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.
“We haven't done much practice so far for the worlds, so we are very happy with the results today.” commented Andrew Wills. “Our speed is good but we are not taking anything for granted. To be honest, we got lucky with the shifts today. We have sailed together for over ten years, so spending ten hours on a boat together is not a problem. We hope we can continue the good form tomorrow.”
The top Corinthian crew today was Luder, from the Royal Ocean Racing Club, skippered by the club's CEO Eddie Warden Owen. Olympic medallist Ossie Stewart and double Finn World Masters Champion, John Greenwood, make up the crew.
“The race team did a very good job today; getting in three decent races was extremely difficult.” commented Eddie Warden Owen. “We are still learning how to sail the boat, but today we had good speed and we got off the line. To do well in this fleet, we will have to consistently perform at that level.”
Ante Razmilovic's Swedish Blue, representing the Yacht Club Costa Esmeralda, finished the day second, three points behind Feng Shui. Chris Hampton's Tango, representing the Royal Brighton Yacht Club Victoria AUS, finished the day in third. Steve Benjamin's team from the Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, Connecticut USA was fourth. There were race wins today for Jim Cunningham's Lifted from San Francisco USA and Andy Beadsworth's K2 from Warsash SC UK.
Racing for the 2016 Etchells Open European Championship concludes tomorrow. One more race will constitute a series, two more will see the discard kick in. Live Tracking and social media coverage from 1400 local time (GMT+1).
For more information: www.2016.etchellsworlds.org