Cunningham Wins US Nationals in a Countback
September 22, 2109

International Etchells Class Chairman Jim Cunningham and his all-star crew of Steve Hunt, Erik Shampain and Carrie Wiley won a US Nationals loaded with past World Champions and Olympians who were looking forward to a fantastic event graciously hosted by American Yacht Club in Rye, NY Sept 20-22.

Despite the challenging Long Island Sound forecast and daily conditions, the organizing team, led on the water by PRO Rich Hulit managed to make the best of the breeze available to deliver four races.

Leading the regatta out of the blocks from the hard right corner in Race 1 was Scott Kauffman, Austen Anderson, Brian Kamilar and Gonzalo Ribero. Showing the fleet a clean pair of heels for a wire to wire victory.

In race 2, it was another Shelter Island-based team of Jay Cross skippering to lead wire to wire, but in a race that saw NW gradient fighting with SW sea breeze producing several large holes, plenty of snakes and very few ladders. Jay and team were short on fingernails as they crossed the finish line, peeling to their jib for the last 100 yards into the finish line.

Jim Cunningham’s team delivered a strong first day posting a 2, 3 for a clear overnight lead over George Francisco, Karl Anderson and Ezra Culver and Steve Girling, Adrian Owles and Lars Osell.

American Yacht Club hosted a wonderful regatta dinner on Friday evening celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Fleet 1 in western Long Island Sound, with guest speakers including 7-time Etchells World Champion Dave Curtis and one of the original Fleet 1 founders Dooie Isdale illuminating the crowd with some great memories and words of encouragement! Benefiting the US Etchells' Youth program, an auction was run on a hat signed by nearly all of the Etchells World Champions over the 50 years donated by Fleet 1 treasurer Dan Smith and a round of golf donated by Don Dowd and Sandy Weil raised over $4,200 for the young Etchells' sailors.

Day 2 dawned breathless with a weak forecast!

After being postponed ashore for a couple of hours ashore the fleet left the generous hospitality of American Yacht Club to sail upwind in a light southerly.

A jam-packed pin-half of the line saw Girling lead off the pin towards left shift and pressure for a straightforward (if that can ever be a thing on Long Island Sound) race victory.

With the breeze clocking further left, race 4 was started in a diminishing SSE breeze. This time Cunningham won the pin and was launched, quickly able to cross the fleet on port tack. Behind Cunningham, it was a very close affair with boats lining up bow to stern, poles forward on the run back downhill.

Cunningham led the left on the second, increasingly sticky lap, but it was Steve Benjamin, Joseph Morris, Ian Liberty and Dave Hughes who were the first to dig right, followed by Dirk Kneulman, Andrew Macrae and Hank Lammens. Scott Kaufman followed a couple of minutes later, crossing the middle, which looked awful!!!, but he just kept going, taking a few transoms and eventually finding more right shift and pressure on the right side of the track. This provided just enough leverage to seal his second race win of the regatta, with Benji second and Cunningham, escaping the left to hold onto third.

Sunday opened hazy and hot. Although better breeze was promised, it did not arrive at the race course until after the PRO had called time on proceedings.

So the overnight results stood, with Jim Cunningham and team won the regatta on a countback from George Francisco and team, with Scott Kauffman and team in third.

Steve Girling and team in fourth place overall won the podium as the first Corinthian boat, followed by one of the two US Etchells Youth teams competing in the regatta, led by Gordon Gurnell, with Chris Mason-Hing and Rachel Day aboard. Rounding out the top 3 were local legends, Don Dowd, Sandy Weil and Eric Dowd.

Please see Yachtscoring for the full results.

A big thanks to the sponsors – Brooklyn Sailbags, Landmark Vineyards, Fiji Water and North Sails – and all of the organizers and volunteers who helped to make this event a success. The fleet moves to Shelter Island and Annapolis in the coming weeks. Join us, and we’ll welcome folks who want to join or return to this amazing class!

-- We thank Steve Girling for his fantastic sailing and memory to write this article.

Etchells Atlantic Coast --¡Ay, Caramba!
May 21, 2018

A total of 22 teams turned up for racing this past weekend, and congratulations Jose Fuentes and Caramba crew (Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman) for winning the Etchells Atlantic Coast Championship hosted by American Yacht Club and Etchells Fleet 1. Senet Bichoff, sailing with brother Clay Bischoff and Stu Saffer, claimed the top Corinthian prize and fifth overall! Standing on the podium for Overall prizes were Goombay Smash team of William "Doug" Douglass, Chris Larson and Allan Terhune in second, and the America Jane 11 team of Scott Kaufman, Lucas Calabrese, Austen Anderson, and Jesse Kirkland. For the Corinthians, it was the two Youth teams on the podium, with Team Blue of Sean Cornell, Christopher Manson-Hing, Rachel Ann Daye, and Scott Ewing taking second prize and Team Red of Connor Needham, Jimmy Kennedy, Franny Schulte, and Brooks Daley claimed third.

