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Etchells PCC Race Report 2016

The third event of the Etchells West Coast Spring Series (WCSS) was the Etchells Pacific Coast Championship (PCC) which was sailed the weekend of April 9_10.  The weekend forecast called for intermittent rain squalls with winds of 15 to 20 knots and gusts up to 25+ knots so as competitors prepared for the weekend they very concerned that they might be in for some brutal weather conditions. On Saturday morning Etchells arrived to the start line on Coronado Roads and were surprised to find a mild south breeze and semi cloudy skies.  Looking out to the south there was a very visible storm line so the race committee got the 1st race off quickly to try to get some races in before the conditions deteriorated.

At the start of race 1 many sailors were anticipating that the wind would go further left so the fleet was bunched at the pin.  Steve Hunt (USA 873) was the exception and started near the committee boat. He got into some small puffs coming down the right side of the course and jumped out on the fleet.  Near the top of the leg Steve them crossed over to the left side of the course and was the 1st to get to a significant left shift which gave him a huge 50 yar lead at the 1st mark. He easily held to the lead through the rest of the race for the win in race 1. Don Jesberg (USA 1229) finished second and Bruce Nelson (USA 876) grabbed 3rd.

As the storm front moved north it diverted inland, which lighted the wind for race 2 and 3, but the fleet was able to get 2 more races in rather pleasant partly sunny conditions and avoid the potential carnage of having to sail in a rain squall with 20+ knot winds. Steve Hunt (USA 873) went on to win the last two races of the day. In each of these races he had to come from behind for the win and seemed to be more consistant at picking the favored side of the course and finding the velocity.

Sunday’s forecast was for more inclement weather. Winds were in the 8 to 10 knots range for race 1 and continued to build to 12 to 15 knots for the last 2 races but amazingly the sun held and the inclement stayed offshore so the fleet was able get the entire weekends racing in without single drop of rain. 

Race 2 on Sunday was the most exciting race of the weekend with three boats fighting it out for the win. Chris Snow (USA 1018), Bruce Nelson (USA 986) and Steve Hunt (USA 873) were one, two and three at the first mark and fought back and forth for the lead the entire race. Going down the last leg all three boats where overlapped and in a virtual tie.  As they neared the finish line the most leeward boat Steve Hunt (USA 874) luffed the other two windward boats. As the boats turned back down to the finish Steve Hunt was able to get his spinnaker to fill first and got his nose out on the other boats for a photo finish race win.

With 4 race wins Steve Hunt (USA 873) was crowned the PCC champ.  At the awards ceremony we learned, that even after a 3 bullet day on Saturday, the regatta was not necessary in the bag since Steve was up all night with a case of the flu. “I was barely able to hold the tiller straight during Sunday’s races” commented Steve, “I have to give credit to my crew who really carried me through the day on Sunday”. Steve’s crew consisted of Erik Shampain, a multi world champion Etchells crew, on Jib and calling tactics downwind, Matt Pistay was in the middle and Lara Dalman-Weiss trimmed main.  Steve also gave credit to his wife Cris Teena who did round the clock shore duty caring for their 1.5 year old twin boys.

Second place finisher for PCC was Bruce Nelson (USA 986).  Bruce sail very constant with all top 4 or better finishes and 3rd place was Argyle Campbell (USA 1375) who was also the race 6 winner.  The Top Corinthian was Don Jesberg (US 1229) from SF Bay. Don won race 4 and finished in 4th place in the overall scoring. In 5th place was Tom Carruthers (USA 1000).  

WCSS Standings after 3 events:

  1. Tom Caruthers (USA 1000)   10 pts
  2. Bruce Nelson (USA 986)        13 pts
  3. Rodi/Snow (USA 1018)          16 pts
  4. Sink /Davis (USA 1066)           20 pts
  5. Steve Hunt (USA 873)            31 pts

Top Corinthian - Charlie Mann (USA 1157)

The final event of the WCSS will be the Orca Bowl which will be sailed on the weekend of May 14-15. Competitors have a throw-out to use so any of the top 5 boats have a chance at the series win so the fleet looks forward to a very exciting finale to the WCSS.