Scott Kaufman Wins 2017 Etchells North American Championship

Today was an exciting last day of the 2017 Etchells North American Championship hosted by San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) and Etchells Fleet 13. Twenty-nine teams completed the last two races in Coronado Roads, culminating in a new North American Champion after eight total races.

Saturday's last race was by far the most exciting of the event. Almost all races prior had a commanding leader, clearly out in front of the fleet. Alternatively, race eight had several leader changes throughout the five legs, increasing the anticipation among race competitors and spectators who were trying to predict the ultimate race winner. 

Scott Kaufman (USA 1198) placed second in race eight, but with 25 points total after three days of racing, he was named the 2017 Etchells North American Champion. Friday was Kaufman's best day out on the water with two bullets and one third place finish. Kaufman was sure to thank his crew of Jesse Kirkland, Alex Curtiss, and Austen Anderson for the team's success.

"We sailed really, really well. We’ve been trying to improve our game for a long time. With a good group on the boat, things went our way. We had really nice starts, good boat speed and that helps with these tactics if you can get off the line really well."

This is Kaufman's first win of the Etchells North American Championship. "I am esteemed to be among the other people who are on that list. It’s amazing, a whole history of sailing has won this event. And we did it!"

Next for Kaufman is the Etchells World Championship in September in San Francisco. "It’s completely opposite’s going to be breeze on up there. San Diego has very light breezes so we will take the boat up with different sails. We know our settings reasonably well in the breeze so we are going to practice then go up and race.”

Keith Whittemore (USA 1152) ended the day as the top Corinthian boat with his team of Peter Busch, Brian Thomas, and Kevin Downey. Teams in the Corinthian division do not have any professional sailors on board. 

“We are not professionals and there’s a lot of professionals in this fleet. There’s a lot of really good sailors. It is meaningful to us that we can compete with professional teams and that makes us proud of what we do. We come out and sail whenever we can."

Whittemore traveled from Seattle to San Diego for this event. He claimed San Diego as a city with his preferred sailing conditions and SDYC as one of his favorite event venues.

“Part of the fun of San Diego is the tow out and tow back. You get an hour of either talking about sailboat racing or talking about life. It’s an enjoyable way to either wind up or wind down.”

Event Chairman, Xavier Sheid (USA 1234), was grateful for the camaraderie among competitors, especially those who traveled a far distance to attend the event.

"SDYC and Etchells fleet 13 are delighted to have had so many competitors from out of town join us for this regatta. It turned out to be very challenging conditions with nobody really dominating until the last day."

San Diego Yacht Club Commodore John Reiter congratulated Kaufman on his win and invited all other competitors to enjoy SDYC's hospitality.

"SDYC showed off everything we have this week for the competitors. We designed the Malin Burnham Sailing Center with this exact regatta in mind - the downstairs Frost Room for instance is large enough to measure an Etchells mainsail! We served up champagne sailing conditions with 10-12 knots everyday, just like in the brochure. When teams came in from a hard days racing they were greeted with our mobile docks to create a village atmosphere. Congratulations to Scott Kaufman and crew on their hard earned win. Besting this field was no easy task and they should hold their heads high!"

Top three competitors overall: Scott Kaufman (25 points), Steve Benjamin (38 points), and Argyle Campbell (45 points).

Top three competitors overall in the Corinthian Division: Keith Whittemore (60 points), Ted Hardenbergh (74 points), and Charlie Mann (128 points).

Finals results can be found here

A big applause goes to the Race Committee for running eight races this weekend seamlessly, especially PRO Bill Stump. Big thanks to the Etchells Fleet 13 and Event Chairman Xavier Sheid for all of his hard work.

The Etchells Fleet would like to thank its sponsors: Bay City Brewing CompanySailing Supply, and the Port of San Diego.

Photos courtesy of Cynthia Sinclair Photography. Photos from all three days of the event are located here

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Emily Willhoft.

Kaufman Takes Day Two of Etchells North American Championship

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 CompanySailing 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.

Emily Willhoft
Communications Director
o: 619-758-6316

Etchells North Americans Begins with Camet Leading

The first day of the 2017 Etchells North American Championship was a true textbook definition of champagne sailing. The talent of the twenty-nine boat fleet was apparent as competitors took to the waters for the first part of the three day long battle for the title of Etchells North American Champion.

Race Committee ran three races in Coronado Roads in sunny, warm weather complete with the San Diego skyline as a stunning backdrop to the day. Racing was slightly delayed at the start of the day as the wind picked up. After one general recall, the wind remained about 10-12 knots, and racing continued uninterrupted.