The two days saw some pretty different conditions between Saturday and Sunday's racing

The attentiveness, perseverance, and athleticism of the Race Committee was certainly appreciated on Sunday when a strong Easterly brought 6-foot breaking waves and the wind gusted into the high-20's kts. Pumps were working non-stop and it was survival mode, but the RC managed to get in two solid races. Deteriorating visibility and dropping temperatures called off further races, and sailors appreciated the opportunity to dry off (sort of as the rain showers kept passing through). The wet sailors were greeted by hot chili and plentiful drink to help ward off the cold.

On Sunday, the day opened in fog as a warm front moved through. The RC headed out to set up for an on-time start, and the fog lifted in appreciation! Despite the fluky NW breeze, the Race Committee put in four races to give a discard.

Here are the articles that followed the regatta.

Nice weekend everyone! Big shout outs to David Barton, PRO, and Jeff Jamison, Regatta Chairman.


WLIS OD Fleets Meeting Post Mortem
November 13, 2017
Great turnout today from the Etchells at the YRA Western Long Island Sound One Design Fleet meeting! We had the largest representation.

Couple of messages stood out:

1) Strong interest in fewer, more focused sailing days/regattas/events. By consolidating the calendar, better turnout might be expected with advanced planning. For those who liked the regular weekly sailing for training sessions for new crew or potential owners, we will have other, albeit lower key sessions available...not to worry and stay tuned! 
2) More flexible timing on race start times. There was general agreement to have more flexibility in start times to take advantage of winds that are forecast to come in earlier or later. That may take the form of a posting of an "amendment" or some other vehicle to get the word out. Stand by for how this will be worded in the NoR. It will require more vigilance on the part of sailors to monitor, but that's better than watching sails flop back and forth, waiting for the wind to fill in on some of the August days...It will mean that RCs likely will have run longer (or at least later) days, but they were agreeable!
2) More social events, especially post racing. Following the suggestion to have bigger post race gatherings and get a chance to bring together sailors from all of the clubs, we will plan to organize a bbq/picnic for crews, families and friends on several dates through the season. I suggest we target meeting up after most sailing days at the host club, and make plans for bbqs/etc for Memorial Day Regatta, YRA Independence Day Regatta, and YRA Champs. We may think about inviting other OD design to one or two of these, and that is open to discussion.

3) Trying new formats. One of the ideas was to consider alternative sailing days. One suggestion was to look at at weeknight sailing. Let's shoot for getting some Etchells on the line for a couple of the AYC Friday Night Sunset Series (1855 first warning). It's a great time to get out on the water for family friendly sailing after a long week. Perhaps target the Friday before bigger regatta weekends (July 4th, LRW, YRA Champs).There are other ideas, and we should entertain all.
4) New forms of communication. We now have a website and added a Facebook page (and an Instagram page!) Jeff Jamison is our administrator for the FB page (by default the IG page too!) The Cowes Fleet uses its FB page for a wide variety of purposes, but one of the critical ones is for posting for crew. The only way to get crew interest is to keep posting anything of interest. So, this is your bulletin board to bring people to the Class, let's maximize it. We've got a training session planned for May 12, followed by the Atlantic Coast Champs on May 19-20! Please send pictures or article ideas, and more importantly, your friends who might have an interest in sailing to the FB page (and the website too!)

5) Open to other ideas. It's a great Class and we've got to find ways to introduce new and returning people to come out. We've got a couple of boats for sale at various price points, so time to bring more people out on the line! Any thoughts that we can do differently are worth hearing. We'll be outlining some ideas to help you sell the Class to others in the coming months, and help make this a collective effort and keep great ideas coming.

2017 Season Wrapup...Awesome Success for Fleet 1 Sailors at Worlds
28 October 2017

Over the season's five months, we had 27 races this season, not the most we've ever done, but certainly a strong accomplishment.

Peter Duncan's training session in May was a fabulous kickoff event, with lots of great advice and thoughts not only from Peter, Jud and Moose, but from everyone who participated. Those who couldn't get enough and went out the following day with Senet Bischoff who had some awesome practice using time and distance drills.

We even got returning members Don Dowd and Sandy Weil to join us on the racetrack this year. Great to see 1397 sailed so well, and they quickly picked up the new bits of mast rams and other new kit! They went on to win the Independence Day Regatta, claimed 6th at the LIS Champs and then came back to win the YRA Champs.

Jeff Jamison proved that being the newbie wasn't an impediment to taking a podium step, handily winning the the Memorial Day Regatta on his 1159.with crew James Tunkey and Tim van Biesen. He also took home the silver in the Independence Day regatta, just beating me on the countback!

