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For the first day of the 2016 Etchells Open European Championship, Principal Race Officer, Phil Lawrence, prophesied that it might be a long day and he was spot on writes Louay Habib. Malahide YC's Bedrock skippered by Richard Burrows is 24th from 50 and fourth in the Corinthian fleet. Jay Bourke's Doris from Dun Laoghaire is 35th. Royal Cork's Mark Mansfield sailing on Andrew Cooper's Ice is lying 38th. Results are here.

The wind behaved worse than a wayward child, refusing to settle down until mid-afternoon. Once the wind settled into the northwest, three good races were held in the Central Solent. However, it wasn't until sundown that the fleet returned to Cowes Yacht Haven.

“With a forecast for less wind tomorrow, we knew we had to get the races in today, and that was a difficult task.” commented Phil Lawrence. “Once we got going, the wind was still shifting around, but at least we had a peak of 15 knots - the mark layers had a tough day of it today. With the forecast conditions tomorrow, we have amended the schedule to start after 2 p.m. Hopefully, we will get at least one race in to make the series.”

The top Etchells team today was Feng Shui, from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Auckland, NZ. Helmed by Andrew Wills and owned by Anatole Masfen, Matthew Kelway completes the line up. The team has won several New Zealand National Titles and Wills was on Jud Smith's winning team for the 2006 Etchells Worlds.

“We haven't done much practice so far for the worlds, so we are very happy with the results today.” commented Andrew Wills. “Our speed is good but we are not taking anything for granted. To be honest, we got lucky with the shifts today. We have sailed together for over ten years, so spending ten hours on a boat together is not a problem. We hope we can continue the good form tomorrow.”

The top Corinthian crew today was Luder, from the Royal Ocean Racing Club, skippered by the club's CEO Eddie Warden Owen. Olympic medallist Ossie Stewart and double Finn World Masters Champion, John Greenwood, make up the crew.

“The race team did a very good job today; getting in three decent races was extremely difficult.” commented Eddie Warden Owen. “We are still learning how to sail the boat, but today we had good speed and we got off the line. To do well in this fleet, we will have to consistently perform at that level.”

Ante Razmilovic's Swedish Blue, representing the Yacht Club Costa Esmeralda, finished the day second, three points behind Feng Shui. Chris Hampton's Tango, representing the Royal Brighton Yacht Club Victoria AUS, finished the day in third. Steve Benjamin's team from the Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, Connecticut USA was fourth. There were race wins today for Jim Cunningham's Lifted from San Francisco USA and Andy Beadsworth's K2 from Warsash SC UK.

Racing for the 2016 Etchells Open European Championship concludes tomorrow. One more race will constitute a series, two more will see the discard kick in.

Published in Etchells
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Ireland will be well represented across the fleet at the Etchells European Championships that starts in Cowes today.

The Etchells 22 Class is, by many, regarded as one of the most competitive one design keelboat classes left now that there is no longer an Olympic Keelboat class.

The 2016 Worlds are scheduled for Cowes, Isle of Wight from the 5th to the 12th of Sept and will have 61 top level entries. Prior to that, in the same venue, will be the Etchells 22 European Championships, over today and tomorrow, which will is an unofficial warm–up event for the worlds.

Irish Interest in these events will be Malahide Yacht Club's Richard Burrows who is sailing Bedrock, with his daughter Samantha and local top sailor James Downer from Cowes. Royal Cork Yacht Club's Mark Mansfield, a four times Olympian in the Star Class, fresh from Success at the Irish IRC champs, Round Ireland Race, and European IRC Champs will sail as tactician on Andrew Coopers’ Ice. Mansfield has already Competed in the Quarter Ton Worlds in Cowes this year where he finished sixth and a fortnight ago won Cowes week in the Etchells 22 class aboard Coopers’ Ice.

Also racing in Cowes is Doris, skippered by Jay Bourke of Dun Laoghaire. Paddy Dillon (ex–Mermaid National Champion), Ruairi Grimes (third at recent J111 Worlds), Cathal Leigh Doyle (a former UCD Student Worlds Champion) and Morgan Reeser (American 470 Olympian married to 1996 Olympian Louise Cole) are also competing. Maurice O'Connell is coaching USA 1000 and USA 1404.

