International Etchells Cowes Fleet CCCA Keelboat Champs
This year’s first Keelboat Champs event run by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, with an excellent race team headed by Jenny Woods, fierce competition and treacherous winds as the five Etchells Youth Academy teams battled it out on the water for the two coveted funded campaigns. The youth teams got a humbling taste of the class as they were joined by 10 other boats on the water. With incredibly challenging conditions all weekend, every team gave a fantastic show on the water.
Racing on Saturday was postponed due to flat calms, with the wind picking up heavily towards midday and leading to a day of squalls and patchy gusts, averaging 17 knots and gusting in the high twenties from the South-West. Thanks to the efforts of the race committee, we were able to get three races in in spite of a late start. The Childerleys on Polaris led the pack winning the first and second races of the day, beaten only by Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte on the third race of the day. As the day progressed the fleet saw a substantial increase in the wind, and a major shift in the final downwind of the day that saw most teams reaching on the jib to the finish line on port. Ines Pont Sanchis’ youth team on Shamal went for the kite and trucked down the left side of the course on a tight reach, planing away towards the front of the fleet.
A wind-battered fleet set off again on Sunday expecting similar conditions, with a strong but shifty South-Westerly making for some active upwind legs. John Warwick’s Audrey made a stellar comeback winning the first race of the day, with Ante Razmilovic on Swedish Blue taking the second victory of the day. Due to building conditions and a looming thunderstorm, the day was cut short with the third and final race of the day finishing at the first top mark.
Congratulations to the Childerleys on Polaris for winning the regatta, followed by Bruno van Dyke on Jolly Roger and Shaun Frohlich on Exabyte. Congratulations as well to Anthony Park and his youth team on Sumo for winning the youth class.
By Ines Pont Sanchis