The International Etchells European Championship 2019
The International Etchells European Championship was hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club and took place over three days on the Solent. 17 boats entered including 4 youth boats and 7 Corinthian boats.
3 races took place on both Friday and Saturday in generally light to medium conditions from the North West; sea-state was determined by the tide with chop decreasing throughout the day. Boats scoring low points generally started well; managed the shifts (±25 degrees) and the leverage that brought against the fleet. Results in the middle of the fleet were very sporadic and even after 6 races (and 1 discard) 5 points separated 4th to 9th place, with the rest of the fleet close behind.
A particularly impressive Saturday was had by Ante Razmilovic’s Swedish Blue, winning all three races in less than stable conditions. The term Ante-Christ was used a number of times at the pub that night.
Despite this impressive performance everything was to play for on the final day that saw light and fickle wind from the East. 1st and 2nd was fought-out exclusively by Swedish Blue and Seamus McHugh’s K2. K2, the only continental boat (SUI 1406) in the fleet, managed to beat Swedish Blue (12-14 respectively) closely match racing on Sunday. Whilst Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte secured 3rd after putting 4 boats between him and Rob Goddard’s Rocketman (who took 1st Corinthian) in the final race. Miles Jones jumped up past Hattie Roger’s Royal Lymington boat and Thea Crawshaw’s Royal Thames boat after a strong finish on Sunday and taking 1st youth boat overall.
The way the results are calculated in yacht fleet racing can lead to some interesting scenarios and the 2019 Etchells European Championship was a good example. After 6 races, with 5 to count, McHugh (K2) and Ante Razmilovic (Swedish Blue) each had 20 points. McHugh’s discard was a seventh place whereas Ante’s was a whopping 18. This meant that if McHugh scored eighth or worse in his last race, his score after discard would always be set at 27. So if Ante came eighth or worse, even though he might have been well ahead of McHugh, McHugh would be crowned European Champion. The only way Ante could win was to not only beat McHugh, but not have a position worse than 7. In the event they match raced each other in this all-important final race, and Ante came fourteenth leaving McHugh to claim the championship cup.
A huge thank you must go to the race committee that did very well to manage the racing despite the variable wind direction, and to the various owners and Jan who provided the beer, ice-cream and cake.
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.