British Etchells National Championship 2018
Any time a boat gets to discard a second place in its winning scoreline, it suggests a walkover, but in the case of the 2018 British Etchells National Championship Lawrie Smith and his crew of Richard Parslow / Will Heritage and Gonçalo Ribeiro only took the championship on the last beat of the last race. In that race they had moved from well back in the fleet to eventual first place, snatching the title from Andy Beadsworth (Marco Pocci / Ben Cornish (sailing under the HKG sail number of Marco)) who for most of the last race had the destiny of the title in his own hands.
These two were head and shoulders above the rest of the 19 boat fleet, Smith finishing with six points, Beadsworth with eight while Peter Rogers / Neil Jaffa Harrison and Ben Cooper finished an extremely creditable third overall but with a rather distant 20 points in total.
Race one was sailed in a very light north westerly breeze with a strong cross tide from the east and the race was won by Tom Abrey/ Bruno van Dyck and Matt Reid. Unusually for the team on Jolly Roger however, this was the only time they saw the front all week and their regatta was challenging from the next race with an OCS leading them scoring a DFL in 19th.
Smith took second, Peter Rogers 3rd and defending National champion David Franks a solid 4th to kick off the defence of his British Championship title.
Etchells UK Open National Championships
There is always a lot of great boat racing going on around the Solent, with battles taking place in a wide variety of classes, from big boats to small boats, and club racers to world champions. This coming May Bank Holiday will be no exception with 60 J-Boats battling it out in the J Cup from the Island Sailing Club, as well as the RORC fleet heading offshore to Plymouth and back.
Possibly the most competitive racing however will be in the Etchells class who will be competing for their British Open & National Championship, hosted by the Royal London YC. The entry list is stacked with awesome CVs and whoever wins will have to beat the very best. It’s also a very international regatta with competitors from Australia, Hong Kong and the USA flying in, with one crew coming down from Scotland as well.
On the basis of local knowledge and the form book a possible favourite is Lawrie Smith. Smith has been winning World Championships for 35 years, in his early days in the 505 and Fireball class where he regularly locked horns with current Etchells world champion Steve Benjamin. Smith was 2nd in the Miami Etchells series over the winter (Benjamin won!) has an excellent crew and is one of the finest helmsman in the world. Sailing an Etchells fast upwind is never easy but Smith squeezes out those last 2° of height all the time and is incredibly consistent. Smith has also previously won the Dragon World Championship and in a nice piece of symmetry current Dragon World Champion (and 2007 Etchells World Champion). Andy Beadsworth will be making his second appearance in the class this year as well.