Remarkably, at the end of the fourth day of racing in the Etchells World Championship, each of the eight races have been won by eight different teams. Thirty of the 51 competitors have had at least one top ten finish, demonstrating the amazing depth of the talent in this regatta.
Racers were greeted by typical San Francisco conditions for races seven and eight. As the race committee, headed by PRO Jeff Zarwell, set the line, wind readings were in the 17 – 19 kt range in a waning ebb with big chop.
The first start resulted in a general recall and a short delay while the race committee reset the line. Only two boats were OCS at the restart, but they were two of the top five boats – Jim Cunningham (USA) and the leader going into today’s races, Senet Bischoff (USA). Cunningham returned to clear the line, but Bischoff did not return, resulting in an OCS score of 52 for the race.
Chris Hampton (AUS) and his team of Mark Andrews and Sam Haines finished first, closely followed by Bischoff and local Bay Area sailor Don Jesberg (USA) with his team of Andrea Cabito, Bill Hardesty, and Robbie Dean. The finish of Race 7 triggered the automatic discard of each team’s highest score, and despite their OCS, Bichoff’s team remained in first place.
Race eight got underway with only two boats OCS. Seamus McHugh’s team (SUI) of David Vera San Luis, Leonor Ramia Cabellero, and Luis Doreste Blanco were in the lead at the first windward mark rounding, where wind readings were in the 20 – 22 kt range with gusts to 25 kts. However Steve Benjamin’s team of Dave Hughes, Ian Liberty, and Michael Menninger, and Eric Doyle’s (USA) team of Ezra Culver and Payson Infelise pulled ahead and traded the lead up and down the course. Benjamin finished first with Doyle nipping at his heels putting him in first place overall with 36 points.
“I really appreciate my crew,” said Benjamin. “They work hard, sail well, and there’s great chemistry. We really work well as a team.” He added, “The competition is so tight – it’s exhilarating to be racing in a fleet this good.”
After scoring a second in Race 7 and a third in Race 8, Graeme Taylor (AUS) and his team of James Mayo and Steve Jarvin now sit in second with 44 points. “Today we focused on getting off the line clean after going back twice yesterday, and just sent it,” said Taylor. “We’re really happy to come away with two top threes and we will just have to see how it all plays out tomorrow.”
Senet Bischoff’s disappointing finishes today leave him in third place with 51 points. Jim Cunningham is fourth with 53 points.
With the teams this close in points, and the intensity of the racing, the overall championship is still up for grabs. The ninth and final race of the regatta will be a nail-biter!
Day Four Provisional Results (top 10)
Steve Benjamin, USA 1427, Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, (33), 3, 7, 3, 15, 2, 5, 1; 36
Graeme Taylor, AUS 947, Morningtown YC, 15, 5, 6, (24), 10, 3, 2, 3; 44
Senet Bischoff, USA 1349, NYYC, 6, 13, 5, 4, 3, 1, (OCS-52), 19; 51
Jim Cunningham, USA 1404, SFYC, (31), 7, 4, 2, 9, 7, 17, 7; 53
Martin Hill, AUS 925, RSYS, 12, (22), 16, 1, 22, 4, 4, 6; 65
Mark Thornburrow, HKG 1406, 10, 6, 10, 7, 17, 6, (24), 17; 73
Don Jesberg, USA 1429, SFYC, 19, (27), 2, 8, 11, 21, 3, 21; 85
Scott Kaufman, USA 1198, RSYS, SIYC, 20, (28), 3, 16, 1, 16, 20, 16; 92
Dirk Kneulman, BER 1454, RCYC, 8, 1, 8, 20, 25, 26, 7, (32); 94
Iain Murray, AUS 1119, RSYS, 17, 9, (24), 12, 16, 18, 10, 12; 94
For complete regatta information and results, please see the event website at http://2017.etchellsworlds.org
Daily on-the-water reports are available from Nic Douglas, Adventures of a Sailor Girl www.nicdouglass.org/etchells2017
Photos will be available from Rockskipper Photography, www.rockskipper.com
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.