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.