It was another day of remarkable conditions at the 2017 Etchells North American Championship hosted by San Diego Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 13. Out on the Coronado Roads race course were twenty-nine teams that completed three races on the second day of the championship in bright skies and winds ranging from 7-10 knots.
The theme of Friday's racing can be described in two words: go right. Shannon Bush (USA 1415) realized early on that this was going to be the key to success out on the water.
“The story today was go right. We learned to connect the dots and stay in pressure. There was more pressure on the race course today compared to yesterday, but you still had to get right. It’s San Diego… go right!"
Bush revealed that she has not been in an Etchells boat in five months and that she is using the North American Championship as a refresher course before the Etchells World Championship this September in San Francisco.
"We came back from the Worlds in Cowes last year to San Francisco and it was really light. You never know what you’re going to get there. This is a great fleet, a deep fleet, so I'm going to continue to improve our game and work on timing. Any time I can have in the boat is a bonus.”
Andrew Campbell is another sailor in this championship who hasn't spent much time in an Etchells boat recently. It's understandable since he just returned to the United States one month ago after training and racing in Bermuda for the 2017 America's Cup for Team Oracle.
“I’m glad to get out and go sailing with these guys. It’s cool to have the International fleet here and most of the top US guys are here so I like to support that kind of fleet. These guys are all good friends and people I’ve raced against for the last few years so it’s nice to welcome them here. I’m looking forward to getting back into sailing Etchells more often."
Campbell is crewing for Chris Snow (USA 1018) along with Chris Nesbitt and Piper Holthus and was pleased to race in another day of champagne conditions.
“We had a really nice day today. Once we got out there it showed that it was going to be a chamber of commerce day- the sun came out early, the breeze came on early, and we showed this whole fleet what San Diego should be like in August."
Steve Benjamin (USA 1228) was another competitor who had a good day today. Defending his Etchells North American Champion title for the past two years, Benjamin is hoping to seal the deal in the last two races tomorrow.
"We have a 13 point deficit to catch up to get to first, but there are three other boats ahead of us so we just need to have two good races tomorrow. We’re defending from the past two years so we’d like to win this race again. Our main goal really is the World Championship next month in San Francisco. But no matter what, it’s fun… we love it here.”’
There's a lot of top talent in Benjamin's crew of Michael Menninger, Dave Hughes, and Ian Liberty. Hughes sails on the US Olympic team in the 470 crewing for Stu McNay and Liberty has also sailed Olympic campaigns in the past.
At the top of the leaderboard after day two is Scott Kaufman (USA 1198) and his team of Jesse Kirkland, Lucas Calabrase, and Austen Anderson with 14 points. Kaufman was another competitor who emphasized how key it was to stay on the right side of the course.
“We got off the line perfectly, 3 races out of 3, and it turned out really good. If we get one or two good races tomorrow, I think we’ll be in the top 3 and that’s definitely our goal. The main thing today was getting off the line really well. The start was everything- you had to go right.”
Top three competitors after six races are: Scott Kaufman (14 points), Alex Camet (20 points), and Argyle Campbell (21 points).
The the top three competitors in the Corinthian Division are: Keith Whittemore (46 points), Ted Hardenbergh (59 points), and Kjeld Hestehave (81 points).
Complete results after six races can be found here.
Racing continues at 11:25am on Saturday morning. The awards ceremony will be held at San Diego Yacht Club after the completion of races on Saturday, August 19th.
The Etchells Fleet would like to thank its sponsors: Bay City Brewing Company, Sailing Supply, and the Port of San Diego.
Photos courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair Photography. Photos from Thursday and Friday are located here.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact Emily Willhoft.