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Etchells Southern Area Championship

North Star rises in the Solent… by Rob Goddard

Etchells Southern Area Championship hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club took place in the Solent over the weekend of the 7/8th October

With an ever-changing weather forecast, by Thursday the weekend’s racing looked unlikely with the high wind forecast. By Saturday morning, the forecast had changed to little or no wind, and when the fleet was finally allowed out of port at 11 am, the 3 knots breeze slowly built to a 6 kt SW allowing race 1 to get underway.

After a great start David Franks’ Strait Dealer led convincingly for the first two legs, but on the final upwind leg an inconsistent breeze meant it was all change as the middle of the fleet sailed round the leaders. It was two times Etchells World Champion, Stuart Childerley, racing his new Heritage-built Polaris for the first time, who took the lead to win in his first race helming an Etchells for years, just like old times.

Race 2 saw the fleet divide. Childerley started at the pin and headed hard left and arrived almost simultaneously with Robby Boyd sailing Sumo at the top mark,  At the bottom gate, it was Sumo ahead but unfortunately a  late kite drop and a stuck halyard meant Sumo had a slow rounding, and Polaris, keen to capitalise on the mistake, tried tacking closely through Sumo’s dirty air, clipping  Sumo stern. Polaris swiftly took her penalty, then, played the wind shifts up the middle of the track to lead at the top mark, gaining another first place.

Race 3 saw Polaris and Jake Hardiman’s Pulse foul start, allowing Franks his second chance to lead around the course in the slowly building breeze now reaching 9 knots. Playing two shifts on the first beat, Franks led at the top mark from Jon Warwick’s Audrey. Unfortunately, a quick gybe set from Audrey didn’t work, enabling Strait Dealer to extend on the run and this time they had a lead that they wouldn’t give up

Race 4 Polaris was back in full stride, winning the pin and sailing hard left to lead at the top mark, while with a now slack forestay and hiking hard Pulse were in third and, despite the fleet trying to sail over them, that third place was hers and she defended it determinedly to the end.

With no racing predicted for Sunday, the competitors wanted a 5th race on Saturday, but unfortunately the sailing instructions precluded it. All crews were pleased that PRO Phil Hagan and his team managed to put on four great races in what could have been a cancelled day, leaving Stuart Childerley sailing with his son Ben and former Etchells World champion winner Roger Marino on Polaris GBR 1487 to win the regatta from Strait Dealer sailed by David Franks, Graham Sunderland, Vita Heathcote and Ryan Orr. Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte with Dave Bedford and Duncan Truswell came third, while in fourth overall, and first Corinthian. was Audrey sailed by Jon Warwick, Will Bedford (helm), Hannah Hunt and Fraser Woodley.

For Results see https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=12893

National Championships 2020

27 September 2020 Etchells Open and National Champs Royal London YC Cowes Photo: Rick Tomlinson

16 Etchells came to the line for the British National Championships on a cold blustery September day (26th and 27th) with the wind out of the north-west. Although fleet set out in only 14 or 15 knots of breeze the forecast was for something solidly in the mid-20s from the North and that’s how it panned out. A building cold breeze but three very competitive races sailed.

Race one looked like it was heading in the direction of fleet captain David Franks (Graham Sunderland / Ryan Orr / Vita Heathcote) who sailed the first three shifts beautifully to lead. Heading right towards the shore every little header helped him and he led comfortably. Also on port early was class newcomer Malcolm Offord who despite it being only his 17th weekend steering a boat was comfortably holding third. The second beat saw the speed master coming to play however. Ante Razmilovic (Brian Hammersley / Andrew Mills) managed to get to the right of the pack, picked up a nice shift off the shore and with his heavy airspeed blew through into the lead. Malcolm Offord made a mess of one tack which ended up with him taking a backflip into the water (nil points for the dive) and that left James Howells (Charlie Cumbley / Jamie Lea) recently returned to the Etchells fleet (ten days ago!) close to the chocolates, just behind Dragon sailor Grant Gordon (Ruairidh Scott / Sophie Scott / James Williamson) making his first appearance in a chartered boat who took second.  Rob Gullan put in an early pitch for the Corinthian title taking top slot in that group in fifth.