Alex Camet and his team of Ben Mitchell and Patrick Powell (USA 1216) lead the event with 9 points. “Today went great. We had a nice, fun, conservative day and we tried to avoid big scores which went well for us. Argyle Campbell is doing really well. He has two firsts so we’re watching him. We noticed today that a lot of competitors had two good races and one bad one."

Camet plans to remain steady for the duration of the championship after having a successful first day. "It was long day, but to reiterate, we’re trying to stay conservative, sail smart, keep our options open, and try not to find ourselves in a bad position.”

As Camet mentioned, Argyle Campbell and his team of Luke Lawrence, Brian Janney, and Anton Schmid (USA 1433) also sailed well today, ending the day in second with 12 points. 

Campbell shared what he learned throughout the day. "It was a tricky day of sailing and it turned out that the right side of the course was favored all day. We didn’t figure that out until the second race by accident- we had a horrible start. We tacked and went behind everybody and all of the sudden were on the right side. By the time we got we got up the course, we were in first place and we managed to stay in first place."

In third with 21 points is Steve Benjamin and his team of Michael Menninger, Dave Hughes, and Ian Liberty (USA 1228). Benjamin has won this event for the past two years and is hunting for a third win this weekend.

Ted Hardenbergh (USA 1012) sits mid-fleet after day one, but is second in the Corinthian Division. Hardenbergh sails with his two brothers Mark and Jamie.

“The first race we had a clean lane and it went great. The second two races we got hammered at the start and it was hard to recover from a bad start. This fleet is incredibly deep so once you’re mid-fleet or below, you’re done. This course tends to be one sided and if you can’t get out to the right, it hurts. Tomorrow we plan to start a little further down the line to give ourselves the opportunity to tack sooner since most boats will peel off early."

Hardenbergh also commented on the level of competition this fleet brings. "The fleet is deep and the top half is very, very good. If we can be in the top third of the fleet, we’d be ecstatic."

Keith Whittemore (USA 1152) leads the Corinthian Division with Kjeld Hestehave (USA 971) rounding out the top 3. 

Complete results from day one can be found here

Racing continues at 11:25am Friday morning and 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. More photos from day one are located here.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Emily Willhoft.

Impressive Fleet of Entries for 2017 Etchells North American Championship

We’re less than a week away from the start of the 2017 Etchells North American Championship hosted by San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) and Etchells Fleet 13. SDYC and Etchells Fleet 13, hosts of this event in 2010 and also the Etchells World Championship hosts in 2011, will welcome 30 Etchells to San Diego’s ocean venue, Coronado Roads, from August 16-19.

Etchells North Americans, which precedes the Etchells World Championship this September in San Francisco, will be a high stakes regatta, with several world class competitors vying for the title of Etchells North American Champion.

The holder of this title for the past two years, Steve Benjamin from Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in New York, will be back this year on the hunt for a third win.

“We are really looking forward to racing the Etchells North Americans again in San Diego. The event is always hyper competitive, and this year will have more top teams than ever! Three years ago we were runner up to Tom Carruthers’ team in Chicago. That regatta was epic, and the last day had huge waves on Lake Michigan.”

Benjamin reflected on his prior wins of the event. “In 2015 we won the event at American Yacht Club, ahead of the World Championships in Hong Kong. And last year we won at the San Francisco Yacht Club in a very close series. So, our team on TERRAPIN including Michael Menninger, Ian Liberty, Dave Hughes and I can't wait to see all our friends in the Etchells Class and do some great racing in San Diego next week.”

Another previous winner, Bruce Nelson from SDYC, will race in his hometown waters.

“It is exciting to have the Etchells North American Championship back in San Diego again, and having finished second the last time in 2010 and won the previous time in 1995, I am looking forward to the pressure! The fleet of entries is most impressive this year, so it will be tough to land on the podium in this one, but Team Rhino will be out there fighting hard as usual – we’re expecting a fun event.”

After three days of fierce racing, the 2017 winner will be named at 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.

2017 Etchells North American Championship Will Test Wits and Stamina

SAN DIEGO (July 18, 2017) From August 16-19, San Diego Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 13 will host the 2017 International Etchells Class North American Championship. Over 30 Etchells are expected to race in San Diego’s ocean venue called the Coronado Roads over four days for the opportunity to be named the Etchells North American Champion. This event precedes the Etchells World Championship, which will be held this September in San Francisco.

