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Etchells South Coast Championship at the Royal Thames Yacht Club

by Jan Ford 6 Aug 13:13 BST 26-27 July 2019
Etchells South Coast Championship © RTYC

Over the weekend 26/27th July, the 2019 Etchells South Coast Championships were held in Cowes and organised by the Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Saturday morning's racing started in a 12 to 14 knot breeze from the north and, while it was forecast to increase, that didn't happen. Unfortunately, as the wind was shifting so much, it took 45 minutes before the first start could actually happen, as the committee struggled to lay a fair line.

It was a day that the wind pressure was up and down by 4 knots with frequent 20-degree wind shifts that kept rolling over the race course under the clouds. So, heads out of the boat, and watching for the wind shifts is what counted on the day, and the first race was won appropriately by the Royal Thames Youth Sailing Team skippered by Ollie Grogono, before Matt Hannaby sailing Escape helmed by Dicken McLean won the following two races and were the overnight leaders, with Rob Goddard's Rocketman in second place and David Heritage's family crew sailing Colin in third place.

Sunday brought a slightly more consistent breeze pressure, but still with the wind shifting with every cloud formation that moved through the Solent, and it was Rocketman's turn to fly, taking a first and second in races four and five, moving them into first place overall. For the sixth and final race after a good start Rocketman seeing Escape sailing behind, but starting to move swiftly through the fleet, realised that for the second consecutive Etchells Regatta a match race was called for. What resulted was Rocketman sailing back to cover Escape by closely tacking on them while sailing up the first beat, but in traditional symmetrical spinnaker match racing style, the advantage switched to the trailing boat on the down-wind leg as Escape forced Rocket Man away from the leeward gates, and while Escape rounded a boat length ahead, Rocketman took the opposite gate to regain the lead forcing Escape deeper into the pack, thereby giving Rocketman crew their first series win, with Colin taking the 6th and final race win with Sophie Heritage helming.

Eddie Warwick supplied the weekends beer, with Shaun Frolich providing Rum and Cake for the hungry sailors.

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