Race 2 started with more of the fleet wanting the right and lining up at the windward end of the start line to get it. David Franks came off the pin side of the fleet but unlike race 1, the gentle march of the breeze into the north meant that oscillations from the left were few and far between and he was never able to get back in contention. J70 World Champion Paul Ward got the right hand side of the course and with his American-style, traveller down and tight mainsail leech trim, was never headed. At the windward mark he could have got out of the cold beer (hot chocolate?) such was his lead. Howells took second, Grant Gordon another third with Razmilovic in fourth. The winners were winning big, able to get onto the lifted tack in each shift that much earlier than the pack and extending away.

For race 3 of day one the forecast increase in the breeze came to fruition with the peak gust of 27 kn from the north registered on Bramblemet. There aren’t many faster Etchells in the world when it’s windy than Razmilovic (still trimmed with his usual higher traveller and more twist than Ward was using) but on this occasion he was headed by James Howells, who was himself no slouch in the very windy Cowes Worlds of 2007 when he came fourth overall with David Bedford and Oscar Mead crewing.

Most encouraging for the fleet however was perhaps the 3rd place for Jon Warwick and his young team and 4th for Robby Boyd and his youth (under 25) team. Both did fantastically well, in properly hardcore conditions. A testament to the Royal London / David Franks youth academy program.

The end of day one therefore saw James Howells and Ante Razmilovic tied first on seven points and only Grant Gordon hanging on with nine. Paul Ward (Ben Saxton / Paul Childs) despite, his race win was carrying an 8 and an 11, David Franks had only added an eighth and 10 to his earlier second place which left the Corinthian team of Jon Warwick (Will Bedford / Fraser Woodley / Hannah Hunt) looking strong with consistent placing of 7, 5, 3. 

 Unluckiest crew on day one must have been Andrew Lawson (Hamish Mackay and  William Russell) who having purchased GBR1409 on Friday and driven down from Glasgow for the weekend found themselves in a collision half way down the first run (not their fault) that led to their retirement from the race….. and from the rest of the day. A long drive for a short sail! Local class builder David Heritage worked his magic overnight and they were back out on Sunday.

 The forecast for day two looked very windy in the morning but Predict Wind had a significant drop off from lunchtime and after a two-hour delay on the shore that is how it panned out. RO Peter Taylor from the Royal London YC sent the fleet set out at noon into a 23 knot northerly which was easing. The sun came out and it turned out to be a fantastic days racing.

 Three boats were, in effect, in contention and in race 4 they all battled it out at the front. James Howells made it two race wins on the trot, with Grant Gordon in second, Paul Ward back on form for third whilst David Franks took fourth-place pushing Razmilovic into fifth. With the shortened day and only two races really likely to be on offer that effectively bought the championship down to a two-way scrap between Howells and Razmilovic. Howells only had to beat Razmilovic to seal his return to the fleet with a bang and the National Champions title. 

As the four-minute signal sounded the breeze was definitely in a strong right-hand phase and according to the Graham Sunderland winning tides book the tide would have turned on the shore as well. That led to quite a lot of bunching at the committee boat with Grant Gordon‘s team winning it, standing on for 30 seconds before tacking. Behind that Malcolm Offord (Laurence Mead / Camilo Ordobo) was next on the port with Azat Ulutas (Seun Williams / Jesse Opokuware / Harry Blowers) from Greg City Academy also heading to the beach.

Graham Sunderland followed his own books advice and had David Franks joining this trio heading right whilst Howells and Razmilovic were further down the line having their own private battle. Both were lifted on starboard and hoping for an oscillation back to the left. With the tide creating an effective right-hand shift however that leftie never came and the four boats who had struck right early on we never headed. While Grant Gordon extended to one of the biggest leads your reporter has ever seen in the class the other three battled around for the podium, with Franks getting it on the finish line, 6 feet ahead of Malcolm Offord who was 12 feet on front of Azat Ulutas.

Howells crossed for sixth-place with Razmilovic in seventh, both using their discards which allowed Grant Gordon to leapfrog into second overall despite this being his first ever Etchells event. Showing how difficult consistency was in such a strong fleet, only the top three had all five results in single figures. 