San Diego Yacht Club is a familiar venue for many of these Etchells sailors. SDYC last hosted the event in 2010 and also hosted the World Championship in 2011.

Several world class competitors have already registered for the event, including Tom Carruthers, the 2017 Etchells West Coast Spring Series overall winner and the 2014 Etchells North American Championship winner. “The 2017 Etchells North American Championship should include a fleet from all over the world. I know of at least two Australian competitors, as well as quite a few from the East Coast. I'm glad SDYC has the opportunity to host the event, and I know they will provide their normal excellent hospitality.”

The Etchells North American Champion for the past two consecutive years is Steve Benjamin from Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in New York. Benjamin will be back this August to defend the title, with one change in crew from the 2016 race.

Argyle Campbell, the 2017 San Diego National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Overall Winner, will also compete in the Etchells North American Championship. “San Diego is a very challenging venue and a great place to sail. Every race presents opportunities to gain or lose. Just when you think the only way to go is right, the left comes in strong.”

According to Campbell, “Boat speed is especially important in San Diego. The local boats all seem to have it and sometimes the visitors are a little off the pace. The surface chop, wave angle, and current will all play a part in the eventual placings for each race and for the overall regatta. Most of the forgoing can be overcome by great starts.”

This event is open to international competitors and for the second time this year, and Jeanne-Claude Strong will travel to SDYC to race with her team all the way from Australia. SDYC’s Etchells Midwinters Regatta this past March was the first time Strong had raced in the US. “We’ve had a rather good year this season, winning the Etchells Queensland and Victorian State Championships, and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron awarded me Yachtswoman of the Year for the second time, which was very kind of them. We really look forward to coming back to SDYC in August- a magnificent club, facilities and people, perfect weather. In the meantime we’re training for the North Americans and the Worlds in San Francisco.”

The U.S. Class Chairman, Xavier Sheid, welcomes the active Etchells fleet to San Diego for this highly anticipated event.

"Etchells Fleet 13 is very excited and honored to host the 2017 International Etchells North American Championship with San Diego Yacht Club. Over the past year the International Etchells Class has been very active with significant championship regattas all over the globe. With so much great racing activity, from Cowes to Swan River to Biscayne Bay to San Diego, the skill levels of our world class competitors has never been better. The 2017 International Etchells North Americans promises to be a true test of wits and stamina, and an excellent milestone on the way to the 2017 International Etchells World Championship in San Francisco in September."

SDYC’s Commodore, John Reiter, is also eager to host the Etchells competitors and share SDYC’s facilities for this event.

"Welcome home! For those who don't know, we literally built the Malin Burnham Sailing Center with you in mind! The check-in room was designed to hold an E22 mainsail on the floor for measuring... the showers are right across the hallway for when you get in after sailing, and the video monitors both downstairs and upstairs are available for you and well-wishers or coaches to use for debriefs each day! Yes, this really is Sailing Heaven to paraphrase the movie Field of Dreams.

Make sure your teams are well fed and watered in our dining room and bar, and that you ask one of our amazing staff members for anything you need - from a pair of pliers to an extra tow line - everyone inside the gates of 1011 Anchorage Lane is here to make (or keep) this your favorite place to sail on the planet. Good luck and remember: weather helm is slow...!"

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.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Emily Willhoft.

Emily Willhoft
Communications Director
o: 619-758-6316


About SDYC
The San Diego Yacht Club encourages and fosters an environment that helps and continues to produce the best in the world of boating-related activities. Founded in 1886, SDYC has become a world renown sailing community recognized for its success in bay sailing, ocean racing, cruising, angling, and its world class youth sailing program. SDYC is consistently ranked among the top 5 yacht clubs in the U.S. and is recognized by the Club Leadership Forum as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world. 

New Boat, Same Old Result for Benjamin at Etchells Nationals

Article by Stuart Streuli, Communications Director, NYYC

NEWPORT, R.I. — Everybody loves a new race boat. But until it proves itself on the racecourse, there's always a tiny kernel of worry it won't live up to expectations, or even equal the performance of the boat being replaced. We all know what they say about a bird in the hand. Steve Benjamin and his team can cross that concern off their work list after sailing the freshly-splashed Stella Blue (aka USA 1427) to the 2017 Etchells U.S. National Championship, which was held as part of the inaugural New York Yacht Club One-Design Regatta, in Newport, R.I. Melges 20 and J/70 fleets also competed in the event.