Jeff Jamison, Tim van Biesen and Aaron Lo last season sail (Photo courtesty of Maureen Koeppel)

Skip Gaillard, sailing with pickup crew most weekends, kept the energy going by bringing in new sailors to the fleet, including James and Laura Chen, Dorn Redd, Brooke Petri. Not only did he train them, but he trained them well, delivering a bronze in the Memorial Day Regatta.
Despite not being a regular on the racecourse, the Marx Brothers showed that being away doesn't mean can't play when they put in great results in the very competitive LIS Champs as part of LRW.
Our own master of ceremonies Dan Smith saw his daughter Sara (and regular crew) get married to their bowman Greg Hoyt this summer, which was a fabulous thing for all. But not only that, he sailed a total of 22 races this past season (most of anyone of in the fleet). Just because you sail a lot of races doesn't necessarily help you win the season, and the Team Smith/Hoyt put a lot of silver on the table, and they are proclaimed the winners of the 2017 YRA Season!
In 2017 we also said goodbye to an old friend, Bob Mangone, who passed away on October 23rd. Bob was 77, though he sailed his last couple of years like he was a fit 45. Thanks to all who were able to attend his wake and funeral and to the others who shared their condolences.

On a happier note, Senet Bischoff with brother Clay and longtime boat partner Ben Kinney sailed to take the Bronze in the Etchells World Championship in San Francisco in a field of 51 competitors and take the Corinthian prize by a significant margin. While third in an Etchells championship of that caliber is remarkable, the team won with production sails and with little prep time on the water.

Don't forget the November 8th at 9a all hands OD meeting at LYC (Jr Clubhouse), if you can attend. The goal of the meeting is how to improve one design sailing for all. So all input is welcome. We'll try to hold a brief Etchells meeting afterwards to run through the list of ideas that have been circulating specific to our class.


Peter Duncan Makes First Annual Etchells Clinigatta A Success
23 May 2017

Former AYC Commodore Peter Duncan hosted the first annual Etchells Fleet 1 clinigatta at AYC over the weekend prior to the kickoff Fleet 1’s Memorial Day regatta, run by LYC. Peter was assisted in the two-day session with coaching from Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and Etchells World Champion Jud Smith and J/24 World Champion and AC sailor Moose McClintock.

Friday kicked off with a “Chalk Talk” discussion led by Peter with input from Jud and Moose.

Peter opened with a question, asking how people prepared for a regatta and received answers ranging from studying forecasts to gaining local knowledge to transportation logistics to boat prep and crew selection. He said that he starts making priorities given a busy schedule and limited time to make the most of his sailing time. The boat needs to ready for whatever you choose, from there it comes down to what can be done under constrained time. His experiences on the J/70 have translated well into the Etchells, but also expanded his thinking about downwind tactics, even with a asymmetrical spinnaker in the J/70 versus a a symmetrical setup in the Etchells. The key is to take each opportunity as a learning experience.

Prior to the start, getting a bead on the overall first leg strategy was important. Since tide and current are more known constants, having a good handle on dealing with that (especially in “slow” boats) was important to that strategy, whereas the wind is a true variable. Moose and Jud discussed their favorite wind apps that are mostly free (PredictWind, SailFlow, and a new one Windy). Peter said that he often depends on Commanders Weather for big regattas, and he provides local color on clud formations and wind direction to help Commanders focus their forecast. By getting onto the course early (he likes to be the first to arrive), he can get a better sense of the wind and tide.

Jud and Moose discussed checking wind shifts as the fleet heads into the start, as well as looking at cloud formations for clues upwind such as cloud cover versus the gradient wind. Jud remarked that the persistent shift is the hardest to predict.

From there, the discussion turned to starting in big fleets. Starting in the Etchells is particularly hard as there is no pinging of the pin and boat as other classes do to get a more accurate picture of distance and speed to the line. Peter told the story of sailing with the legendary Stan Ogilvy and Stan’s desire to start no worse than 5th from the line, meaning winning the start wasn’t as important as starting consistently and in a clear lane.

Using video footage by VR Sports TV from the Sid Doren Regatta in the Biscayne Bay Series as well as footage from the 2012 Olympic Star Medal Race start, getting a clear lane and protecting it was the key to a good launch. Peter pointed out that the Stars all set up early on starboard and were disciplined about holding their height.

Moose pointed out that everyone on the boat should be getting line sights as others may end up preoccupied at the last few seconds to the start. Dan Smith posed the question of whether it was better to gybe or tack at the start. The answer was to try to tack as gybing took the boat further from the line than a tack. That said, a lively discussion followed! The general consensus was that in a big fleet, never gybe with less than 1:30 left on the clock!

The discussion then turned to pre-bend, traveler position, sheeting and keeping the bow down. By creating pre-bend with the ram and opening up the top of the main, managing height was important, but footing off typically made the strategy pay off.

Jud pointed out that mark roundings provided great opportunities to pick up places as many sailors just lose focus, give up and accept their position.

The Fleet enjoyed Peter’s further hospitality, before adjourning to the next day for a dockside discussion on many of the same ideas. The fleet then sailed upwind and did a number of practice starts before the RC set up some longer course to help everyone with roundings, etc.