2019 International Etchells Saida Cup – 7th-8th June 2019

Sadly, the Saturday of this year’s Saida Cup, hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, was cancelled as the tail end of a front brought strong winds to the Solent. The race committee sensibly made the decision to cancel Saturday’s racing on Friday, which gave competitors the chance to prepare for Sunday’s early start.

Despite Saturday’s lack of sailing teams from the RLYC’s Etchells academy made the journey over to the Island to be officially welcomed to the club and for drinks. Later they were joined by other Etchells sailors for dinner – a great evening was had by all. Sailors were greeted by a completely different picture on Sunday, with a high pressure bringing light winds of between 5-10 knots. Nonetheless, after an hour’s delay Race Officer Phil Hagen got racing underway, with 4 races scheduled.

The first race saw those who took to the left-hand side of the race course on the first beat finish at the front. The race was won by Peter Rogers (Highlife), who was pushed hard down the last run by Shaun Frohlic’s Exabyte. They were closely followed by Shamal sailed by the Royal Dart youth team and Grant Simmer on Man’s Best Friend.

Race two was a similar story – the west to east tide making the pin favoured, with those starting towards the pin also able to escape off to the favoured left-hand side. Rob Goddard’s Rocketman was launched off the pin, leading comfortably at the Winward Mark. However, by the finish, the speed of Grant Simmer’s team and the youth team from the Royal Lymington prevailed, with the pair taking first and second respectively and Goddard finishing in third.

Man’s Best Friend picked up where they left off in race 3, again winning the left-hand side of the course on the first upwind and stretching away for the win. They were followed by the crew of Joly Roger and Shamal.

The last race of day was considerably different from the first three of the day. The breeze built to a steady 10 knots and swung right. This increase in wind speed meant that the racing was especially close and hard fought. In familiar fashion Man’s Best Friend took the win, followed closely by Highlife and Ollie Grogono’s Royal Thames Youth team.

The win for Grant Simmer and his team was enough to secure the win of the event, with Peter Roger’s Highlife finishing second and the Royal Lymington team finishing third and first Youth and first Corinthian.

A special thanks to the race committee, all the volunteers and the Royal Thames Yacht Club for organising and running a great weekend in tough conditions.

Full results on YachtScoring.com

International Etchells Cowes Fleet Sir Kenneth Preston Regatta

This weekend saw the 25th year of the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy; in memory of the retired Vice Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron and captain of the 1960 British Olympic sailing team. Previous notable recipients of the prize (and who feature on the plaque in the Squadron) are Stuart Childerley and three times winner Laurence Mead.

This year’s event saw fourteen Etchells entered, and three youth teams. This is in keeping with Sir Kenneth Preston’s personal aim to support young sailors.

Saturday began with blue skies, warm weather and no wind, which led to an hour postponement to racing. This allowed crews to tweak rigs, sunbathe and have Tiffin’s breakfasts. At midday a sea breeze began to fill in and the Etchells made their way to Hill head race area for some windward leeward courses. Three races were run, which saw competitive racing at all points in the fleet. Particular note should be made of Peter Roger’s team who took the lead in the first race and Grant Simmer’s team who came first in races 2 and 3.

Sunday saw a new band of pressure across the Solent, with brief glimpses of sunshine. The wind direction was similar to Saturday, a westerly, but with a bit more of a kick (average 18 knots). This led to a challenging sea-state of short, sharp chop in the racing area. First place in race 5 went to William McNeil and in race 6 Grant Simmer took the lead. Particularly notable was the performance of Robby Boyd and his youth team in Race five, who had a very clean and quick race and finished in 3rd.

After finally emerging from the salty sea’s, the Etchells sailors made their way to the squadron for the event dinner. It was an excellent evening hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron and a chance for many of the youth teams to integrate into the class.