 Corinthian National Champion was John Warwick and his young team in sixth while with their fantastic fourth in the last race Azat Ulutas took the youth prize at ninth overall, a truly great result for such a young team.

 So ended the 2020 British Etchells National Championships, cold on day 1, warm on day 2 and red hot racing all weekend!

Results are available at https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=12901

Etchells Bedrock Championship

Etchells Bedrock Championship was held over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of September, organised by Royal Southern Yacht Club with Tanya Robinson as PRO, whose team were warmly congratulated by the Etchells fleet at the Prize Giving for doing such a great job in difficult conditions.

Saturday morning: the fleet was greeted with a light NW breeze coming down Southampton Water onto the Hill Head and Bramble Plateau for the 13 enthusiastic Etchells ready to race. The first race saw Robert Drake’s Desperate port tack the fleet at the start line as a right-handed shift combined with the dropping breeze, caught most of the fleet out whilst starting against a fast flooding Solent tidal stream.

On the right-hand Hillhead shore, Desperate was the first to arrive with what looked initially like an easy lead, followed by Tom Abrey (aka Captain Hook) sailing Jolly Roger, whose Etchells inadvertently had acted as a low water mark for the fleet, parking for a minute or so. Unfortunately for Desperate, as can often happen with a light breeze from Southampton Water, the pressure dropped, and the boat which managed to find the best breeze was Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue, which then led at the top mark and continued to lead the 4 leg race to win race 1.

Race 2 saw the tide change, and Laurence Mead, tactician on Malcolm Offord’s Plant Hunter, made the most of the tide as it sailed furthest into the Hill Head shore, gaining from the new ebb, and leading at the first mark. It was noticeable that Scaramouche Graduate, Camilo Ordobo, on Plant Hunter, was one of the most active bowmen in the fleet. At the first downwind mark, the ever fast Swedish Blue had taken the lead, but there was another twist on the final downwind leg: Plant Hunter gybed onto port first, thereby benefiting from a northerly puff and squeezed by Swedish Blue to win race 2.

Race 3 started under black flag after two U flag starts failed to get the fleet cleanly away. Swedish Blue, reveling in the strengthening breeze now above 12 knots, comfortably won. After Race 3, Swedish Blue started sailing home to Cowes when the race officer, having reviewed Sunday’s weather forecast, sensibly chose to run another race. A rib was dispatched to bring the overall leaders back to compete one more race before they could drink their well-earned beers.

At first, it looked like Razmilovic might have just as well continued home to Cowes as he had a poor start at an over-crowded pin, coming 8th at the top mark and 6th at the bottom. But he had worked back to 3rd at the final windward rounding. Jolly Roger started away from the congestion at the pin, and used three quick shifts on the first beat to lead the fleet at the top mark. After its earlier escapade on the beach, Jolly Roger was unwilling to give up the lead, and in the rising 16 knot breeze and choppy sea, it won by 100 meters from the now 2nd placed Swedish Blue who had match raced and over-taken Graham Sunderland on Strait Dealer on the final leg.

Sunday at first looked like the predicted lack of wind was likely, but after an hour’s delay, the wind had revived and the now 15 boat fleet was ready to race.

It was the first day racing an Etchells for J70 champion Paul Ward on Man’s Best Friend, which won the pin, and sailed on starboard deeper into a left-hand shift before tacking and leading at the top mark. Ward, now in clean air, pulled away from the pack on the downwind leg to win Race 5, with Razmilovic coming 2nd.

Race 6 saw Ward start cleanly by the Committee Boat and playing the shifts, led Razmilovic by four boat lengths at the top mark. Ward, without the advantage of clean air and as Razmilovic got the downwind puffs first, found himself neck and neck with Swedish Blue approaching the bottom mark. Ward chose the downwind right gate, but Razmilovic selected the more favourable left to come out ahead. Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue, with his usual crew of Brian Hammersley and Andrew Mills, won the race from Jolly Roger, thus cementing their Regatta win. In 4th place overall, and 1st place ISAF Cat1 Amateur Team, was Sumo, skippered by Robby Boyd, helmed by Miles Jones, with Jack Sharland and Ted Blowers sharing crewing duties.