The Etchells Class is the choice of Many top Americas Cup and Olympic sailors and some top sailors competing this year include John Bertrand, Lawrie Smith, Steve Benjamin, Andy Beadsworth, Ante Razmiloviz, Chris Larson, Jud Smith, Jeff Madrigal, Luis Dopreste.

Reigning Champion is Skip Diebal from the USA and he will have his work cut out for him with such a competitive fleet, the majority of whom come from the USA, UK, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Published in Etchells

Howth's Bedrock skippered by Richard Burrows was the sole Irish Etchells competing at a star studded Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy fleet at the Royal Yacht Squadron at the weekend. The HYC boat finished 19th from 28 in a fleet that included former Volvo Round the World racer Lawrie Smith. The regatta attracted one of the largest fleets of Etchells seen in the Solent for many years. Bolstered by the forthcoming 2016 Etchells World Championship, to be held in the Solent 31 August – 10 September. 

The Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy was first competed for in 1995, after Sir Kenneth Preston, who had led the British sailing team in the 1960 Olympics, presented it to the Royal Yacht Squadron shortly prior to his death. Sir Kenneth wished that the trophy be competed for by a deserving one design fleet that had the spirit of one design and involves young sailors. It is a feather in the cap for the Cowes Etchells fleet to have retained it for so many years.

28 teams with sailors from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong and the United States of America, raced for the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy. Three Royal London Etchells Youth Academy Teams took part, skippered by Anna Watkins, Owen Bannerman and Martin Evans.

The eight race programme over three days produced thrilling racing, with 11 teams achieving podium results. Peter Duncan was the winner of the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy, Ante Razmilovic was second with Lawrie Smith third.

Commodore of the America Yacht Club, Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell have campaigned Etchells for many years with top finishes including second, third, fourth, and fifth in world championships. Both grew up sailing in the JAYC (Junior American Yacht Club) program. Jud Smith, a Sonar, Mumm30 and Etchells World Champion, has been sailing with the team since 2013.

“We found the racing very tight with a solid mix of local and visitors trying to get ready for the Worlds.” commented Peter Duncan. “Throughout the regatta we had a lot of boats arriving at the weather mark together and there were some exciting leeward gate roundings. Cowes is a very interesting place to sail, as you not only have to be on your toes for shifts in the breeze, the current has to minded at all times. We saw a bit of everything this past weekend, which made it a great warm up event to the Worlds. In 2007 and since, we have not sailed in the breeze direction we had on Saturday so that was good to experience.

Our stay as always in Cowes was wonderful as there are so many fun places to go. The Royal Yacht Squadron did an outstanding job running the races in the varied conditions and especially setting up the starting lines. As always, David Franks and team did a wonderful job on the social side of the event with the dinner event at RYS being awesome. Not too many of us from overseas have ever been there so what a treat.”

David Franks, Cowes Etchells fleet captain. "We have been delighted that the interest in the Cowes Etchells Fleet continues to grow."
David Franks, the Cowes Etchells fleet captain commented: "We have been delighted that the interest in the Cowes Etchells Fleet continues to grow with record numbers competing for the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy. This is the 22nd year that this Trophy has been awarded by the Royal Yacht Squadron; they ran eight excellent races and provided a superb supper on the Platform in the Castle for 94 competitors and their guests. Wonderful racing; wonderful food."

The Saida Cup 11-12 June, organised by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, is the next event in a busy season for the Cowes Etchells Fleet. The Etchells UK National Championship, organised by the Royal London Yacht Club, from 24-26 June, is an Etchells World Championship qualifying event.

Full results of the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy are downloadable below.

Published in Etchells

This one design keelboat fleet may be disappearing from Irish shores but an Irish presence at the Etchells World Championships remains with at least three Irish boats competing in Hong Kong over the past week. Richard and Samantha Burrows and James Downer, flew the flag for Howth Yacht Club in 27th place overall with ex-pat Jamie McWilliam, now based in Hong Kong, and sailing with Patrick Pender and Gareth Flannigan in 16th overall. Also racing was Irish-born Noel Drennan who has extensive big boat experience on boats such as BMW Oracle finished ninth.

Going into the final day of the Championships American yacht Aretas held a five point lead over compatriot Scimitar, with a gaggle of boats in prime position to step up on the podium in third place.

The Race management team was on the course an hour earlier than usual, with PRO Kevin Wilson finding 8 to 10kts ENE and "no sheep in the paddock" on perhaps the flattest race course to date.