Monday was the final day of racing in the SKP. The conditions were very glamorous, with blue skies and an average of 15knots, beginning as a NW and swinging round to a Westerly throughout the day. The bigger waves led to lots of surfing downwind and some great action photographs. The fleet had clean starts all day, with the comforting call of ‘line clear’ in both races. The last race of the day saw Jolly Roger winning, proving that you can win the social and then win races.

This weekend was a fantastic glimpse into the racing that is to come for the rest of the season. The Etchells class are very grateful to Peter Saxton (PRO) and his team for running a seamless event.

1st place – Grant Simmer / Graeme Spence / Sam Haines
2nd place – William McNeill/Toby Mumford/Toby Yeabsley (1st Corinthian)
3rd place – Peter Rogers/Neil Harrison/Charlie Cumberley

Full results on YachtScoring.com

Cowes Fleet International Etchells Red Funnel Regatta 4/5 May

The Saturday of the Red Funnel Regatta was cancelled due to some windy weather in the Solent. Particular note should be taken to thank the Royal London Yacht Club Race Committee and those driving ribs, who ventured into The Solent for the whole morning to try their hardest to get racing underway. Racing was cancelled around midday, allowing teams to have pub lunches, walks around the island and shopping trips.

Competitors woke up on Sunday to find beautiful blue skies and a light breeze of 5-10 knots from the North. The first race saw a win from Straight Dealer, Nicholas Stagg and his team. It was also a great start to the day from the Youth teams, with 2nd, 3rd and 4th place going to teams from the Etchells Academy. The second race of the day was comfortably won by Tom Abrey on Jolly Roger, who managed to find some favourable wind out on the right of the course, and attempted to lap the rest of the fleet. By the third race, a big right-shift caused the race committee to move the course. This was a challenging race with lots of difficult East to West tide and the arrival of some jet skiers to the course, who seemingly attempted to team-race Strait Dealer. The last race of the day was changed to the trapezoid layout of course N, owing to the strong tide.

This race saw a very condensed fleet with boats changing positions in every leg. Nonetheless, Exabyte won the race, which secured their win for the event. They were closely followed (1 point after discard) by Ice (Andrew Cooper – Corinthian) in 2nd and Royal Dart (Miles Jones) in 3rd, who were also the first Youth Team.

A special thanks goes to the Race Committee for organising a wonderful weekend in shifty weather.

Full results on YachtScoring.com

Etchells Southern Area Championship

On the weekend of the 13th and 14th April, the Cowes Etchells fleet competed in the Royal Thames Yacht Club’s Southern Area Championships, an excellently run and closely fought over regatta. The race committee perfectly took advantage of the conditions, with an average wind range of 17-24 knots, getting in 3 intense windward leeward courses per day.

Of the 11 boats in the fleet, 3 were youth teams following on from the 2019 Royal London Yacht Club’s Etchells Youth Academy trials. William Bedford’s Royal London team, having won a race, were the first youth team, followed by Robby Boyd’s Royal Lymington team and Ollie Grogono’s Royal Thames team. A further 4 Etchells were crewed by sailors that have previously been involved in the youth programme. Indeed of the 38 competitors on the water, 27 were from our youth academy either sailing a youth boat or crewing for owners. Only one boat had no youths.

With the competition for the event title going down to the very last day, congratulations go out to the winner, Hamish Calder in Exabyte, and runner up David Franks in Strait Dealer. Meanwhile, Charlie Manzoni performed excellently in Ice, emerging first Corinthian. Perhaps the greatest performance, however, was that of the Greig City academy and their sailing without an onboard coach.

Next up is the Royal London Yacht Club’s Spring series regatta on the 27 and 28th April, where two more youth boats – representing the Royal Dart and Oxford University – will be joining the action.

