Etchells Southern Area Championship
4/5 June in the Solent
A brilliant weekend 4/5 June of racing with a variety of conditions and competition even with our friends from the USA and Australia getting involved in the mix as the Worlds are coming up in September. The UK Etchells fleet gathered for the two-day Southern Area Champs, hosted by The Royal London Yacht Club with Bob Milner as PRO.
Saturday brought moderate breeze coming from the East as the 21 boat lined up for day one of racing. Tide was running against the course for most of the day which lead to some interesting racing. For the most part leaders came out of the left corner however a right shift in race 2 lead to a lee bow effect by the tide giving an early lead to those who had gone out right. The leaders from Race 2 where as follows: Exabyte, Oatmeal and Mila with No Dramas (Corinthian) in a close 4th. Race 3 showed Exabyte on excellent form again taking 1st place but Louise Racing now jumping up to 2nd with Mila in 3rd.
With the forecast looking light for day two, the Race committee pushed for a 4th race while we had some of the best conditions of the weekend. Race 4 saw a shake up with the results being Oatmeal in 1st, Mila in 2nd and Gelert in 3rd. This lead to Mila securing the overnight lead by 7 points, which with the forecast could have meant an event win. 2nd and 3rd where not as set with only 1 point between Oatmeal and Louise Racing.
Sunday presented, as expected, light winds, AP 1 was displayed at 10:00 with an expectation for the gradient breeze to build as the day went on. Postponements continued for the rest of the morning with the committee and competitors hopeful. At 13:15 AP was removed and the fleet proceeded north to the race area. Racing began in what had now become a comfortable 10 knots from the west, but with no start allowed after 15:00 only the one race was sailed and that was it for the regatta. The final standings where:
1st Mila sailed by Lawrie Smith on 9pts
2nd Oatmeal (USA) sailed by Peter Duncan on 10pts
3rd Lousie Racing sailed by Grant Gordon on 13pts
All in all an excellent regatta with a special thanks to David Franks for hosting an excellent social on the Saturday night.
Photo John Green