to lay a fair line.
It was a day that the wind pressure was up and down by 4 knots with frequent 20 degree wind shifts that kept rolling over the race course under the clouds. So, heads out of the boat, and watching for the wind shifts is what counted on the day, and the first race was won appropriately by the Royal Thames Youth Sailing Team skippered by Ollie Grogono, before Matt Hannaby sailing Escape helmed by Julian Smith won the following two races and were the overnight leaders, with Rob Goddard's Rocketman in second place and David Heritage's family crew sailing Colin in third place.
Sunday brought a slightly more consistent breeze pressure, but still with the wind shifting with every cloud formation that moved through the Solent, and it was Rocketman’s turn to fly, taking a first and second in races four and five, moving them into first place overall. For the sixth and final race after a good start Rocketman seeing Escape sailing behind, but starting to move swiftly through the fleet, realised that for the second consecutive
Etchells Regatta a match race was called for. What resulted was Rocketman sailing back to cover Escape by closely tacking on them while sailing up the first beat, but in traditional symmetrical spinnaker match racing style, the advantage switched to the trailing boat on the down-wind leg as Escape forced Rocket Man away from the leeward gates, and while Escape rounded a boat length ahead, Rocketman took the opposite gate to regain the lead forcing Escape deeper into the pack, thereby giving Rocketman crew their first series win, with Colin taking the 6th and final race win with Sophie Heritage helming.
Eddie Warwick supplied the weekends beer, with Shaun Frolich providing Rum and Cake for the hungry sailors.
The International Etchells European Championship 2019
The International Etchells European Championship was hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club and took place over three days on the Solent. 17 boats entered including 4 youth boats and 7 Corinthian boats.
3 races took place on both Friday and Saturday in generally light to medium conditions from the North West; sea-state was determined by the tide with chop decreasing throughout the day. Boats scoring low points generally started well; managed the shifts (±25 degrees) and the leverage that brought against the fleet. Results in the middle of the fleet were very sporadic and even after 6 races (and 1 discard) 5 points separated 4th to 9th place, with the rest of the fleet close behind.
A particularly impressive Saturday was had by Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue, winning all three races in less than stable conditions. The term Ante-Christ was used a number of times at the pub that night.
Despite this impressive performance everything was to play for on the final day that saw light and fickle wind from the East. 1st and 2nd was fought-out exclusively by Swedish Blue and Seamus McHugh’s K2. K2, the only continental boat (SUI 1406) in the fleet, managed to beat Swedish Blue (12-14 respectively) closely match racing on Sunday. Whilst Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte secured 3rd after putting 4 boats between him and Rob Goddard’s Rocketman (who took 1st Corinthian) in the final race. Miles Jones jumped up past Hattie Roger’s Royal Lymington boat and Thea Crawshaw’s Royal Thames boat after a strong finish on Sunday and taking 1st youth boat overall.
The way the results are calculated in yacht fleet racing can lead to some interesting scenarios and the 2019 Etchells European Championship was a good example. After 6 races, with 5 to count, McHugh (K2) and Ante Razmilovic (Swedish Blue) each had 20 points. McHugh’s discard was a seventh place whereas Ante’s was a whopping 18. This meant that if McHugh scored eighth or worse in his last race, his score after discard would always be set at 27. So if Ante came eighth or worse, even though he might have been well ahead of McHugh, McHugh would be crowned European Champion. The only way Ante could win was to not only beat McHugh, but not have a position worse than 7. In the event they match raced each other in this all-important final race, and Ante came fourteenth leaving McHugh to claim the championship cup.
A huge thank you must go to the race committee that did very well to manage the racing despite the variable wind direction, and to the various owners and Jan who provided the beer, ice-cream and cake.