5 teams granted boats after 2019 RLYC Etchells Class Youth Trials

Following 4 open training camps run during February and March 2019, the Royal London Yacht Club ran the trials regatta on the weekend of March 30/31

Saturday’s conditions were difficult allowing only 2 races. However, Sunday was near to perfect with 15 to 17 knots of breeze and sunshine, enabling race officer Jong Long and his team to run a further 5 windward/leeward races

Deserving winners of the regatta were the The Royal Lymington Yacht Club team, led by Robby Boyd (bow/jib trim), Hattie Rogers (helm), Max Crowe (mainsheet/tactics), and Henry Collison (spinnaker trim/ navigation). Max and Hattie are racing Etchells for the first time, whilst both Robby and Henry sailed last year in some events with a youth team

A superb second in the series was the Greig City Academy team 2 albeit with an owner’s representative on board.

This year, the Academy has granted 5 boats. Teams will not only get the use of a fully-funded Etchells for this year’s Cowes racing season, but will also be funded to compete in the Etchells Class Nationals, Europeans and Lendy Cowes Week 2019 The successful teams are:

1. Royal Lymington Yacht Club
2. Greig City Academy
3. Royal Thames Yacht Club
4. The Royal Dart Yacht Club
5. Oxford University Yacht Club

The Etchells Academy has been running for over 9 years and has seen more than of 600 youth sailors participating in the training camps and trials.

The driving force and primary supporter behind the Academy is David Franks, Cowes Class Captain. Other supporters include Cowes Yacht Haven, Red Funnel, the Royal London Yacht Club, Royal Thames Yacht Club, North Sails, Spinlock and several present and past owners in the Cowes Fleet including the Fleet’s Admiral, Ted Fort. The coaching and administration is superbly managed by Solent and Etchells guru David Bedford and Nicky Bedford.

David launched this initiative to encourage young sailors into the class and is rightly credited with keeping the Cowes Etchells Fleet buoyant.

Teams who are granted boats commit to Cowes Class racing calendar for the whole season, and many continue to sail within the class providing excellent crew options for owners.

Some of the sailors who were unsuccessful in this year’s trials have already found crewing positions on other boats.

The dates for the 2020 camps and trials will be announced shortly. We welcome sailors from sailing/yacht clubs, associations and individual team entries.

Sailors need to be between the ages of 18 and 25 (25 or under on January 1st 2020)

Applications should be made to David Bedford: Bedfordd@hotmail.co.uk Any questions, please contact David by email or 0780 8400008

Lawrie Smith 2018 Etchells European Champion

The 2018 Open Etchells European Champion is Lawrie Smith racing Colin (Glandore Harbour YC ) with Gonçalo Ribeiro, Ella Bennett and Pedro Andrade. The 2018 Corinthian European Etchells Champion is a team from the Royal London YC Etchells Youth Academy, skippered by Will Bedford, racing Shamal with Fraser Woodley, Nik Froud, and Henry Collison.

During the eight races, held in a variety of conditions, three teams led during the regatta. Peter Duncan won the first two races, but Lawrie Smith fought back, and was top of the leaderboard after six races. Going into the last race, Ante Razmilovic was leading by a single point, with all three teams vying for the European title.

Lawrie Smith won the 2018 Open Etchells European Champion in the very last race, after strong competition from Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue (YCCS), and American skipper Peter Duncan, racing Mans Best Friend, which were second and third respectively.

On the last run in the final race, Lawrie Smith team came from behind to pass both Swedish Blue and Mans Best Friend to secure the championship by a single point.“Thank you to the Royal London and all of the race management team, we have had great racing,” commented Lawrie Smith, “To all my team well done, and sorry about the last run Ante, he was winning the regatta until then but he didn’t!”

“A high level of competition with top sailors, especially from Peter Duncan and Ante Razmilovic, who pushed us all the way, ” commented Pedro Andrade tactician for Lawrie Smith. “We had a shocker in Race 7, and in Race 8 we didn’t have a good start, so it wasn’t looking good. On the last run, we decided to stay on the starboard gybe, and the competition gybed away from us. The wind was dropping, and we saw a bit of a pressure from the left with a favourable shift. We were patient, held our nerve, and it did pay. We managed to sail around them, after rounding the bottom gate, we were with the tide and pulled away for the beat to the finish.”

