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 conditions…it’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 Company, Sailing 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.