Benjamin, and his team of Mike Menninger, Ian Liberty and David Hughes, were dominant over the course of the three-day regatta, winning four of eight races and finishing with a 17-point advantage over George Francisco in second place. Chris Larson finished third, one point behind second. The U.S. Etchells Youth Team, led by Connor Needham, finished 12th of 15 boats in their debut appearance courtesy of an effort designed to infuse some fresh blood into the class.

“Basically good teamwork," said Benjamin when asked about his keys to success. "We’ve got good camaraderie on board, good chemistry, and the teamwork is getting better and better. David Hughes joined us after the 2016 Worlds. He’s just very professional about the whole thing, with his [2016 Rio Olympic] 470 campaign, and he sails 230 days a year. Michael and I are sailing a lot together. He is on the TP52 as well. Ian’s really the work horse on the program. He does all the spinnaker clean-up, a lot of the hiking, and a lot of the dirty jobs.”

Benjamin won a silver medal in the 470 class in the 1984 Olympics, and is no stranger to that nose-tickling new-boat smell. But he held off ordering an Etchells from Dirk Kneulman's Ontario Yachts until he knew exactly how he wanted it set up. Benjamin typically sails as part of a four-person team and the ideal cockpit layout for that arrangement differs a bit from the traditional configuration, which was designed around a crew of three.

“There’s been an evolution with Etchells over the years, so that’s why we worked with the used boats trying to get the tuning and the systems all straightened out," says Benjamin, adding that the new boat was a present from his wife, Heidi. "This boat we just did everything that we wanted straight from the beginning and designed it that way. Dirk did a really nice job on this boat. It’s everything that we hoped it would be.”

New boat or old, Benjamin has been on some kind of a roll the past 15 months. He won the 2016 Etchells Nationals last March in Florida, finished second at the 2016 Etchells Worlds last summer in Great Britain and won the prestigious Biscayne Bay Etchells Series this past winter. He has two more Etchells events in the Northeast before he heads west for the North Americans in San Diego in August and the Worlds in San Francisco in September. With a new boat and a crack crew, momentum seems to be growing for Benjamin. But if his five decades of racing experience has taught him anything, it's to never take good results for granted.

In winning the Melges 20 division, Wes Whitmyer Jr. (far right) equaled Benjamin's win total in just five races. He and his team on Slingshot won the class by four points over Drew Freides. Both of those teams will be back in Newport this October to contest for that class's world championship, which will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club. Whitmyer was the picture of cautious optimism at the post-regatta awards.

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves," says Whitmyer, of Stamford, Conn. "It's nice to do well at the New York Yacht Club, which I've been a member of for many years. It's nice to do well against pretty high level guys; some of the U.S. favorites were here this weekend. So [this win is] something for us to build on."

In the J/70 division (above, left), Brian Keane won the regatta by two points over John Brim with Bruno Pasquinelli in third.



2017 New York Yacht Club One-Design Regatta
Final Results (Click here for full results)

Etchells National Championship (8 races, 1 throwout)
1. Steve Benjamin, Stella Blue, 2-1-1-2-1-3-(7)-1, 11; 2. George Francisco, American Baby, 6-2-4-5-4-5-2-(7), 28; 3. Chris Larson, USA 1228, 1-5-2-7-(11)-10-1-3, 29.

Scott Kaufman Wins 2017 Etchells North Americans

Scott Kaufman (NYYC) sailing with Jesse Kirkland, Alex Curtiss and Austen Anderson are the 2017 Etchells North American Championships, besting a fleet of 20 Etchells in San Diego, CA. More details coming soon.

Welcome to the 2017 Etchells North American Championship

San Diego Yacht Club and the Etchells Fleet 13 welcome Etchells sailors from North America to San Diego this summer for the 2017 Etchells North American Championship. San Diego has an active and highly competitive Etchells fleet, sailing every month in the same venue where the NA Championship will be held. We invite Etchells sailors to come sail with some of the best in the Class including some recent World Champions.

Argyle Campbell’s Etchells Teams Wins Overall NOOD in San Diego

Thirteen individual class winners took home first-place trophies at the culmination of the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta San Diego on Sunday, but only one was crowned Overall Winner – skipper Argyle Campbell, of Newport Beach, Calif.

Campbell and his team aboard Rock n’ Roll prevailed in the Etchells class, which was the largest of the regatta and considered the most competitive of the three-day event. Campbell is enjoying a return to the Etchells class, a classic raceboat he finds both challenging and rewarding.

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Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta San Diego 2017... by sailingworld