The next Etchells regatta is the National Championship on the 25-27th September

Weekends results are available at

https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=12900

Videos will also be published soon

Sir Kenneth Preston Results

Etchells first official regatta of the year, the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron.

22/23rd August 2020, 12 socially distanced crews entered the event which was run in the central Solent. Unfortunately Saturday’s storm meant that racing was held only on Sunday and the RYS organised an early start and 4 windward leeward races of just under an hour each.

To ensure the races were completed before the time cut off, the “U” flag was used. Initially a strong flood tide with a westerly breeze ranging from 10-20 kts was the day’s racing conditions. However, the varying cloud cover meant that big shifts and pressure variations were available for all crews to try and find. Unfortunately, as frequently happens, getting from one favourable shift to another meant sailing through light patches, so the pack was frequently shuffled.

Main Interest of the day was on “Man’s Best Friend” and “Swedish Blue” both of which had been practicing with the new Andrew Palfrey designed jib track system, and it was evident from the fleet support rib that the optional smaller wind angle gave a tremendous advantage in getting a clean lane, starting and laying marks, but if overcooked or not matched by the main sail, could easily jeopardise boat speed.

The first race was won by Robby Boyd sailing “Sumo GBR 1020” who choose correctly the right hand side of the course, as the wind shifted right, and with the added pressure on that side he led and won the race convincingly.

Race 2 was sailed in one of the more sustained wind pressures, and Ante Razmilovic, the fleet’s high wind specialist sailing “Swedish Blue” looked to have won the race by the top mark. However, a wayward halyard meant that sailing minus spinnaker or a jib at the top and the bottom of the course was slow, and this disadvantage meant that Swedish Blue slipped back into the fleet, while John Warwick’s “Audrey” helmed by Will Bedford capitalised to win.

Race 3 was where the event was lost, Grant Simmer sailing “Man’s Best Friend” tried a tight cross on Robby Boyd’s “Sumo” and with Robby feeling he was infringed protested, and as Man’s Best Friend continued sailing scoring a podium result they took the overall lead while awaiting the post racing hearing, as Swedish Blue, now with 2 working halyards went on to win the race.

Race 4, and it was all to play for anyone of 7 out of the 12 boats could now win the series, and it was Grant Simmer Sailing “Man’s Best Friend” who took the race, but the series was all down to the protest room, where the port and starboard rule interpretation “reasonable apprehension of a collision” meant that Man’s Best Friend was scored DSQ’d for race 3.

Robby Boyd and his crew of Quentin Bes-Green and Hugh Ward were the 2020 overall winners, and Cat 1 Corinthian winners, and now Robby has name on a prestigious Trophy’s winners’ board in the Royal Yacht Squadron.

For results see…https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=12895

Sir Kenneth Preston

The first Cowes Etchells regatta takes place this weekend, the Sir Kenneth Preston regatta run by the Royal Yacht Squadron.  Currently 10 boats entered with a further 3 or 4 saying they will be there!

There is still time to enter – enter here

To comply with RYA requirements please ensure the waiver is signed on Yacht scoring within 24hrs of the start of the event, or sign hard copy at CYH before going out for the first race.  You will not be able to race if you do not comply.

2020 Racing

Our current program as booked with the clubs is: 

22/23 Aug – SKP

5/6 Sept – Bedrock

11/13 Sept – Nationals

3/4 Oct – Southern Areas

24/25 Oct – Ice Bucket

7/8 Nov – Autumn Regatta

None can be confirmed until we know that social distancing rules permit up to 4 unrelated sailors on an Etchells. The Clubs are booked but if they struggle to find a race team, we will look at alternatives so that we can get some racing and/or coaching on these same dates.

Youth Academy Trials Weekend

If you are a Youth Team and would like to take part in our 2020 Royal London Yacht Club Etchells Youth Academy Trials weekend 28th/29th March 2020 please contact David Bedford on 07808400008 or Bedfordd@hotmail.co.uk

If you are successful during the Trials Weekend you will be allocated an Etchells for all Class Regattas in 2020, all racing and boat costs paid by the Class.

If you are not successful there is the opportunity to be teamed up with one of the boats in the fleet as crew for a full season.  The Worlds are being held in Cowes in 2021 and this could be your opportunity to become involved.