Will Bedford’s team have all come through the Royal London YC Etchells Youth Academy, and in a strong field of experienced Etchells sailors, topped the Corinthian ranking for the 2018 Etchells European Championship. “The Royal London Etchells Youth Academy is a great programme and you are sailing against great people, and we are privileged to be here.” commented Will Bedford.

Runner up in the Corinthian Class was Rob Goddard’s Stampede (RYA/CCYC) and in third place was Maarten Jamin’s El Toro (WSV Hoorn).

Congratulations should go to all the teams who made the podium in a highly competitive fleet, including Chris Hampton (Royal Brighton Yacht Club) who scored a 6-1-2 on the last day to take fourth in the Open Division. Also making the podium: Marci Pocci (Royal Hong Kong YC), Graham Sunderland (Royal London YC), Peter Rogers (Royal Lymington YC), and Shaun Frohlich (Royal Southern YC).

For more information including the full reults: yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=6018

Follow the Cowes Etchells Fleet Facebook page: facebook.com/groups/etchellscowes

Open Etchells European Championship 24 – 27 August, 2017

Organised by the Royal London Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Cowes Etchells Fleet.

Nineteen teams representing nine yacht clubs from around the world will compete at the 2018 Etchells European Championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club in conjunction with the Cowes Etchells Fleet. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, 24-27 August, up to eight races are scheduled in the Central Solent to decide the Open and Corinthian 2018 Etchells European champions.

Outstanding performers from the 2018 British Etchells Championship will be in action including the open winner, Lawrie Smith with Alfie (Glandore Harbour YC), and the Corinthian Champion Ante Razmilovic with Swedish Blue (YCCS). Runner-up and third place for the 2018 British Championship will also be racing, Marco Pocci with Les Freaks Sont Chics/Bon Vivant (Royal Hong Kong YC) and Peter Rogers with Highlife (Royal London YC). American skipper, Peter Duncan will be in action with Mans Best Friend, and 2011 and 2012 Etchells European Champion, Shaun Frohlich with Exabyte 5 (Royal Southern YC). Cowes local Graham Sunderland will be driving Strait Dealer (Royal London YC), and from Australia Chris Hampton will be in action with Tango (Royal Brighton YC).

Four youth teams, which have all learnt their skills through the Royal London Etchells Youth Academy will be in action. Ellie Cumpsty will skipper an all-women team racing Mano, William Bedford will skipper Shamal , Ted Blowers will be racing Sumo, and Andrew Wishart will be racing Ziggy.

Racing for the 2018 Open Etchells European Championship is scheduled to start at noon Friday 24th August, and conclude on Monday 27th August with a Prize Giving at Cowes Yacht Haven after racing.

For more information including the entry list:

Follow the 2018 Etchells European Championship from the Cowes Etchells Fleet Facebook page:

The Etchells Gertrude Cup 2018, run by the Royal Thames Yacht Club

The Etchells Gertrude Cup was 4 days of intense racing with 12 races scheduled and, despite the predominantly high pressure sitting over the UK, was successfully completed. By the final day, 4 boats were in contention for overall victory.

Initially the regatta was reliant on sea breezes to get the racing under way, and somehow PRO Phil Hagan seemed to predict its arrival with remarkable accuracy, arranging for the fleet to be towed to the race course with no breeze in the Solent, only for it to arrive as the fleet did.

Day 1, in breezes of never more than 12 kts, saw the Royal London’s Mark Lees win the leader’s Red Spinnaker. Lees used the strong ebb on the left-hand side of the course to good advantage with a first and a third in the 2-race day. However, the day wasn’t without incident as the strong ebb tide for one race changed the spreader mark into the windward mark, and only race leader Mark Lees spotted this resulting, as the fleet tried to pinch up to the “new” mark, in 3 boats ended up having to do penalty turns.