In a nail biting finish on the final beat, in spite of Scimitar taking their third bullet of the series after leading all the way, Aretas made up a further two places to finish fourth with celebrations on board as McClean, Skip Dieball and Jeff Eiber crossed the line as 2015 Etchells World Champions.

Final top ten:

1. Aretas, Skip Dieball / Jon McClean / Jeff Eiber, USA, 27 points
2. SCIMITAR, Steve Benjamin / George Peet / Luke Lawrence / Meihan Cheung, USA, 29
3. Magpie , Graeme Taylor / Grant Simmer / Steve Jarvin, AUS, 50
4. PHAN, Jeremy Thorp / Stuart Childerley / Mark Andrews, GBR, 50
5. The Martian, Marvin Beckmann / Steve Hunt / Danielle Septembre / Stephanie Roble, USA, 55
6. Swedish Blue, Ante Razmilovic / Stuart Flinn / Chris Larson, GBR, 57
7. Gen XY, Matthew Chew / Brian Donovan / Ashley Deeks / Alex Gough, AUS, 59
8. 1375, Argyle Campbell / Michael Menninger / Nick Martin / Victor Diaz de Leon, AUS, 62
9. Baby Doll, Noel Drennan / Richard Allanson / Michael O'Brien , AUS, 77
10. The HORN , Dirk Kneulman / Anatole Masfen / Andrew Wills, NZL, 79

Published in Etchells
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#etchells – Consistency is king and Bill Hardesty and crew of Stephanie Roble, Taylor Canfield and Marcus Eagan have earned the 2014 Etchells World Championship by sticking to a steady plan for success. Ireland's title bid, that included an eighth place in race three, was cut short after the sole Irish entry in the 90–boat fleet. Howth's Burrows family, sailing Bedrock, only completed the first five of the nine race series in New York. Full results here.

Hardesty's plan was formulated 6 months ago, when he put together his young team consisting of Match Race World Champion Taylor Canfield and top women's match racer Stephanie Roble—25-year-olds eager to dedicate themselves to a worthy goal. Add in top trimmer Marcus Eagan and the team was complete.

After a tough series in Miami last winter, Hardesty made the decision to train in his home waters of San Diego where he had top talent and similar conditions to the worlds venue in Newport. "Tom Carruthers, Vince Brun and Bruce Nelson helped us up our game through sail testing and boat tuning," Hardesty said. But they didn't focus solely on boat speed. "We worked on evaluating risk management to make good decisions, define it, buy into it and follow through; that all came together at this regatta and helped with our consistency."

Hardesty further commented that having three elite match racers on board "gave us an advantage at the start through our time and distance timing and laylines, which made starting easier and more comfortable. We only had one bad start, that was the race we finished 20th."

Commenting on his third Etchells World title, Hardesty said: "This was one of the toughest to win; the level of sailing was at its highest. But it's very exciting. I love the class, I love the boat."

Winning the last race was Peter Duncan, who had local ties. "We didn't sail a particularly great series," said Duncan. "Our expectations were certainly higher, so this was great to end on a high note, which is better than the alternative." Duncan's crew included former world champion Jud Smith and Thomas Blackwell.

Ante Razmilovic, Chris Larson and Stuart Flinn finished second overall, with 2013 world champion Marvin Beckman, Steve Hunt and Ezra Culver in third.

Competitors will look forward to the 2015 Etchells Worlds which will be held in Hong Kong, hosted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, November 1 to 7, 2015.


Final Top-10 Results

Place, Sail Number, Boat Name, Skipper, Hometown, Race 1, Race 2, Race 3, Race 4, Race 5, Race 6, Race 7, Race 8, Race 9, Total (not including worst score)
1. USA 979, Line Honors, Bill Hardesty, San Diego, 2-2-20-1-4-5-13-15-96/DNC 62.0
2. HKG 1333, Swedish Blue, Ante Razmilovic, London, U.K., 3-6-8-44-14-19-3-31-13 97.0
3, USA 1378, The Martian, Marvin Beckmann, Houston, 8-3-11-5-15-46-32-7-19 100.0
4. USA 1308, KGB, Senet Bischoff & Ben Kinney, Larchmont, N.Y. 10-20-25-52-1-31-2-9-15 113.0
5. USA 1372, Aretas, Skip Dieball, Beaver Dam, Wis., 38-13-4-19-7-17-1-61-23 122.0
6. CAN 1396, Hank Lammens, Norwalk, Conn., 1-8-1-12-16-7-47-49-42 134.0
7. AUS 1383, Triad, John Bertrand, South Yarra, Australia, 4-10-5-28-27-23-53-43-2 142.0
8. USA 1376, Arethusa, Phil Lotz, Newport, R.I., 9-18-6-96/BFD-52-9-12-37-8 151.0
9. USA 1137, La Tormenta, Shannon Bush, Refugio, Texas, 26-16-31-37-6-21-6-16-66 159.0
10. USA 1404, Lifted, Jim Cunningham, San Francisco, 42-4-32-40-50-3-4-25-10 160.0

