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Craftinsure 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Lifted lifts Biscayne Bay Etchells Winter Series Trophy

by Etchells Class 27 Feb 07:56 GMT February 24-26, 2023

In keeping with the theme of the 2022/2023 Biscayne Bay Etchells Winter Series, Mid-Winters Championships was a weekend of challenging weather among stiff competition with yet another skipper stepping onto the top of the podium. Yet it was the most consistent team of the season, who had been a bridesmaid on the podium all year, who earned the overall series trophy for the second year in a row: Jim Cunningham's Lifted (USA 1404).

Over the course of three days, six races were completed in no more than 8 knots. Etchells veteran Marvin Beckmann and his crew on The Martian (USA1378), Tommy Dietrich, Arantxa Agribay, and Joachim Aschenbrenner consistently stayed in the lead for the entire light air regatta - a welcomed change for Beckmann, a former World Champion, who had yet to even break into the top ten all season.

"Tommy and Joachim got us great starts and coarse management," said the Texan. "Jud Smith also helped with boat set up and confidence in boat speed."

Two onshore postponements on Saturday and Sunday forced sailors to wait for the sea breeze to overcome an onshore high-pressure. This could be good preparation for April when the 2023 AON Etchells World Championships will occur at the same venue. However, according to class meteorologist, Chelsea Carlson "winds should typically be a bit stronger then."

While waiting ashore, the fleet spent time discussing the factors of the sea breeze each day and learning nuances of Biscayne Bay winds with Chelsea - a unique opportunity for the fleet to have a weather specialist at their disposal. Also, the amount of experience and years sailing against one another creates a palpable camaraderie among the fleet - "a master class in Etchells" remarked one young sailor.

Not only is the competition strong at these pre-worlds regattas, with at least 12 past World Champions amongst the fleet of 56 boats, this has also been a challenging winter series weather-wise for the Etchells sailors. A lack of wind in December resulted in no races for the Piana Cup. That event was then rescheduled for the day before Florida States in February where too much wind canceled racing on Saturday. Then there was a Floridan cold snap in January that brought not just freezing temperatures, but very shifty conditions testing the sailors' tenacity and adaptability.

The champions from last season, Jim Cunningham, Steve Hunt, Erik Shampain, and Serena Vilage on Lifted were able to overcome the demanding conditions all winter to not only stand on the podium for three of the four regattas - a feat no other Etchells crews accomplished this year - but lift that trophy once again.

"I feel very fortunate that our team has sailed together for a number of years which really helped us to be consistent especially when things got chaotic and tight," says Cunningham who hails from San Francisco. "We knew it would be difficult with so many talented teams here. We got a new boat and teamed up with A-Mac as tuning partners with Dave Ullman as our coach.

We have been working together and learning a lot and are super happy to have pulled this one off again. Our main focus is the Worlds in April and we feel we still have a lot to learn. "

Joining Cunningham on the podium for the Overall Series was another West Coast team, Louise (USA 1481) with Thomas Carruthers, Bill Hardesty, & Jeff Reynolds USA 1481) in 2nd place and Oatmeal (USA 1453) with Peter Duncan, Andrew Palfrey, & Mark Mandelblet) in 3rd.

The Etchells class also recognizes those teams comprised of Group 1 sailors with a Corinthian Trophy for the series. Andy Cumming's crew, all hailing from Toronto, Ontario, on Blackadder II (CAN 1451) John Millen, Chloe Congourdeau, and Erin Sauder took home this half-model trophy.

"The commitment to Corinthian sailing by the Etchells fleet is paramount to keeping the grassroots, local-fleet sailing healthy and vibrant," says Cummings." This is what makes a fleet long-lasting and strong. It is an honor to sail Corinthian in this class against so many spectacular teams."

Cummings adds: "I encourage more teams to take up the mantle of the Corinthian spirit of this sport and in this Class. I think both options (professional or corinthian) should be seen as credible and viable options for any and all Etchells sailors."

These strong contenders are only a few among the 300 sailors expected to descend on Miami from around the World for the Championships April 16 - 21, 2023 but not before the next Miami event, North Americans, hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 20 March 15-19th.

"Our Race Committee is world class and we know sailors appreciate our efforts in challenging conditions over the last three months," says race chair Dave Brennan. "We have used the Winter Series to prepare to administer the best racing possible for Worlds."

Etchells Class Overall Results: (top ten, 56 boats)

1. The Martian, USA1378, Marvin Beckmann / Tommy Dietrich / Arantxa Agribay / Joachim Aschenbrenner - 2 - 2 - [19] - 7 - 8 - 6; 25
2. Lifted, USA1504, Jim Cunningham / Steve Hunt / Erik Shampain / Serena Vilage - [45] - 4 - 11 - 1 - 6 - 7; 29
3. Big Dawg, USA926, Malcolm Lamphere / Greiner Hobbs / Key Becker / Louisa Nordstrom - 5 - 12 - [34] - 3 - 14 - 5; 39
4. Louise, USA1481, Thomas Carruthers / Bill Hardesty / Jeff Reynolds - 9 - 7 - [28] - 18 - 13 - 2; 49
5. STELLA BLUE, USA1427, Stephen Benjamin / Michael Buckley / Ian Liberty / Dave Hughes - 6 - 18 - [36] - 2 - 10 - 14; 50
6. Tquila, IRL1425, Carlos Morales / Luis Doreste / David Vera / Leonor Ramia - 10 - 31 - [52] - 15 - 1 - 1; 58
7. Oatmeal, USA1453, Peter Duncan / Mark Mendledel / Andrew Palfrey - 12 - 16 - 4 - 17 - [23] - 10; 59
8. Odd Ball, USA1513, Jack Franco / Richard Clarke / Ben Lamb - [42] - 6 - 24 - 13 - 11 - 8; 62
9. Lydia, USA969, Josh Powell / Chris Busch / Patrick Powell - 29 - 1 - [32] - 25 - 4 - 4; 63
10. Veracity, USA1477, John Sommi / Victor Diaz de Leon / Will Ryan / Beccy Anderson - 3 - 22 - [40] - 4 - 17 - 17; 63

Mid-Winter Championships Results available here.

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