Day 2, after visiting yachtsman Pat Voss from the Royal Perth Yacht club easily won the first race, things didn’t go his way and it was the combined GBR/USA team skippered by Ted Blowers who won the Boat of the Day. The team’s wind calls and precise gybing saw Blowers move through the pack to give them 3 podium positions out of the days 4 races. Unfortunately, this was not enough to give Blowers the coveted Red Spinnaker, as Lees had achieved consistently good results in all 4 races

Day 3 saw the visiting USA youth team win their second race of the series, but the day’s stars were the Greig City Academy team helmed by Montel Fagan-Jordan, who scored 2 firsts and a second. Their 2nd first included a man overboard recovery, as just after rounding the bottom gate in first place one of the crew hiked too hard, and it was only the quick response of tactician Matt Reid pulling him in as he passed the stern of the boat that meant they only lost 2 places, but on the down-wind leg recovered their first place to win by less than half a boat length. The Series leader suffered gear failure but, with 2 discards now in place after 10 races, were able to maintain the leader’s Red Spinnaker into the last day.

Day 4 – final day – saw at last a true gradient breeze and conditions more akin to the Solent – a South Westerly at 12 Kts that slowly built to 18 Its, variable cloud cover giving good wind shifts – a race officer’s nightmare, yet Phil Hagen still managed to put on 3 fair races in the now more challenging conditions as the seas started to build. 4 teams could potentially win the event, but Lees needed a bad day to throw it away, and that he nearly did, but such was the overall quality and competitive nature of the fleet that none of the contenders could maintain 3 good race results together. Without doubt though, the top boat of the day was Annabelle Vose’s all-girl crew from the Royal Southern Yacht Club who scored only 9 points from the day’s 3 races with 2 podium positions.

Overall winner was helm Mark Lees’ Royal London’s team skippered by Will Bedford, ahead of USA Youth team Blue, Sean Cornell. Cornell won the Youth’s and Corinthian Trophy, a prize he was delighted to take back to the States. Lees said in his acceptance speech that teams coming to Cowes from around the world make this a special event, both on and off the water.

A Truly Golden Experience

Ainslie / Simmer and Scott racing Etchells in the Solent.

One of the great things about sailing is the old adage that you get to play on the same course as Tiger Woods. It’s an idea which most of us are aware of, the dream of getting on the course with the best. But unlike golf, in sailing it it really is true, as the Solent Etchells fleet will find out on June 23rd and 24th when one of the greatest collections of gold medals and Americas cup wins in history will settle themselves in an Etchells and do battle with the weekend warriors for the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Sir Kenneth Preston trophy.

Among the fleet there have been a fair few boats called The Trio based on the fact that it was traditionally a three-man boat (now sailed by a lot of smaller crews 4-up) but it is hard to imagine a more successful trio than Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott and Grant Simmer who will make up this trio. Between them they have five Olympic Gold medals, one Silver, five Americas cup wins as either sailor or design coordinator and an astonishing eight Finn World Championships

The Trio will line up in perhaps the Solent’s most competitive one-design class, although it should be noted that Ainslie and Simmer have both finished on the podium at previous Etchells world Championships so it’s not exactly all new to them.

For details on how to join the fleet or for charter options for Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy contact David Franks davidfranks80@gmail.com +44 7768 063868

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.

Race two was away quickly with the Lawrie Smith juggernaut starting to get rolling and taking the bullet. Ante Razmilovic (Brian Hammersley, Andrew Mills) who are always at the front of this fleet took second while Andy Beadsworth (Marco Pocci / Ben Cornish) was 3rd.

After an OCS in race 1 visiting Aussies Iain Murray / Grant Simmer (now resident in the UK as General Manager for the now renamed Ben Ainslie / Ineos Team UK America’s Cup team) and Steve “Mothie” Jarvin took 4th.

