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Etchells Feb. ODW Race Report

The Saturday of the February ODW turned out to be a very long and challenging day on the race course for Etchells sailors who witnessed one of the most outstanding performances that has occurred in recent years.  

As the result of El Nino taking a break, sailors arrived at Coronado Roads on Saturday morning to find sunny weather and a sea breeze that had already filled from 8 knots from 275. PRO Sue Graff took advantage of the morning winds to get the 1st race off on time and with .8 miles weather legs. By the start of the second race, the wind had increased to 10 knots and continued to increase throughout the day with few major shifts. This made for quick races, and with efficient work by the PRO to minimize time between races, the fleet sailed a total of 5 races for the day, with the last 3 sailed in winds in the 12 to 13 knot range.

One team was able to master the conditions and showed great stamina which was Andy La Dow on MOFO US 985. They got excellent starts, showed good boat speed and ending the day with an incredible 5 bullets!! This is quite a feat for the Etchells class because of the competiveness and deep talent in Fleet 13. Long term fleet members commented that, “going back at least ten years, they could not recall anybody ever logging this many consecutive bullets in an ODW”.      

“I really owe our success to my crew which included Max Hutcheson and my son Jake La Dow” stated Andy La Dow when asked what his keys to success were. “Max is a top intercollegiate sailor at USC and is sailing at a very high level. Jake races on a world champion Melges 32 team and is also active in Melges 20's and J 70's and sails all over the world. Jake and Max were very focused on dialing in our tuning which allowed us to quickly make changes when conditions warranted it to remain at the top of the fleet speed wise. This made me feel pretty confident in our speed and allowed me to really focus on starts and driving”.

Sunday conditions were more in line with normal sea breeze conditions and three more races were completed in moderate winds. USA 1066 with, Geoff Davis, Wally Eaton and Tyler Sinks skippering, took bullets in race 6 and 8 and Nicholas Kaschak USA 640 took a bullet in race 7.  Andy La Dow added all top 5 finishes to his Saturday results so he was the overall February ODW winner. USA 1066 finished second and USA 1018, with John Rudderham, Alex Ascunsion, Kara Voss and Chris Snow skippering, sailed very consistently. They ended up with all top 5 finishes and finished 3rd  overall for the weekend.   .

Next on the schedule for the Etchells fleet is the West Coast Spring Series (WCSS), a new series for the Etchells class first hosted by SDYC in 2015. The WCSS was originally conceived by Etchells Fleet 13 members Tom Carruthers and Vince Brun. Tom has been very active traveling nationally for Etchells events and won the 2014 Etchells North Americans in Chicago. Vince is a former world champion in the Etchells class. In recent years they have traveled to Miami each winter for the Biscayne Bay Series (formally the Jaguar cup), another very successful Etchells series that routinely attracts 50+ boats and has become one of the premier events on the Etchells regatta circuit.

They thought this format could be successful on the West Coast since they allowed northern fleet members to winter in San Diego’s warm climate, race in a series of events and provide local Fleet 13 members the opportunity to participate additional high level events with larger fleets. The WCSS format follows, similar to the Biscayne Bay Series, and encompasses 4 regattas sailed over the spring of 2016 and include these events:

NOOD / Bill Bennett Cup         March 19-20

West Coast Mid-Winters         April 1-3

Pacific Coast Championship    April 9-10

Orca Bowl                                   June 14-15

Competitors will compete for individual trophies for each event plus the top five WCSS finishers will be awarded trophies at the conclusion of the series. The inaugural WCSS was won by Fleet 13 member Argyle Campbell from Newport Beach.  Argyle and also won the Biscayne Bay Series in 2015 and continues a string of top finishes by Fleet 13 members at national events.   

For more information and to see results, please visit the WCSS home page at: