Fifty-eight teams from all over the world have entered the 2016 Etchells World Championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club in Cowes, with racing scheduled from 5th-10th September.
Entries include at least 13 current and past Etchells World Champions, as well as Olympic medallists, America’s Cup sailors, and world champions from numerous sailing classes. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the USA. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier in 2016, a fire raged through a boatyard in Cowes ravaging the Cowes Etchells fleet. Not only has the class recovered, it has flourished as David Franks, Class Captain of the Cowes Etchells fleet, explained: “We lost more than half the fleet but we have come back stronger, there has been a real pulling together from fleets throughout the world. To have 58 Etchells teams of such quality at the Worlds is just fantastic.”
Racing at the Etchells World Championship will include a galaxy of stars including the reigning Etchells World Champion team of Skip Dieball, Jon McClean and Jeff Eiber from the USA. Previous Etchells World Champions confirmed for the event include: John Bertrand (2010), Andrew Palfrey (1999 and 2010), Andy Beadsworth (2007), Jud Smith (2006), Dirk Kneulman (1998 and 2006), Paul Blowers (1997), Stephanie Roble (2014), Peter McNeill (2004), and Cameron Miles (1999).
Notable women sailors at the 2016 Etchells World Championships include; Jeanne-Claude Strong, current Etchells Australasia Champion, and Shannon Bush, top female helm from America. British ladies competing include; the 2011 420 World Champion, Annabel Vose and 2010 ISAF women’s match racing World Champions, and 2012 Olympians, Lucy and Kate McGregor.
From Australia, Oracle Team USA’s Grant Simmer, will be competing. Grant has been involved in the America’s Cup since winning, as navigator, on Australia II. In the Etchells Class, Grant is a past Australian Champion and 2015 World Grandmaster Champion.
From America, Steve Benjamin, a past Olympic medallist, 505 World Champion, and 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year returns to compete, having been runner-up in the 2015 Etchells World Championship. Multiple world champion, Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup sailor, Chris Larson, will also be competing.
Competing from Great Britain will be past Dragon World Champion, Olympic and Whitbread Round the World sailor, Lawrie Smith. Olympic medallist Ossie Stewart, and Eddie Warden Owen, Chief Executive of Royal Ocean Racing Club, and former top ranked sailing match racing champion.
The 58th team to enter the 2016 Etchells World Championship is the Royal Thames YC Youth Academy Team, helmed by Tim Gratton. At the beginning of August, the young team won the prestigious Gertrude Cup by a narrow margin, defeating five past Etchells World Champions.
For further news and information, visit the event website: 2016.etchellsworlds.org
Article courtesy of Etchells Worlds website.
Photo: Etchells spinnakers in the Solent ©Sportography.com