Kiwis on Top
For the first day of the 2016 Etchells Open European Championship, Principal Race Officer, Phil Lawrence, prophesied that it might be a long day and he was spot on. The wind behaved worse than a wayward child, refusing to settle down until mid-afternoon. Once the wind settled into the northwest, three good races were held in the Central Solent. However, it wasn't until sundown that the fleet returned to Cowes Yacht Haven.
“With a forecast for less wind tomorrow, we knew we had to get the races in today, and that was a difficult task.” commented Phil Lawrence. “Once we got going, the wind was still shifting around, but at least we had a peak of 15 knots - the mark layers had a tough day of it today. With the forecast conditions tomorrow, we have amended the schedule to start after 2 p.m. Hopefully, we will get at least one race in to make the series.”
The top Etchells team today was Feng Shui, from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Auckland, NZ. Helmed by Andrew Wills and owned by Anatole Masfen, Matthew Kelway completes the line up. The team has won several New Zealand National Titles and Wills was on Jud Smith's winning team for the 2006 Etchells Worlds.
The Gertrude Cup Final Day 2016
The Royal Thames Yacht Club’s Etchells Invitational Gertrude Cup was completed on Wednesday August 3rd after a nine-race program which saw incredibly close racing amongst the 14 teams competing, teams from 13 different yacht clubs around the world. Like the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup the Gertrude Cup is an invitational event open to international teams who are each provided with a fully sorted and race prepared Etchells, each boat having matched sails to make the fleet as one-design and standard as possible. Now in its third year the Gertrude Cup is established as a key event in the Solent one-design scene.
The last day began in a building 9 to 10 knot SW breeze with the front runners in the fleet sharing the top five positions in the morning race. A win for Tom Carruthers (San Diego), second place for Chris Hampton (Melbourne) and third place for Jan Muysken (Abu Dhabi) meant that there was literally nothing in it overall, with a multiple teams tied or within a point of the lead at the top with one race to go. Amongst that group were multiple World Champions and Olympic sailors and even in the boats without titles to their name the depth of experience sailing Etchells was incredibly deep. The morning race had seen a very even first beat with a couple of boats coming out of the right hand side but the majority of the leaders coming from the left hand side. With the flood tide just on the turn there was an early outgoing ebb tide on the south side of the Bramble Bank and that seemed to be key. Carruthers had been in the first two or three early on among the leaders at the top of the first beat and then comfortably led after having chosen the correct gate at the bottom of the first run.