Big breeze arrived at the 2016 Etchells World Championship today; fully powered up, punching through Solent chop upwind off Cowes, Isle of Wight, and hard sailing down wind, several teams experienced gear failure.
The conditions were unexpected, 25 knots of solid breeze with squalls, sending the wind speed past 30 knots.
Race six was completed, guaranteeing a series for the regatta, and bringing a discard race into play. Argyle Campbell, representing the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, (USA), won today’s only race. Andy Beadsworth, representing Warsash Sailing Club (GBR), was second and reigning Etchells World Champion, Skip Dieball, representing North Cape YC (USA), was third.
John Bertrand representing the Royal Brighton Yacht Club (AUS), extended his overall lead at the top of the fleet, scoring a sixth today and discarding a 22nd. Steve Benjamin’s team suffered damage to their main sheet system before the start, which they repaired, but the knock-on effect was a rushed pre-start, and a 20th place dropped the team to third overall. Irish born Australian, Noel Drennan, scored a fifth place to steal past Benjamin by a single point. Drennan has competed in the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, and 30 Sydney Hobart’s. This is Noel ‘Nitro’ Drennan’s 18th Etchells World Championship.
“John (Bertrand) has got quite a big lead and Steve Benjamin and Chris Hamilton are close behind us, so there is still plenty of racing to come.” commented Noel Drennan. “It looks like it will be windy again tomorrow, and things can happen. We will try to start well and try not to do anything stupid.”
Today’s race winner was Argyle Campbell, representing the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, (USA). His team of Tom Forrester-Coles, Kelvin Matthews and Victor Diaz de Leon, were racing Rock N’ Roll, an apt name for today’s conditions. “We have been in Cowes a while, training in high winds, so we were used to the conditions today and had worked out a good set up for the boat.” commented Argyle Campbell. “We decided to keep the tactics simple and minimise manoeuvres. We banged hard left and it worked pretty well. We had a good lead at the top mark but Andy Beadsworth was really fast and closing on us all the time. I didn’t have much time to look around today, it was hard enough keeping the boat in the water upwind and from under the water downwind! But today was a much better view!”
In the Corinthian Class, The General, skippered by James Badenach, has taken charge. His team from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club; Christian Thompson, Elliot Hanson and Martin Wrigley, smoked the Corinthian fleet today, and dropped a big discard, to take the lead by 17 points. Over night leader, Martin Webster, representing the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, retired from today’s race, putting the team into third position. Thomas Brennan’s team, representing the Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR) remains in second position.
“We got disqualified yesterday, which put a bit of a spanner in the works.” admitted james Badenach. “We have been looking to make the top 15 to the first mark but for the last three races, we need to step it up a bit and maybe take a few more risks.”
With the discard rule kicking in, several teams have broken into the top ten. Lawrie Smith (GBR) representing the Glandore Yacht Club, sailing with Joost Houweling and Tim Tavinor move up to sixth place. Past Etchells World Champion, Andy Beadsworth (GBR), sailing with Grant Simmer and Steve Jarvin, occupy seventh position. Scott Kaufman (USA), racing with Jesse Kirkland, Lucas Calabrase and Austen Andersen, have scored a bullet and a 15th in their last two races to move up to eighth overall.
Racing for the 2016 Etchells World Championship continues on Friday 9th September.
For full results click here
by Louay Habib