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2017 Etchells North American Championship will test wits and stamina

by Emily Willhoft 22 Jul 2017 20:55 BST 16-19 August 2017
2017 Etchells North American Championship © SDYC

From August 16-19, San Diego Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 13 will host the 2017 International Etchells Class North American Championship.

Over 30 Etchells are expected to race in San Diego's ocean venue called the Coronado Roads over four days for the opportunity to be named the Etchells North American Champion. This event precedes the Etchells World Championship, which will be held this September in San Francisco.

San Diego Yacht Club is a familiar venue for many of these Etchells sailors. SDYC last hosted the event in 2010 and also hosted the World Championship in 2011.

Several world class competitors have already registered for the event, including Tom Carruthers, the 2017 Etchells West Coast Spring Series overall winner and the 2014 Etchells North American Championship winner. "The 2017 Etchells North American Championship should include a fleet from all over the world. I know of at least two Australian competitors, as well as quite a few from the East Coast. I'm glad SDYC has the opportunity to host the event, and I know they will provide their normal excellent hospitality."

The Etchells North American Champion for the past two consecutive years is Steve Benjamin from Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in New York. Benjamin will be back this August to defend the title, with one change in crew from the 2016 race.

Argyle Campbell, the 2017 San Diego National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Overall Winner, will also compete in the Etchells North American Championship. "San Diego is a very challenging venue and a great place to sail. Every race presents opportunities to gain or lose. Just when you think the only way to go is right, the left comes in strong."

According to Campbell, "Boat speed is especially important in San Diego. The local boats all seem to have it and sometimes the visitors are a little off the pace. The surface chop, wave angle, and current will all play a part in the eventual placings for each race and for the overall regatta. Most of the forgoing can be overcome by great starts."

This event is open to international competitors and for the second time this year, and Jeanne-Claude Strong will travel to SDYC to race with her team all the way from Australia. SDYC's Etchells Midwinters Regatta this past March was the first time Strong had raced in the US. "We've had a rather good year this season, winning the Etchells Queensland and Victorian State Championships, and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron awarded me Yachtswoman of the Year for the second time, which was very kind of them. We really look forward to coming back to SDYC in August- a magnificent club, facilities and people, perfect weather. In the meantime we're training for the North Americans and the Worlds in San Francisco."

The U.S. Class Chairman, Xavier Sheid, welcomes the active Etchells fleet to San Diego for this highly anticipated event.

"Etchells Fleet 13 is very excited and honoured to host the 2017 International Etchells North American Championship with San Diego Yacht Club. Over the past year the International Etchells Class has been very active with significant championship regattas all over the globe. With so much great racing activity, from Cowes to Swan River to Biscayne Bay to San Diego, the skill levels of our world class competitors has never been better. The 2017 International Etchells North Americans promises to be a true test of wits and stamina, and an excellent milestone on the way to the 2017 International Etchells World Championship in San Francisco in September."

SDYC's Commodore, John Reiter, is also eager to host the Etchells competitors and share SDYC's facilities for this event.

"Welcome home! For those who don't know, we literally built the Malin Burnham Sailing Center with you in mind! The check-in room was designed to hold an E22 mainsail on the floor for measuring... the showers are right across the hallway for when you get in after sailing, and the video monitors both downstairs and upstairs are available for you and well-wishers or coaches to use for debriefs each day! Yes, this really is Sailing Heaven to paraphrase the movie Field of Dreams.

"Make sure your teams are well fed and watered in our dining room and bar, and that you ask one of our amazing staff members for anything you need - from a pair of pliers to an extra tow line - everyone inside the gates of 1011 Anchorage Lane is here to make (or keep) this your favourite place to sail on the planet. Good luck and remember: weather helm is slow...!"

The awards ceremony will be held at San Diego Yacht Club after the completion of races on Saturday, August 19th.

The Etchells Fleet would like to thank its sponsors: Bay City Brewing Company, Sailing Supply, and the Port of San Diego.

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