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International Etchells UK South Coast Championship at the Royal London Yacht Club

by Jan Ford 15 Sep 15:30 BST
Etchells UK South Coast Championship held in light winds © Jan Ford

After a week of high pressure dominating the Southern England weather system, the forecast was not looking good for the championships. And with little or no wind on the Saturday morning it was early afternoon before the fleet left harbour heading towards mark Colette at the Southern side of Osborne Bay, where the south easterly breeze was the best at that time.

After a further delay while the wind settled to a reasonably consistent 5-6 kts, the fleet finally got away, unfortunately the new breeze failed, and then all boats were becalmed, and much to the delight of all the boats, racing was abandoned for the day. Once ashore all crews agreed it was great going for the sail, and that despite no result, it was a fun, worthwhile venture.

A good social evening was had at the Royal London Yacht Club, our hosts for the weekend, where the CRO Mike Randall joined us for dinner, and Rugby on the big screen.

Sunday, another day, another interesting forecast, light breezes again, supposedly from the Southeast. The fleet congregated at Ancasta buoy at the southern tip of the Knoll Bank. After a few attempts at setting a fair course in the ever changing breezes, the wind shifted left and an easterly facing course was set. Light weather and time constraints unfortunately reduced the fleet who actually took to the water to five boats.

Rocketman lead initially at the start, and tacked with the fleet to the right, whereas No Dramas stayed on starboard, and at the top mark it was No Dramas who led from Rocketman, after a brief luffing match, was rolled by Exabyte on the exit from the mark. The wind started to drop unfortunately from behind, allowing No Dramas and Exabyte to sail away from Rocketman, Ada2 and Palaver.

Downwind, no further place changes happened on the run or the next upwind leg and, after the final bottom mark rounding, Exabyte in 2nd place seemed determined to sail towards Calshot in the search of extra breeze. Whilst they didn't find any, by the time they gybed back, their sailing angle meant that a head sail was needed instead of the kite to make the finish line. However they just retained their second place.

The Regatta ended as a one-race series, with Andy Lawson's No Dramas first overall, followed by Shaun Frohlich's Exabyte, and Rob Goddard's Rocketman 3rd but first Corinthian, with David Maclean's Ada2 4th ahead of first youth Kai Hockley sailing Palaver.

Despite being a wind constrained race weekend, it was fun, and with the multiple attempts at starting a race and on the water sail trim observations from Rhos Hawes, a very worthwhile two days sailing.

Next Etchells regatta on the Solent is the Nationals and British Open Championship 22-24 September hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Overall Results:

PosBoat nameSail NoCrewsR1Pts
1No Dramas  GBR 1490Andrew Lawson / Graham Vials / Billy Russell11
2Exabyte  GBR 1459Shaun FROHLICH / Duncan Truswell / Paul Childs22
3Rocketman (Corinthian)  GBR 1439Rob Goddard / Arlo Braund / Mark Heucan33
4Ada 2  GBR 1517David Maclean / Sul Sahota / Harry Blowers44
5Palaver (Corinthian)  GBR 1014Kai Hockley / Jessye Opoku‑Ware / Felipe Garcia55
6Audrey (Corinthian)  GBR 1351Ted Blowers / Paul Blowers / Jack SharlandDNS7

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