Etchells fleet sails on!
The Westhaven Etchells fleet had its season opening sail on a lovely warm evening although the light breezes did become a bit unstable for the final race.
New owner Andy Taylor, NZL 814 Upfront, lived up to his boat’s name and won the first race by seconds from a group of three chasing boats – a great example of the closeness and accessibility of the racing in this fleet. The Auckland fleet is certainly benefiting from a surge in interest with a former World Champion, Marvin Beckman, USA 1378 The Martian, also bringing his boat to join the Auckland fleet later this year.
Late this month three teams from the Auckland fleet will be attending the 96-boat Etchells World Championships in Brisbane with an entry list that reads in parts like a sailing hall of fame including John Bertrand, Iain Murray, Steve Benjamin, Laurie Smith and Jud Smith to name a few.
This will be a great step up for two of the three NZ boats who are doing an Etchells Worlds for the first time. The Etchells Worlds will be returning to Australia again in 2020 so the current strength and surge in interest in the Auckland fleet is expected to continue over the coming seasons.
The Etchells is a fast, stable racing sloop that can be raced competitively by three or four sailors. The Etchells can be seen as a modern classic, they are a pleasure to helm and extremely sensitive to subtle adjustments in tuning and trim.
The Etchells is perfect for sailors who have grown up through the ranks of strict one design classes but now seeks less hiking (although still plenty to be done) but still seeks that close competitive racing where the first over the line has sailed the best.
There are a few competitive, affordable boats still available for purchase and anyone interested should visit the website: www.etchells.org.nz
Photo Lissa Reyden / LiveSailDie
Story by Lincoln Fraser