2013 Etchells Worlds
2012 Etchells Worlds
Cowes, Spring Cup 2. April 21st / 22nd 2012. Andrew Cooper warms up for new boat in style
With a totally dominant performance on the second day of racing, Andrew Cooper, Brian Hammersley and Martin Borrett were the easy winners of Spring Cup 2 (April 21st and 22nd) as the Cowes Etchells fleet got the momentum on the new season rolling. Spring Cup 1 and 2 weekends are traditionally short sharp races to get the fleet warmed up for the challenges ahead and this year has been no exception with 8 races run on the first weekend and another 9 this weekend. After 4 days of racing in 2012 the Cowes Etchells fleet has already done 17 races! This gives crews plenty of practise in the arts of starting and mark rounding’s and keeps them warm despite the cold water and sometimes chilly winds.
Whilst Spring Cup 1 (in March) was warm, Spring Cup 2 (April 21st and 22nd) was colder and on Sunday a lot windier, gusting into a solid 25 knots by the end of the day. Once again there was a lot of chopping and changing within the teams on the water. The consistency was provided by the race team from Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club who, as they had done 2 weeks earlier manfully chased the NE breeze round as it shifted 40 degrees over the course of the day, providing the fleet with very good up and down race tracks, with short and demanding start lines. Further consistency was provided when Race 1 went to Laurence Mead, who had triumphed in Spring Cup 1 but, (inconsistently!) he was this time sailing with Shaun Frohlich and James Downer. They took the race after leading all the way round but only holding off the eventual winners of the weekend by a hairs breadth at the downwind finish having sailed Cooper and his team out past the layline on starboard before gybing back for the finish line.
Race 2 saw a first win in the fleet for Bleddyn Mon and his RYA Youth team who were out as part of the classes initiative with the RYA to get more young sailors into the class aiming at the 2016 Worlds to be held in Weymouth. Bleddyn, sailing with his brother Dyfrig on mainsheet, Emma Derby on trim and tactics and Peter Austin on bow, sailed a very clean race with good height upwind which allowed them to control the fleet from the right on the short upwind leg. They were never headed and then drove home the point that they will be strong competitors in the class if they get the fully-funded youth boat for 2012 by winning race 3 as well. Andrew Cooper kept himself in the reckoning with 2 solid second places while David Franks lost a 3rd at the finish of race 3 to an OCS and Laurence Mead had to settle for two third places, the first of which he was leading when his jib halyard broke and the latter of which was very bizarre. Started as a thunderstorm rolled through the fleet, race 3 saw the wind go left 15 degrees and then hard right (40 degrees), the sun coming back out and the wind dropping away to nothing at the same time. Cooper led at the top mark but Bleddyn Mon and his team got their gybe in first to take best advantage of the right hander and went on to win. Mead had been stranded well and truly last but as he came round the top mark a slight breeze slowly built from behind (coming from 265 degrees - the direction it had been before the rain) until Mead was able to plane past Ian Law and Hugh Evans doing about 12 knots while the unlucky duo, having been fighting for the lead not long before, found themselves becalmed as Mead literally planned past 75 metres away!!!
Race 4 was popped in at the end of the day and saw Cooper / Hammersley / Borrett go on the start of a run which would deliver a fabulous 5 bullets from the next 6 races. Mon got 2nd, Ian Law 3rd and Franks 4th, with Hugh Evans / Roger Reynolds and Lizzie Foreman 5th.
Sunday was bright and sunny with a forecast for a lot more breeze by the end of the day and that’s how it happened. Andrew Cooper and his team took race 6 with Mead’s “Freelance”, on Sunday being steered by Shaun Frohlich, stealing Mon’s wind on the last run to get by into 2nd.
Race 7 was a cracker! All the fleet were nose to tail at the top mark and by the end of the first run the boats behind had all closed up such that the top 5 approached the bottom gate in a line abreast. Frohlich / Mead were on the inside taking the right hand gate (looking downwind) while Bleddyn Mon had “the-other-inside” and lead round the left hand mark. How the fleet got round without a major pile up is still open to conjecture as spinnakers were still flying as bows reached the marks but get round they did. Mead’s terrible weekend for gear failure continued when he realised he had lost his forestay pin just after they sheeted on and helmsman Frohlich had to wheel back onto a run before they lost their rig. Mon’s clean exit from the left hand gate (he was the only one over there and proved the value of sailing clean and fast) gave him just enough clear air to go on and win from Cooper, with David Franks in 3rd before the juggernaut of Andrew Cooper / Brian Hammersley and Martin Borrett grabbed the rest of the day with both hands and reeled off 3 straight bullets to take home the chocolates.
The rest of the fleet were left trailing in their wake, unable to match their consistency of starting and crew work round the track, and they were very deserved winners at the close of play. Bleddyn Mon took 2nd overall, despite an RTD in the last race when they wrapped the spinnaker round the headstay in a gybe in 25 knots of breeze (welcome Team to bigger boats and a Solent Stonker!) and Mead / Frohlich took 3rd after an “interesting” weekend of fighting their boat!
So with two weekends of warm up racing under their belts the fleet get down to the serious stuff with the South Coast Championships on May 5th and 6th and the prestigious Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy on May 19th and 20th. Before then winners of the RYA / Etchells Youth trials will be announced and the fleet will be joined by those boats returning from the worlds in Sydney. All to play for!
For more information please go to www.etchellsukfleet.co.uk or the Cowes fleet Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/etchellscowes
• For video’s of the recent Etchells Cowes / RYA Youth trials. Warm up race see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucKdBfshKTQ&list=HL1334826898&feature=mh_lolz