2023 Etchells Miami Worlds preparation is officially on

January 16, 2023 (Miami, FL) – The Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta marked the first event of the Etchells Class’ winter series hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club after a false start due the lack of wind at last month’s Louis Piana Cup. However, it was still an unusual beginning for the series due to the colder weather that took hold of southern Florida this past weekend. 47 Etchells still braved the cold on Saturday for three races followed by two more races on Sunday. All part of the 5 events at the same venue held in the lead up to the Etchells AON World Championships in April.

Veracity - Winners (Rachel DeLouch)
Veracity – Winners (Rachel DeLouch)

David Brennan, Principal Race Officer for the Series and Worlds, stated that it was “seriously challenging conditions on Saturday with a shifty breeze at steady 20+ gusting to 25, and temperatures in the 40’s – not your typical Southern Florida weather!”

Onshore, there were even frozen iguanas falling out of trees and lizards hibernating in crew member life jackets. As Peter Duncan (USA 1453, Oatmeal – Rye, New York) said, “they’re frozen just like the sailors and race committee.”

Downwind (Pieter Vanderlaan)
Downwind (Pieter Vanderlaan)

However, it was not just the temperatures and breeze on Saturday that was the hurdle for these sailors, as Brennan explains “the direction was nominally out of 330° (NW), which traditionally is our worst direction on the bay with 30° wind shifts.”

This made for lively racing and highlighted the expertise among the fleet (which includes 10 Etchells World Champions). The crews that adapted the quickest rose to the top but there were no teams without at least one bad race this weekend. Luckily for the teams, the scoring rules allowed for a drop of the worst score if at least 5 races were completed. A 17th was the lowest score any single team dropped.

Vertigo 2 Chris Lanza, Tim Banks, Tomas Hornos (Andrew Cole)
Vertigo 2 Chris Lanza, Tim Banks, Tomas Hornos (Andrew Cole)

Sunday greeted sailors with nearly the other end of the spectrum with just-barely sailable conditions: 5 to 8 knots of breeze yet still out of that annoying 330° and still shifting through 30°. Brennan was happy with what they managed to pull off , “Luckily, we thought 2 races were completed in a timely fashion with square starting lines and nice beats and runs.”

It has been a while since that many Etchells have taken to the line at any one event. Therefore, the large fleet starting all together but also sailing downwind created a beautiful spectacle on the bay. Especially with so many colored spinnakers, Gary Gilbert (USA 1388, ANNIE – Oakton, VA) shared his perspective on choosing a colorful spinnaker rather than white, saying he once was told that it was awful to have a white spinnaker, in a one-design fleet, because you do not know who it is. However, there are many others who contradicted his theory with shouts of “isn’t that the point?”

At the end of the weekend, it was Veracity (USA 1477, Darien, CT) who came out on top and won the Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta. John Sommi with Victor Diaz de Leon, Beccy Anderson, and Will Ryan finished with 16 points (after dropping an 18th) four points ahead of 2nd place. Sommi shared about winning, “it felt great because the conditions were very windy yesterday [Saturday]. It was very light and shifty today and all the boats here are so competitive. Any mistake is compounded in those kinds of conditions. So we’re very grateful, and I’m grateful to my team. We thank the club for a fantastic regatta.”

In talking about tactics to win the race John noted the depth of talent in this fleet sharing that “you have to get a good start” and that they had four good starts out of five which was reflected in Veracity’s scores.

Overall, while iguanas and crews were cold adapting to unusual weather, everyone was in high spirits and looking forward to the three competitions in February – just hoping for more southern Florida weather. The Louis Piana Cup has been rescheduled for the Friday before the next in the series ,the Florida State Championship (February, 4th-5th). This is followed by Mid-Winters at the end of the month and the North Americans in March all ahead of the AON World Championships in April.

First Start (Andrew Cole)
First Start (Andrew Cole)
  • Reporting by Hadley Hege

Full Results: https://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=15437

Etchells (One Design – 47 Boats) Top 5

  1. Veracity, USA1477, John Sommi / Victor Diaz de Leon / Beccy Anderson / Will Ryan – 2 – 3 – [18] – 4 – 7 ; 16
  2. Lifted, USA1504, Jim Cunningham / Steve Hunt / Erik Shampain / Serena Vilage – 1 – 2 – 14 – [20] – 3 ; 20
  3. Cruel Jane 2.0, CAN1501, Andrew Macrae/ Luke Lawrence / Eric Lawrence – 5 – 11 – 2 – 7 – [22] ; 25
  4. Oatmeal, USA1453, Peter Duncan / Mark Mendledel / Andrew Palfrey – 6 – 10 – 4 – [29] – 6 ; 26
  5. American Baby, USA1454, George Francisco / Chris Larson / Chuck Norris – 9 – 1 – 8 – 9 – [17] ; 27
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