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The Gertrude Cup 2017 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club - Day 3

by Louay Habib on 24 Jul 22-26 July 2017

Three races were held in medium to heavy airs for the third day of the Etchells invitational regatta. In a shifty northerly breeze, a significant tide built during the day, and by mid-afternoon the wind speed had piped up to 20 knots. As the tide turned, classic Solent racing conditions transpired, providing some fantastic sailing conditions. The Royal Thames Yacht Club Race Management Team, led by PRO Phil Lawrence, produced three first class racing, adjusting the axis, and course length, as the breeze and tide changed during the day.

James Badenach's team from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, had a stellar day, scoring two bullets and a second, to open up a nine point lead for the series. The USA Youth Team, led by Connor Needham, scored two podium finishes to remain in second place. Bruce Huber's team from the Royal Yacht Squadron, scored a win in the last race, to finish the day in third position. The Grieg City Academy YC scored three top ten finishes, to end the day in fourth, and exceptional performance for the rookie team.

The Greig City Academy team is composed of students in the lower sixth form at the school in Hornsey, East London. The team have only started sailing in the last few years and, and with the help of Cowes Etchells Fleet Class Captain David Franks, the teenagers started sailing Etchells at the beginning of the year. The team will also be taking part in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, as part of a larger team from the school, racing the 45ft yacht Scaramouche.

"David Franks heard about our Fastnet campaign and invited us to come and sail in Etchells." commented Montel Fagan-Jordan. "At first the boat looked very complicated, but with our experience in dinghies, we looked at the Etchells as a big dinghy. We also applied the knowledge we had learned racing offshore with Scaramouche. However, the most important aspect of our development in the Etchells, has been coaching and training, and Matt Reid from the Etchells Class has been really helpful. This is a great regatta, really competitive racing and we would be really pleased if we can come in the top four."

The vibrant social side of The Gertrude Cup, is very much part of the event. Competitors and organisers enjoyed a lavish cream tea in Cowes Yacht Haven after racing, and typical of the class, the musical entertainment revolved around The Eagles and Pink Floyd! Later in the day, a drinks party was held at the Zhik Store in Cowes High Street, a long time supporter of the Etchells class. Breaking news, was that racing would commence an hour later than scheduled tomorrow, to allow a sea breeze to develop, and had absolutely nothing to do with any form of delay due to enjoyment of the facilities in Cowes.

Racing for the Gertrude Cup continues tomorrow, Tuesday 25th July, with three races scheduled. Follow the action with live updates from The Gertrude Cup Facebook Page:

Daily results from The Gertrude Cup can be found here.

Tech Talk with David Bedford – The not-so-perfect start

Three time Etchells European champion, David Bedford, is a familiar face in the Etchells Class, and is racing in the Gertrude Cup for Bill Steel, from the Royal Pert Yacht Club.

"Starting is rather like serving at tennis; it is not always possible to get the perfect start, it is too high risk to do that. You have to always aim for a workable start, and no disasters as you even out over a series. To do this, you need to have: good start line prep, a good starting system, and manage the risk. For example, if there is a heavy start line bias, start under the pack, because only one of the boats at the bias end will get a great start, the others will get themselves in a mess. Concentrating on momentum and space, will let you get a 'good serve in'. The test of a good start is whether your first tack is something to chose to do, rather than something you are forced to do."

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