Sunday 4th September Cowes, UK - 250 guests attended the Etchells World Championship Gala Reception, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. The Medina Marching Band opened proceedings, and Regatta Director, David Franks, welcomed the sailors to the regatta. As the flags of the 11 nations taking part were raised on Trinity Landing, the international gathering cheered everyone. 58 teams will battle it out in the Solent over the next six days, amongst them are the glitterati from the world of sailing, as well as passionate corinthian sailors.
A closer look at the fleet reveals immense quality in depth, 14 past and present Etchells World Champions are just the tip of the iceberg. From dinghy to Maxi World Champions, arguably the coolest collection of sailors, anywhere in the world, has gathered in Cowes. 20 Olympians, with four gold and three bronze medals between them, as well as World Champions from 24 different classes and America's Cup competitors and winners.
World class sailors include, Skip Dieball (USA), Jon McClean (USA) and Jeff Eiber (USA): 2015 Etchells World Champions. John Bertrand (AUS): America's Cup winning skipper, Etchells World Champion and Olympic medallist. Malcolm Page (AUS): two-time Olympic gold medallist and six-time 470 World Champion. Steve Benjamin (USA): Olympic silver medallist, Fireball, 505 and Maxi World Champion. Luis Doreste (ESP): Five time Olympian and two-time gold medallist. Lawrie Smith (GBR): Round the world legend, two-time Olympic bronze medallist and Dragon World Champion. Ian Dobson (GBR): Five time GP14 World Champion and Chris Larson (USA): Melges 24, J/22, J/24, Mumm 36, Swan 45 and Maxi World Champion...and those are just the highlights.
Four World Champion yachtswomen will be competing: World Champion Match Racing and Olympic sisters, Lucy and Kate McGregor (GBR), 420 & J/111 World Champion Annabel Vose (GBR) and Stephanie Roble (USA) Etchells World Champion and 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.
“This is my Zen, it's like meditation.” commented John Bertrand, the man who wrestled the America's Cup from a fellow Etchells World Champion, Dennis Connor. “Everything else just gets stripped away at the Etchells Worlds, and we are all back to just pure sailing. Some other areas of the sport are full of politics but not here, which is why it is so popular with so many different sailors. The Etchells Class is probably the most competitive one-design class going, one mistake and you get spat out the back, and nobody is going to apologise. Ashore after racing the spirit is just fantastic.”
Racing at the 2016 Etchells World Championship will be held from Monday 5th to Saturday 10th September, with multiple windward -leeward racing in the Central Solent. Six races will constitute a series and the overall winner will receive the antique silver Founders Trophy, and join a list of impressive Etchells World Championship winners.
The 2016 Etchells World Championship media team will deliver live updates including GPS Tracking, as well as daily results, news stories, interviews, videos and pictures. www.2016.etchellsworlds.org