You are here


Bruce Nelson wins the ORCA Bowl and sets a milestone as an 8-time winner of this event and 

Jim Cunningham repeats as overall the West Coast Spring Series (WCSS) Winner

Orca Bowl, the last event in of the Etchells WCSS, was sailed the weekend of May 18th & 19th out on Coronado Roads.  Strom fronts had been passing through the San Diego area all week but Saturday dawned with clear skies and the wind out of the South. This made the racing interesting because the course was less right favored than typical and both sides of the course seem to work depending on the leg.   

The 1st race got off in light winds and Chris Snow (USA 1018) took the race win.  Bruce Nelson (USA 986) won race 2 and 3 by staying in the breeze and constantly playing the left side of the course to his favor.

Sunday morning’s forecast called for rain early in the day with strong winds coming through as the front cleared.  Corinthian towed the competitors out to Coronado Roads in a steady cold rain with competitors waiting for 1 3/4 hours for the rains to clear.  As the clouds broke the race got off and winds quickly built to 20+ knots with confusing seas making for some of the most challenging conditions Etchells sailors have seen in years in San Diego.  A group of boats, including Bruce Nelson (USA 968), Tom Carruthers (USA 1411), Chris Snow (USA 1018) and Mike Terry (USA 1263) were all over lapped at the 1st windward mark and had separated from the pack.  Chris Snow was able to the take lead on the 1st downwind leg and held on to secure the win in race 1.    

The heavy winds took a heavy toll on the fleet and only 8 out of 16 boats were able to make it to the starting line for the final race. Tom Carruthers tacked right at the start of race 2, got a nice right-hand shift, and lead at every mark to win the final race.  He and crew really put on a display of heavy air boat speed.      

Despite a spectacular broach on the 1st downwind leg of race 1 Bruce Nelson finished  3 and 2 for the day and this coupled with his 2 races wins from Saturday was enough to give him the ORCA Bowl title by 1 point.  Tom Carruthers finished 2nd overall and Chris Snow who had 2 race wins finished 3rd overall.  The top Corinthian Team finisher was USA 1138 with Bill Jenkins filling in on the helm for Charlie Mann. Rick Goebel (USA 969) finished 2nd and Mike Terry (USA 1263) was 3rd.  

This year’s ORCA Bowl title was Bruce Nelson 8th Orca Bowl championship. Over the 27 year history of the event the ORCA Bowl has always fielded a very competitive group of top sailors and the Orca Bowl winner list is dominated by many world class one design and America’s Cup sailors.  It is a tremendous accomplishment that Bruce, who won his 1st championship back in 1989, has been able to dominate this event over the years.         

The WCSS winner is determined by lowest score in the 4 regatta series with 1 throw out.  Going into the Orca Bowl Jim Cunningham had a comfortable lead.  Jim, who is the IECA Chairman, had to move over to Texas to sail in the Etchells NA in preparation for upcoming Worlds in Texas and was not able to sail in ORCA Bowl.  Based on his 2, 2 and 1 finish in previous WCSS events the only competitor that could challenge his lead was Eric Doyle and since Eric was also off sailing Stars, Jim had the WCSS title secured.  Jim was also winner of the 2018 WCSS so congratulations to Jim for defending his title!

Tom Carruthers (USA 1411), winner of the NOOD/Bill Bennet and 2nd in the ORCA Bowl moved up to 2nd overall and Eric Doyle (USA 1177), winner of Etchells Mid-Winters West, finished 3rd.  Rick Goebel (USA 969) has been out of the Etchells fleet for some time but together a team with members from his big boat program and was very competitive throughout the WCSS events and took top Corinthian honors for the WCSS. 

Etchells WCSS Final Results

2019 WCSS Overall

1st   USA 1404  Jim Cunningham

Crew -  Steve Hunt / Mark Ivey / Serena Vilage


2nd   USA 1411  Tom Carruthers

Crew - Chris Busch / Ben Mitchell


3rd    USA 1177   Eric Doyle

Crew - Patrick Powell / Chuck Eaton


2019 WCSS Corinthian

1st  USA 969   Rick Goebel

 Crew - Alan Nakanishi / Shawn Burke / Carrie Wiley


2nd  USA 1137  Charlie Mann 

Crew - JC Langlois / Bill Jenkins


3rd  USA 1232   Xavier Sheid

 Crew - John Rudderham / Chris Smith