It was a dramatic finish to the third day of the Etchells World Championship, sponsored by Red Funnel Ferries. John Bertrand, representing the Royal Brighton Yacht Club (AUS), was initially disqualified from Race 5, for being over early on a U-Flag start, and then re-instated after the Race Committee reviewed the decision. “We have cameras at both ends of the line and this system enabled us to have an exact picture at the start. Having reviewed this evidence some teams were re-instated for Race 5.” confirmed Principle Race Officer, Phil Lawrence.
Steve Benjamin, representing the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (USA), scored a bullet in Race 4, and fought back from a mid-fleet start in Race 5, to end the day four points behind Bertrand. “We fully expected John (Bertrand) to be ahead when we came in. He got a great start in the last race, as did we in the race before.” commented Steve Benjamin. “I love coming to Cowes, I have been here for five Admiral's Cups and the Jubilee, and it is one of my favourite places in the world to go sailing. Today was tough again, but we have a really good team, and we are happy with our speed.”
Chris Hampton's team, representing the Royal Brighton Yacht Club (AUS), is third on countback from Noel Drennan's team, representing the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. “I only started sailing in 2002.” admitted Chris Hampton. “I have really only sailed in an Etchells for those years. So far in the Worlds we have tried to avoid making errors and concentrating on our speed, that has given us the results, to put us where we are. I was once told, in Etchells racing it is not about doing the extraordinary, it is about avoiding mistakes. The mood on board is excellent and our goal at the start of the regatta was to make the top ten, that is still our aim.”
Seamus McHugh's team, flying the Swiss flag, is in fifth place for the regatta after a podium finish in Race Four. Cowes Etchells Fleet Captain and Regatta Director, David Franks, had a stellar day on the water, posting two top ten finishes to lift his team, representing the Royal London Yacht Club (GBR) to 6th overall.
“Today's success was a combination of ten years sailing in the Etchells and ten years of learning so many small things.” commented David Franks. “The difference between these teams is not great, the difference is in the detail. You can get some lucky breaks, but it is all about the detail, and in particular it is about my crew, especially Graham Sunderland. He has stuck with me for years, when I was a hopeless helmsman. I was rather amused to see Ian Walker recently saying that 19 is not too young to start sailing, because I was 39!”
In the Corinthian Class, Martin Webster's team representing the Royal freshwater Bay Yacht Club (AUS) still leads, despite being disqualified for U-Flag infringement in Race 5. Thomas Brennan's team, representing the Royal Thames Yacht Club (GBR), is now just 11 points behind Webster. James Badenach's team, representing the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, is third. Other top performers in the Corinthian Class today were Stephen Line, who scored the best result in the Corinthian Fleet for Race 5 and Bill Steele team, representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club (AUS), which had a cracking day on the water, to place the team fourth overall in the Corinthian Class.
After racing the Royal Mersey Yacht Club, which has a fleet of 12 Etchells, provided a delicious and substantial English Tea to fortify the sailors. Tonight Etchells World Championship supporter, Red Funnel Ferries, will entertain 250 Etchells sailors and guests at the Royal London Yacht Club. A champagne reception and plated buffet will be well received by the party. Kevin George, Chief Executive Officer Red Funnel Group, will welcome the Etchells fleet and present John Bertrand with the Red Funnel Trophy for the best combined result for Red Funnel Race Day.
Racing for the 2016 Etchells World Championship continues on Thursday 8th September. With a discard kicking in from Race 6, a big change in the results is a distinct possibility. The 2016 Etchells World Championship media team will deliver live updates, including GPS Tracking, as well as daily results, news stories, interviews, videos, and pictures.