Published in Etchells

#etchells – An eighth scored in race four of the Etchells World Championships has moved sole Irish boat, Bedrock sailed by Richard, David and Samantha Burrows, up to 27th overall in New York. Overall results are here

Bill Hardesty's resilience has brought him and his crew of Taylor Canfield, Stephanie Roble and Marcus Eagan to the top of the leader board despite a heavy downpour and fluky winds on the third day of the 2014 Etchells Worlds, hosted by the New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court in association with Sail Newport.

After a two-hour postponement on shore followed by another two hours on the water, storm clouds gathered, the wind velocity increased and the wind direction settled down enough to allow Race 5 to start. Shortly after that, the rain began, so forceful at times the weather mark was obscured. Those who sailed to the right, toward the squall, faired better and rounded the weather mark in the lead, albeit a bit wetter for their efforts. The wind shifted left throughout the race dropping slightly in velocity. Senet Bischoff and Ben Kinney won Race 5 by a healthy margin with Hardesty finishing fourth, giving him a 9-point lead over Hank Lammens, who finished 16th in today's race. Marvin Beckman sits in third overall followed by John Bertrand in fourth and Ante Razmilovic rounding out the top 5.

Today's start time has by moved up one hour tomorrow to maximize what is expected to be a dying northerly breeze. After six races have been completed, each team will be able to discard their worst finish.

The 2014 Etchells Worlds will continue until tomorrow Saturday.

Published in Etchells

#Etchells – Malahide trio David, Richard and Samantha Burrows have had a mid–fleet start to their Etchells World Championships bid in New York yesterday. The sole Irish contenders placed 66 and 26 in the first two races in the 95–boat fleet in near perfect sailing conditions off Newport, R.I. Full results here.

For two-time Etchells World Champion Bill Hardesty (San Diego) it was hard to imagine a better start to the regatta. Hardesty and his team placed second in both races and lead the regatta overall, with Ante Razmilovic's Swedish Blue team (London, U.K.) in second and defending world champion Marvin Beckmann (Houston) in third. In his first visit to Newport in more than 30 years, John Bertrand (South Yarra, Australia), the America's Cup-winning skipper of Australia II, lies fourth.

It wasn't easy for anyone, however. To spread out the fleet, principle race officer Tom Duggan stretched the legs to between 2 and 3 nautical miles, with each race taking between 90 and 120 minutes. The bulk of the fleet didn't reach the dock until after 6 p.m.

"We were physically grinding it out all day," said Taylor Canfield, who serves as tactician for Hardesty. "Finishing up with a five-leg course just made it that much more grueling. Our downwind speed was great, we gained a couple of boats every run. Then we were able to catch one or two boats on the upwind."

Hardesty, who won his world titles in 2008 and 2011, Beckmann (2013), and Bertrand (2010) are all former world champions, and their experience and poise showed today. With 95 boats on the starting line and both starts run under the black flag (which means that anyone who is over the starting line early is disqualified from the race), it was a day to limit risk and avoid large mistakes. Sailors will often say before events such as this that you can't win the regatta on the first day, but you certainly can lose it.

"The goal today was to get two single-digit finishes," said Steve Hunt, Beckmann's tactician. "We did and so we're happy."

Those teams that were not so fortunate today can take some comfort in knowing that, should the regatta schedule play out as planned, they will be able to discard their worst finish from their scoreline. But those teams with one or more disappointing finishes on Day 1 are now operating with little margin for error.

The regatta will continue tomorrow through Saturday. 

