2013 Etchells Worlds
2012 Etchells Worlds
Etchells Spring Cup in Cowes
The Etchells fleet in Cowes were roused from their winter hibernation over the weekend of March 31st / April 1st for the Spring Cup, and in return they were treated to a fabulous weekends racing with 8 races being held, 5 on Saturday in 9-11 knots of NE breeze and 3 on Sunday in bright sunshine and a more fitful 4-7 knots from the SE. Sailed out of Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club the fleet enjoyed cracking racing with 4 boats finishing one race within 2 seconds of each other.
Winner of the weekend was Laurence Mead / Andrew Cooper, Mead steering on Saturday and Cooper on Sunday with Brian Wilkinson in the middle and Phil Lawrence / Laurence Mead doing the bow on Saturday and Sunday respectively. They took the first bullet after a race long battle with Farr 45 helmsman Mark Richmond who was getting his first taste of Etchells sailing with a long term view towards a campaign aimed at the 2016 Worlds in Weymouth. Richmond, sailing a boat kindly loaned to the fleet by long time Etchells sailor and Fleet Admiral, Ted Fort to help bring young sailors into the class was fast downhill but claimed to lack an edge of speed upwind. It didn’t seem to hurt him as he harried Mead all the way but the fact that he was OCS did ruin his race at the finish! That left David Franks in second with another ex Farr 45 sailor, this time Exabyte’s Shaun Frohlich in 3rd.
Race 2 was sailed in a little less breeze but with pretty big shifts which made the beats challenging. Mead won the race again with James Howells in 2nd, he and Ian Law (who was sailing 2 up so if anybody reading wants to be an Etchells bowman we know someone who is looking for one!) both hooked into nice left hand pressure up the 1st beat to lead, but Mead managed to get his bear away at the top done nice and tightly and get his bow inside them. From there he controlled them down to the bottom mark with starboard gybe advantage, where he had water and was then able to get away.
Race 3 was sailed in a bit more breeze and although Mead won again the places were all up for grabs with the fleet very tightly bunched. David Franks got 2nd, Mark Richmond in 3rd and Ian Law took another great placing, finishing 4th despite having to do all the corners with a pair less hands than the rest of the fleet!
Race 4 was sailed in a slightly lighter breeze and although he led Mead was a little right of middle and in a lighter patch and was under great threat with the Frohlich / David Bedford / Brain Hammersly team lifting off his hip in pressure. Mead hung on for a long time and waited for a small righty to come in and save him, which in the end he got and was able to tack back at the same time as Frohlich ran out of pressure and he went onto a comfortable win. Despite the target race times of only 40 minutes per race the fleet was treated to proper two lap races by Andrew Millband and his team from Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club and this was one was a cracker with James Howells, David Franks, Shaun Frohlich and High Evans on Shamal all crossing the finishing line within 2 seconds of each other for 2nd through 5th places.
Race 5 was sailed in the best breeze of the day and finished off a great day of racing. In this one Mead led but got slightly out of position up the second beat such that he was under great threat from Howells to the left who was in good breeze and lifted. Mead picked a nice little right half way up the beat to get back to the middle and was able to negate the threat from the left by tacking on Howells bow and then lead into the top mark. So day 1 of the 2012 Etchells Solent season ended with Mead taking 5 bullets to start the season in style with David Franks / Graham Sunderland / Matt Rainback and Rob Gullen in second and James Howells in 3rd.
Sunday was lighter and a lot sunnier. Summer had come to the Solent early (unlike 2011 when the first 3 weekends were all sailed in 25 to 35 knots of breeze!) and Franks decided he had better get his season properly underway - which he did in style by taking the two races of the day. In the first he had a slow start but threw in a clearing tack to the right where he picked up a nice shift (it’s always a good move to pick the first shift!) and he was away and never headed. The wind was trending right all race and Mead’s strong showing on Saturday came unstuck when he was caught left up the first and second beats along with the team on Exabtye 5. James Howells was keeping the battle for the overall podium alive with another second while Mark Richmond’s campaign came back to life with a good third.
Race 7 was the lightest of the weekend and with tacks being a heavy burden, and the start line heavily pin end biased - but the top mark almost a lay on port - Franks made the right call to go for a port tack start and duck the boats on starboard. He executed this beautifully to pop out ahead of Frohlich and Mead / Cooper who were on the pin but slow after their, on the gun, tacks. Further up the line Howells and Richmond were away well and there wasn’t much in it at the top apart from Franks who was round and gone. The race hinged however on a light patch near the bottom of the run. Cooper/Mead gybed away from this and were able to get themselves into the top 3 while Howells who had been looking good got well and truly dumped to the back of the fleet. It finished David Franks / Andrew Cooper / Shaun Frohlich.
So with the wind lighter, and after a short wait for wind, what turned out to be the last race was run in a 4 knot southerly. This one again hinged on the run with the same light air near the bottom being an issue. Sailing being the sport it is however, this time the light patch was the opposite place to where it has been the race before and Cooper and Mead sailed straight into while Richmond rounded off his weekend in style by taking the opposite corner to literally sail up to and round the early leader, James Howells. Hugh Evans and Roger Reynolds on Shamal got this right as well and were rewarded with a spot on the podium for this race taking a good third.
Overall Mead / Cooper won the Spring Cup with 12 points, Franks was second on 17 and Howells 3rd on 20.
Of the new sailors out on the water Brian Wilkinson who has just sold the IRC 36 footer "Cracking Rosie" said: “Having now sold my large boat, I can see how much easier it is to organise the 3 man crew for the Etchells. Once I’ve returned from my overseas assignment, I intend to join the fleet.” Mark Richmond who has been tearing up the Farr 45 fleet for a few years on Werewolf said : “Great one-design racing in a very friendly class. Thankfully a long way to go to 2016!!! As my crew Tom Whitburn said at the end of the weekend, we were average downwind and worse upwind. Work in progress! Many thanks to Ted Fort for lending us his boat, and to David Franks for his assistance in getting us to the start line. Well be back!”
The Solent fleet are back out for their second weekend of action on April 21st and 22nd before which they will be holding the RYA Youth selection weekend for the 22 sailors selected to trial from a very strong a application list of 37 applicants over the weekend of April 14th and 15th. For more information contact Cowes Fleet captain David Franks through www.etchellsukfleet.co.uk