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.
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.
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.
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
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.