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Carruthers wins Etchellls Orca Bowl and West Coast Spring Series

by Chris Busch 18 May 01:39 BST
2022 Etchells Orca Bowl © Mark Albertazzi

Orca Bowl dates back to the mid 80s when Bill Munster, one of the original San Diego Etchells Fleet members (and some would say, "Killer Whale") created the Orca Bowl as one of the most competitive Etchells events on the West Coast. This year, similar to other years, saw a nice turn out of boats and plenty of tight racing. The culmination in the 2022 West Coast Spring Series, the Orca Bowl had it all on the line with what essentially was a 3-way tie for the West Coast Spring Series. US 1481 Louise, skippered by Tom Carruthers, led by one point over US 1411 Elizabeth, skippered by Chris Busch. 1404 Lifted, skippered by Jim Cunningham, was another point back but not competing in the final event. Elizabeth's only chance of winning the WCSS was to win the Orca Bowl, so it was on for a final weekend battle.

Sailed in 7-10 knots of sea breeze on Saturday under the watchful eye of PRO Bruce Golison, the first two races featured a pin-favored start but the need to go right for better current and pressure. Elizabeth was down at the pin for both of those races and was able to extend enough to cross the fleet and lock in a 1st in those races. Louise had 2,4 and newcomer Scott Harris, sailing 1092 Coyote, had a good start to his Etchells career with a 3,5. The third race on Saturday featured lighter breeze and very little pressure on the left. Louise's pin end start allowed them to tack and cross the fleet to get to the right for a win. Argyle Campbell's US 1452 Rock On, fresh from the US Nationals in Miami, was 2nd. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, they were OCS but were able to get back to 7th, ending up two points behind Louise going into Sunday with Rock On in 3rd.

Three races were schedule for Sunday, but a light eddy was in the forecast so only two races were sailed in tricky conditions. In talking to Carruthers, their strategy for the final two races was to get in front of Elizabeth, try to push them back, and add a few more point to their score. Race 4 on Sunday gave Louise the jump and there was a tight cover applied to Elizabeth, but in the end, they finished 1,2 with Coyote in 3rd and Marc McMorris in US 1492 M2 taking 4th.

Pressure built for Race 5 but a big shift to the right delayed the start and the breeze receded. By the time Golison got the course set, it was the final race. A drop would factor in after five races and with Louise holding a 3-point lead over Elizabeth and a big gap to third, it was all about giving Elizabeth a drop on the last race. Race 5 was another WLWL course -- but in 5-7 knots of breeze. Louise got a nice midline start with Elizabeth about four boats to leeward. But, in bad air with a boat over the line in front of them, it was not ideal for their final race of the series. Tactician Bill Hardesty used his well-honed match racing skills to push Elizabeth off the race course and into last place with Louise second to last. Both teams passed boats the on the first run and a split at the leeward mark allowed Elizabeth to get to the right and ahead of Louise. Two more lead changes occurred on the final run with a tight finish. With both boats sailing their drop and no more races to be run, the regatta and the series went to Louise. Congrats to McMorris, Hartwell Jordan and Ryan Treais on M2 for winning the final race in tricky conditions and locking up 3rd place in the Orca Bowl.

Tom Carruthers, with Bill Hardesty and Jeff Reynolds, sailed an impressive series winning three of the four regattas while Chris Busch, sailing with Ben Mitchell and Patrick Powell, had all seconds to lock up 2nd in the Orca Bowl and 2nd in the WCSS. Congratulations to Team Lifted - Jim Cunningham, Steve Hunt, Serena Village, and Erik Shampain - on their 3rd place in the WCSS overall.

Top Corinthian team in the Orca Bowl went to Will LaDow on US 985 Second Wind with help from Andy LaDow, Scott Sinks and SDYC Junior rockstar, Kousei Hatter.

Finishing out the Corinthian results for Orca Bowl was Summer Greene and Kris Zillmann, co-helming US 909 Mostly Harmless with George Baird as crew and 3rd Place, Ian Trotter on US 1313 Triskaidekaphobia with Nicholas Ratinaud and Bill Wade crewing. The final WCSS Corinthian results had Second Wind in first, Mostly Harmless in 2nd, and Xavier Sheid with John Rudderham, Brian Collick, Jamie Hardenbergh and Chris Smith on US 1234 Pelikaan in third.

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