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San Diego Etchells Sailors Compete at Fall Events at Home and Around the Globe (Oct. 2016)

Due to an unusual weather system bringing in warm air from the desert, sailors arrived to the starting line on Saturday morning of the September One Design Weekend to find the wind coming from a very unusual NNE direction. This meant that the weather mark was tucked in the NW corner off of Coronado Island and while the entire course was shielded from ocean swells, the wind was shifty due to the effects of the Point Loma headlands.

Steve Hunt (USA 873) seemed to have a slight speed advantage with his flat water rig tuning and always seemed to be in the favored right corner and in phase with the wind shifts. He won 6 out of 8 races and was 1st overall for the weekend. Chris Snow (USA 1018) sailed very consistently, winning race 6 and had top 3 finishes in the other races, finished 2nd for the weekend. Team Davis (USA 1066), with Judge Ryan on the helm, held off Steve Hunt in a downwind tacking duel to win race 5, finishing 3rd overall for the weekend.    

The October ODW saw some new faces on the on the top of the leader board. Chris Busch (USA 969) who has spent the last few seasons calling tactics for Tom Carruthers on the international Etchells regatta circuit, had his own boat on the line for the weekend.  Chris, who was a top 5 finisher at the 2011 San Diego Worlds the last time he was at the helm of USA 969, picked up where he left off, logging 6 race wins and grabbed the top position overall for the weekend. Team Davis (USA 1066), with Chuck Sinks on the helm this month, sailed consistently to take 2nd for the weekend. Xavier Sheid (USA 665), our Fleet Captain, was the only boat able grab the top spot from Chris Busch, and won race 4 after Chris’ OCS start, finishing 3rd overall for the weekend.

In early September, the Etchells Worlds were held in the Solent off the City of Cowes located on Isle of Wight in the UK. The Solent is one of the most iconic sailing venues in the world and one of the most difficult with currents as high as 4 knots and steep faced chop. Three of our local fleet members participated in the event including Tom Carruthers (USA 1000) with Chris Busch aboard as tactician, Kjeld Hestehave (USA 977) with Chuck Skewes aboard as tactician and Argyle Campbell (USA 1375). There were 58 competitors from 8 nations that sailed 9 races over 6 days. Numerous reports stated that this was one of the most deeply talent fields ever to assemble for an Etchells Worlds.      

Tom Carruthers, who established himself as one of the top contenders prior the Worlds based on good results in the pre-worlds regattas, cracked the top 10 in numerous races and finished a very respectable 16th overall. Argyle Campbell (USA 1375) won a very exciting heavy air race 6 going away and finished 4th in race 8. Considering the depth of talent, challenging conditions and the logistical challenges of participating in a regatta halfway around the globe, all those that attended should feel a tremendous sense of personal accomplishment for their participation and being great representatives of SDYC and Etchells Fleet 13.


The eventual Worlds winner was none other than Australian John Bertrand, the 1983 America’s Cup winner. John has continued to remain active in sailing thorough participation in the Etchells class and an interesting fact is that he won this regatta a few months short of his 70th birthday. This is quite an accomplishment considering the depth of talent in the fleet.     

Most recently Charlie Mann (USA 1138) and his team of JC Langlois and Patrick Sloan travelled to San Francisco Bay the weekend of September 30th to compete the Etchells North Americans hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club. It’s always a challenge for San Diego based Etchells, which have optimized their tuning for mild winds and ocean swells, to make tuning adjustment to race in SF Bay’s heavier winds, flatter water and short wave chop.  Charlie and his crew had a challenging 1st day as they acclimated to the conditions and dialed in their tuning. They also had equipment breakdowns in races 2 and 3 while they were near the front of the fleet which hurt their results. By the second day they had their equipment issues fixed and moved up substantially in the fleet standings and logged top 5 and top 10 finishes. In race 6 they got a great start and lead the fleet around 2 legs of the course. Going up the last upwind leg the fleet split and a group of boat on the opposite side of the course got a big shift and sneaked in on the leader pack but Charlie was able to hold on for a 5th. Hopefully Charlie and his team can shares some valuable tuning pointers with our fleet members who will be attending next year’s Etchells Worlds also scheduled for SF Bay. 

Finally, through September, Team Davis (USA 1066) is firmly in the lead of both the Fleet Championship Series and the Faulconer Cup by 175+ pts and is looking to three-peat. In second place in both the Fleet Championship and the Faulconer Cup is Chris Snow (USA 1018).  Steve Hunt (USA 873) is 3rd in the Fleet Championship and Tom Carruthers USA (1000) is 3rd for the Faulconer Cup.