Belvedere, CA, September 25, 2017 – The 2017 Etchells World Championship, hosted by The San Francisco Yacht Club, kicks off on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 with the first of five days of racing on San Francisco Bay (9 races are scheduled). Fifty-one teams representing ten countries will be competing in the area known as the Berkeley Circle. This is the fourth time that the Etchells World Championships are being held in San Francisco Bay.
Racing will be incredibly close among this international Etchells fleet, renowned for its deep talent pool comprising a plethora of Olympic, world, national, and local champions. The outcome of this year’s world championship is anything but certain. “Any of the top 25 boats could win this regatta and no one would be surprised,” said local Bay Area sailor Don Jesberg who will count three-time Etchells World Champion Bill Hardesty among his crew on Viva. Bill Barton, with nine Etchells Worlds under his belt, agreed, “There are so many great sailors – it will be a great battle to see who is most consistent.” Barton will be sailing on his old boat, the oldest in the competition, 666, but this time as crew to skipper Chris Kostanecki.
The recent SFYC Easom Founders Regatta provided a preview into how close the racing would be. After two days of racing in big late summer breeze, Steve Benjamin’s (USA) Stella Blue claimed first place with Graeme Taylor’s (AUS) Magpie close behind in second, and Iain Murry’s (AUS) Northern Havoc in third, in a fleet of 32 boats. Jim Cunningham’s (USA) Lifted won the Easom Founders perpetual trophy which goes to the top finisher in the local fleet. Named after Bay Area sailing legend Hank Easom, the regatta honors Easom for bringing the first Etchells to San Francisco Bay in 1975, and starting fleet 12.
Peter Duncan’s (USA) Oatmeal was unable to sail in the pre-world event because he was busy winning the J/70 World Championship in Sardinia. “I love sailing in San Francisco Bay, it’s such a terrific venue, and there is an amazing group of competitors among both skippers and crew.” Duncan, sailing with former Etchells champion Jud Smith, and long time crew, Thomas Blackwell, is just one of the talented teams to watch this week.
As we count down to Tuesday’s start, the San Francisco Yacht Club docks and harbor are buzzing with Etchells energy as weigh-ins, sail and equipment measurement, and last minute boat prep fill the sailors days. A practice race is scheduled for Monday, September 25th.
For complete regatta information, please see the event website at http://2017.etchellsworlds.org
About The San Francisco Yacht Club
The San Francisco Yacht Club and its members are dedicated to promoting and celebrating yachting and life on the water. Founded in 1869, The SFYC is the oldest yacht club in North America, west of the Mississippi River. With its tranquil setting, its superb harbor and stunning views of the San Francisco skyline, it's widely recognized as a premier yachting facility on the West Coast and one of the finest anchorages in the Bay Area. It operates a year- facility including the harbor, a dry-sail area, a full-service restaurant and bar.
The SFYC has earned recognition as one of the leading yacht clubs in the country, hosting local, national and international regattas. It’s home to The Great San Francisco Schooner Regatta, and very active youth sailing and race team programs. Committed to promoting the sport and Corinthian spirit of sailing, The Club also offers sailing instruction for sailors of all ages and private lessons. Club fleets include J24s, Optimists, 420s, Lasers and Flying Juniors. SFYC's youth sailors have risen to compete at national, international and Olympic levels.
About the Etchells Class
For over fifty years the Etchells class has enjoyed solid and steady growth with over fifty active fleets worldwide. Etchells sailors are enthusiastic and loyal supporters of their boat and class association. The Etchells is a big, fast, simple, stable, and sleek racing sloop that can be sailed competitively and in comfort by three or four average sailors. It can tack in 70 degrees and has a low wetted surface hull form that keeps moving in the slightest breeze. In 20+ knots it absolutely flies. The strict one-design principle of the class was established from the outset and is controlled by a strong, established and well-administered class association. Control of construction by the class association and World Sailing ensures quality and uniformity. It's easy to trailer and light enough to dry sail; and Etchells hold exceptional resale value.