At this stage it was anyone’s game but with two more races held on the first day due to light wind forecasts for later in the weekend the complexion of the regatta changed in the following 3 hours. Andy Beadsworth and Lawrie Smith locked up the front row in both races. Beadsworth took both, Smith second in both and they put themselves a few boat lengths ahead of the fleet in the big picture.

Nobody else even got close. Iain Murray had a couple of 4’s, Razmilovic had a three and a black flag disqualification, current J70 world champion Peter Duncan had a 5 and a BFD (his second of the weekend!) while Shaun Fröhlich who has won this title before added two 13ths onto his earlier 5th place to fall out of contention.

Worthy of mention at this stage of the regatta however was the RLYC Youth academy team of Owen Bowerman / Morgan Peach / Charlotte Hooper and Matt Whitfield who had a score line that read consistently well with 9, 6, 9 before they too fell victim to the black flag in race 4.

While Saturdays NW breeze had built all day so that by the end of race 4 it was blowing 16 to 18 knots, Sunday dawned very light and the forecast for Monday was also looking very tricky for racing.

After a long delay the fleet set off for the Bramble Bank in a soft 5 to 7 knot SW for what the Royal London YC PRO Gill Smith hoped might be two races. The dominant factor however was the tide, which was a building flood from the west making for long beats. The first race (under a black flag which had done for Razmilovic who had his second of the regatta) saw a massive split with half the boats clearly wanting the right (and being willing to start late at the committee boat and tack to get there) while the other half started further left and seemed content to search for better breeze, ignoring the theoretically stronger adverse tide to the left. In the end the left won out big time with all the leaders coming from that side. No one seemed to know if there was more wind that side or if perhaps the tide hadn’t perhaps turned on the left quite yet. There may have been a bit of positive ebb tide still on the left. Beadsworth and Smith were amongst this group. The back markers were saved however by the building tide which picked up the spreader mark and swept it off towards Portsmouth to the extent the PRO Smith had to abandon the race.

With the clock running down fast another start was run and the debate was again, go left or go right. Most of the same people made the same decisions and more or less the left won again. But not by as much, and with the windward mark on the move this time rather than the spreader mark carnage broke out at the top mark when it became clear that you couldn’t lay the spreader from the windward mark without another tack!! This really shook up the fleet.

Beadsworth was top 3 but Smith was buried until this point. Your correspondent can’t recall all of the shenanigans but Smith did get up to 5th as a result. Beadsworth was still in the virtual lead overall and held that down the run. With the left having worked every beat so far most boats took the right hand gate (looking downwind) and looked to protect that side. But the tide had only been building across the course so this was starting to be higher risk.

Smith split and went right up the beat along with Murray Chapples (crewed by his 10 year old son Zac !) who had gone right every beat. They rounded 5th and 6th and with every passing moment the boats on the left – now on port and trying to get back to the middle – were bow down and looked in trouble. Beadsworth was first to spot the danger (but apparently didn’t know that Smith was the boat in the far right hand corner) so he tacked over and headed right but the further he came back to the middle the worse the situation looked as it became clear to him that his only competition for the title was the boat now on starboard with a right-hand puff crossing everybody. Having had the championship in his grasp the fleet headed up the last beat with the right looking better and better.

Luckily for the group on the left there weren’t many boats to the right so other than Smith and Chapples who moved up, the order didn’t change too much, although the fleet did compress and Beadsworth saw the title ripped from his grasp.

So ended a very high scoring regatta with only the first two boats able to show any consistency. In fact only three boats in the whole fleet managed to stay in single figures all regatta.

Lawrie Smith is the 2018 British Etchells National Champion, just reward for his hard work over the past couple of years since joining fleet and another title on the CV of one of Britain’s top boat racers while Ante Razmilovic took the Corinthian title. — Written by Laurence Mead