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British Etchells National and Open Championship at Cowes

by Rob Goddard 8 Jul 2015 16:36 BST 4-5 July 2015

20 boats came to race in the central Solent as part of the build-up to the 2016 Etchells World Championships, and this event provided useful information and practice for not only the competitors but also the Royal London Yacht Club who will host the 2016 Worlds.

As well as the British, teams came from Ireland, USA and Hong Kong to compete for the Open Championship but it was local sailor Shaun Frohlich sailing Exabyte who won overall taking 2 of the 3 cups on offer (the British National Championship and the Open Championship), with Willie McNeil sailing Hancock winning the ISAF CAT1 non-professional championship trophy.

PRO Bob Milner took the fleet to the Hillhead shore to race in the 4-5 SW Breeze for Saturday's 4 races, the first race victory going to McNeil leading from start to finish. McNeil sailed to the hard right of the course on the first beat in order to miss the last of the flood-tide which paid dividends leaving him a large enough lead that on the second lap he covered the fleet, whereas Frohlich sailing with the fleet was held up by the same boat infringing him at two of the marks, and scored an eighth, his worst of the regatta.

As the day progressed and the tide turned the traditional Solent chop developed, but during the transition period it was difficult to decide between wind or tide benefit. Jeremy Thorp sailing Phan got it right though winning race 2 and scored a 3rd in race 3 but due to a pre-start incident in race 4 Thorp who was up to that point leading the regatta retired from the race, while Frohlich had started his bid to win the regatta taking victory in both races 3 and 4, and while in race 4 Frohlich started by the committee boat Matt Reid's Mano won the pin and with the 2 teams respectively arriving 1st and 2nd at the top mark it helped demonstrate what fair line settings Bob Milner and his team had laid.

Sunday morning the wind had dropped such that a 2-hour postponement was posted and when the boats arrived on the Hillhead/Knoll Bank course, the tide change was again in transition and with the wind at 10 kts it was Tom Carruthers the USA challenger sailing his new boat USA 1000 Betsy, who set the pace and played the wind shifts to take the race, with Exabyte in hot pursuit finishing second, while Phan was tangled back in the pack and with only 1 discard allowed found that they now had a 9th to count.

Going into the last race, race 6, only Willy McNeil's Hancock could threaten Frohlich's regatta. Exabyte needed a 6th or better to take the championship if McNeil won the race, but with a wind that had built to 20kts, Frohlich after a clean start, sailed fast for the port lay line and the stronger west-bound tide on the first beat putting him up with the front of the pack, and while Jeremy Thorp won the race, 2nd place was enough to give Shaun Frohlich sailing with Duncan Truswell and David Bedford a very deserved overall victory of the event. Willy McNeil sailing with Toby Mumford and Mark Yeabsley finished 3rd overall and won the ISAF CAT1 non-professional trophy. Jeremy Thorp's team of Stuart Childerley and Mark Andrews were 2nd overall on Phan.

After the event a jubilant Frohlich said that their strategy for the event was to "start clean, even if away from the best end of the line as they were confident in their boat speed to post consistent results, and using their tidal knowledge to good effect, particularly when the tide was ebbing upwind for extra speed and downwind in the waves where surfing was possible especially on the right hand side of the track"

Cowes Etchells fleet are sailing this weekend 11/12 July for the RTYC Saida Cup contact David Franks if you wish to be involved at this or other Etchells events.

Overall Results: If you finished in the top ten at the Etchells nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoBoat NameSkipperR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11352Exabyte VShaun Frohlich9*211228
21424PhanJeremy Thorp21321*9116
31409HancockWilly McNeill1415*341022
41331HighlifePeter Rogers7*6263522
5USA 1000BetsyTom Carruthers125421*1325
61194ManoMatt Reid689*28731
71407IceAndrew Cooper/ David Lowe87811*5836
8HKG 1345Wanchai BelleJamie McWilliam21*35462139
9IRL 1015Matatu DubhRichard Burrows1620*6514445
101416Time & TideMatt Rainback5127101113*45
111271ZiggyBen Palmer13*911771145
121354Strait DealerDavid Franks31013121015*48
131329StampedeRob Goddard151510816*957
141020SumoStacey Clark41318*17131259
151324Pale TideGiovanni Belgrano101412918*1661
161014PalaverRosie Watkins111719*14121468
17992China WhiteNick Stagg1819*141615669
181353MantaDavid Kitchen1711171319*1876
191166EscapeStephen Line1418*1618171782
201005EccentricDick Cowan21*162015201990

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