2014 Etchells World Championship
Tuesday, June 24, Day 1 Preliminary Top-10 Results
(Place, Sail Number, Boat Name, Skipper, Hometown, Race 1, Race 2, Total)

1. USA 979, Line Honors, Bill Hardesty, San Diego, 2-2 4.0
2. HKG 1333, Swedish Blue, Ante Razmilovic, London, U.K., 3-6 89.0
3. USA 1378, The Martian, Marvin Beckmann, Houston, 8-3 11.0
4. AUS 1383, Triad, John Bertrand, South Yarra, Australia, 4-10 14.0
5. USA 1411, Elizabeth, Tom Carruthers, San Diego, 5-12 17.0
6. USA 1208, Gumption3, Kevin Grainger, Rye, N.Y., 6-19 25.0
7. USA 1376, Arethusa, Phil Lotz, Newport, R.I., 9-18 27.0
8. CAN 1396, Hank Lammens, Norwalk, Conn., 20/ZFP-8 28.0
9. USA 1308, KGB, Senet Bischoff & Ben Kinney, Larchmont, N.Y., 10-20 30.0
10. USA 1296, Appreciation, Jeffrey Siegal, Portsmouth, R.I., 17-17 34.0

Published in Etchells

#etchells – Ireland has a single entry in a 95–boat fleet for the 2014 Etchells keelboat World Championship from June 21 to 28 in New York. The class's 46th world championship will be one of the biggest and most competitive in its celebrated history. 

Malahide and Howth Yacht Club sailing family trio, Richard, David (a four time Olympian) and Samantha Burrows are entered in the Corinthian, Masters and Seniors divisions in a fleet that has already attracted some of the world's top professional and amateur sailors.

Long Island Sound yacht designer and builder Skip Etchells created the 31-foot keelboat in 1965 hoping to win selection as the new Olympic keelboat.

The design dominated the racing in the selection trials, but lost in the onshore voting for Olympic status. For the 2016 Olympics, there will be no keelboat sailed in the Olympic regatta.

But nearly 50 years after the first Etchells touched the water, the class is as strong as ever.

The number of entries in recent class world championships has varied from 41 last year to a high of 100 in 1998.

Up to nine races are scheduled, all but one of which will count toward a team's final score. Registration and measurement for the regatta will start on Saturday, June 21, with the racing taking place on Rhode Island Sound, Tuesday, June 24, through Saturday, June 28.

For an entry list click here.

Published in Etchells

#etchells – At the Etchells World Championship in Rosignano, Italy the top Irish boat was Richard Burrows and crew from Howth who finished 12th in the 41–boat fleet. (download results below as a pdf file). There was no wind and no race for the final day of racing organised by Yacht Club Cala de' Medici.

After 8 races out of the nine scheduled the winner was "The Martian" skippered by American helmsman Marvin Beckmann, from Houston, sailing with tactician Steven Hunt and Ezra Culver.  

Burrows club–mate Stephen Quinn sailing Fetching was 30th overall. 

In the final results the second ranked boat is "Raging Rooster" skippered by American Peter S. Dunkan with Olympic champion Judson Smith and bowman Thomas Blackwell.

"Swedish Blu" skippered by European champion Ante Razmilovich (Hong Kong) together with American Chris Larson and Stuart Flinn got the third place.

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#etchells – There's not much interest in recruiting women into the Etchell's class as it prepares for the world championships in Rosignano Solvay, Italy this week if the response to an Irish 'bio break' query is anything to go by.

There was a howl of resistance – mainly Australian in origin –  against any special provision for women when Irish skipper Richard Burrows from Howth asked about mother ship facilities for his female crew at this weekend's pre-world Italian championship.

Burrows is sailing with son David and daughter Samantha at this week's Italian championships and next week's worlds at the same venue.

"Bucket and chuck it" appears to be the mantra. Easy for some!

There will be no facility in high temperature and long days on the water.  Is this the way forward at an international world championships or should regatta organisers make such a provision?

Or is it a wider issue where it appears class traditionalists would probably prefer if women were not taken as crew in the class?

A glance at the entry list so far shows the Howth trio is one of only two mixed crews in the entire line up.

The regatta site proudly boasts this Italian venue is the 'first Etchells Worlds to be held in a non–Anglo Saxon country'. 

It's great to see the venerable class charting new waters but perhaps a more considerate approach to the fairer sex might also help in the drive to boost numbers?

Published in Etchells
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