Teams should not exceed the Class association weight limit of 285kgs and can consist of 3 or 4 crew.

The cost per boat for the weekend is £275 which includes supper on Saturday evening at the Royal London Yacht Club, you are expected to find your own accommodation.

2020 Royal London Yacht Club Etchells Youth Academy

Applications for the 2020 Royal London Yacht Club Etchells Youth Academy are now open.

The dates of the training weekends and trials are:

  1. January 18/19: Training Camp 1
  2. February 15/16: Training Camp 2 
  3. February 22/23: Training Camp 3
  4. March 14/15: Training Camp 4
  5. March 28/29th: Trials 

Teams should not exceed the Class association weight limit of 285kgs and we are happy to accept a ‘squad’ of crew members as we understand that study/work commitments may clash.

The cost per boat is £2,200

For full details, please contact David Bedford on 0780 8400008 or Bedfordd@hotmail.co.uk

Please note that the closing dates for all applicants is November 30th 2019.

Etchells Class British Open & National Championship

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in conjunction with the Cowes Etchells Fleet

Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd November 2019

Stars Align for Jolly Roger

The Etchells British Open and National Champion for 2019 is Jolly Roger sailed by Tom Abery, Bruno van Dyke, Matt Reid, Dom Mortimer and Quentin bes Green. The 2019 Corinthian National Champion is Audrey sailed by Jon Warwick, Will Bedford, Adele Young and Will Heritage, who have all come through the Cowes Etchells Youth Programme. The first youth team at the championship was the Royal Dart YC team of Miles Jones, Fraser Woodley and James Homes.

“Racing in the Cowes Etchells fleet is pretty tough and very challenging. We never thought we would win it until we crossed the line in the last race. Thank you to all of the teams and see you next year!” commented Tom Abery. “That was a big weight of our shoulders, we have been trying to win this for nine years.” commented helm Bruno van Dyke. “Sometimes thing just go your way – the stars aligned.”

On the first day (Friday 01 November) the fleet sailed in 15-20 knots of breeze from the southwest, with gusty conditions testing boat handling skills. After three races Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue was a point ahead of Strait Dealer, helmed by Graham Sunderland. Jolly Roger was third. Swedish Blue got two great starts and showed impressive downwind speed to win the opening two encounters. Rob Goddard’s Rocketman nailed the pin end to win the start of Race 3, but the race was won by Jolly Roger.

The second day of racing (Saturday 02 November) was a non-starter as a 50-knot front blasted into the Solent. The race committee, led by PRO Paul Jackson, called off racing for the day at 08:00 allowing the Cowes Etchells Fleet the opportunity to watch the Rugby World Cup Final. The Royal Ocean Racing Club provided a Full English Breakfast for an eager crowd, the fayre was more enjoyable than the result, especially if you were English!

Three races were held in a variety of conditions on the final day (Sunday 03 November). Race 4 was a light airs affair with a northerly gradient at the start. Kim Ridge’s Colin was over eager at the pin end and having been called OCS restarted some way behind the fleet. However Colin, with Dog Palfrey on tactics, spotted a big lefty and recovered from their premature start to win Race 4. The penultimate race was held in building conditions with a big wind shift after the first lap. The race committee spotted the shift and changed the course axis to accommodate the 30 degree wind shift. As the breeze swung to the west, Jolly Roger came to the fore scoring their second bullet of the championship.

After a General Recall, Race 6 got away under the U-Flag. Three teams fell foul and were disqualified including Swedish Blue, effectively taking away any chance of victory in the championship. Jolly Roger showed impressive speed to take the gun and seal overall victory. Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte 7 won a close battle for second just pipping Strait Dealer to the line.

The Prize Giving was held at the Cowes Yacht Haven with Rob Goddard as master of ceremonies and Julia Bailey awarding the prizes for the 2019 Etchells British Open and National Championship. The ceremony included the announcement of the winner for the five regatta series Champion of Champions, which was Tom Abrey and Bruno Van Dyke on Jolly Roger. The Etchells Ice Bucket regatta which was sailed on the 14th and 15th September was won by Jon Warwick’s Audrey and was also presented this weekend. The Trophy for this regatta was kindly donated to the class by Andrew Cooper.

Full Results: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=6262