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.
Melbourne and Royal Thames Academy youths share the lead.
On a slightly damp and overcast Monday in Cowes the Etchells Invitational Regatta for the Gertrude Cup continued with four races held in 6 to 16 knots of breeze which started out at 320 degrees going left to 240 over the course of the day. Only one race had a significant shift in it however with the rest providing plenty of small shifts and opportunity for losing and gaining places.
Stars of the show were Chris Hampton from the Royal Brighton yacht club in Melbourne and Abu Dhabi based Australian sailor Jan Muysken. For Hampton the name of the game was consistency posting 2 3 6 3 to leap to the top of the leaderboard. For Muysken the glory was in winning two of the four races which on a day of difficult tactical racing was no mean feat. Muysken moves up to 5th overall. Yesterday's report made mention of Tim Grattan and have his youth team representing the Royal Thames Yacht Club Academy and they continued on today sailing extremely well at the front of the fleet and they are now tied for the lead on 20 points having scored a 3 6 2 4 today.
Day 1: It was a classic day on the Solent on Sunday, July 31 as the Cowes Etchells fleet invitational event for the Royal Thames Yacht Club's Gertrude cup got underway. This event which provides equally matched actuals to competitors from around the world is based loosely on the New York yacht club invitational event and as such each competitor is given a set of North sales which are all matched and they rotate boats each day to ensure fairness in equipment. This, combined with the incredible one design racing in the Etchells fleet led to last years event seeing three teams tied for the lead after 11 races, all being split by a tiebreak.
After the first three races, one of those teams led by Tom Carruthers from San Diego yacht club holds a two point lead over Seamus McHugh from Geneva with the Royal Thames yacht club's own youth Academy sailor Tim Gratton holding third. Carruthers is preparing for the Etchells world championship in Cowes in September and had a very strong score line of 2, 3, 6.
For over 30 years the International Etchells Fleet has been the world’s leading international one-design keelboat outside of the Olympic classes. Predominantly owner-driven by enthusiastic and loyal supporters of the class association, the fleet has strict one-design credentials and an annual six sail limit thereby making it a cost effective but highly competitive class.
The Etchells is a fast sleek stable racing sloop which can be sailed competitively by 3 or 4 average sailors. It can tack through 70 degrees and its low wetted surface hull keeps moving in the slightest breeze in 20 plus knots it absolutely flies. It is trailerable and easy to maintain and light enough to dry sail. The annual World Championship (Sydney 2012 - Italy 2013 - New York YC 2014 and Hong Kong 2015) is a showcase for international talent from fifty fleets worldwide.
1400 boats have been built and the rules ensure that older boats remain competitive allowing newcomers to join with a modest investment. Family teams, young talent, sailing greats (such as Dennis Conner, John Bertrand and Russell Coutts) and Saturday afternoon club sailors all enjoy racing in the boat, 30 feet of pure sailing machine, which planes downwind when it’s windy and slips along in the light.
The Etchells is an exciting, friendly class to join with some of the most competitive racing available. If you would like to join an Etchells fleet in the UK, please download the membership form. If you would like more information, please go to our CONTACT page and ask away - members always want to help