Going into the final day of the Etchells World Championships, which have been taking place for the past week out of The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club Marina, USA entry Aretas held a five point lead over compatriot Scimitar, with a gaggle of boats in prime position to step up on the podium in third place.
The Race management team was on the course an hour earlier than usual, with PRO Kevin Wilson finding 8 to 10kts ENE and “no sheep in the paddock” on perhaps the flattest race course to date.
With the attention flag at 0955hrs, The Battler, Scimitar, Free Advice, China Wight, Kirribilli and Tango were all pushing for the line, with Swedish Blue suffering a collision during the melee and heading back to Kellett Island. With a number of boats obscured as the class flag dropped, a general recall followed and 42 boats lined up for the restart under a U flag, with Tango once again catching the PRO’s eye and earning themselves a UFD for the final race in the series.
The leading boats all covered each over up the right hand side of the course, with the middle seeming to pay. By the first windward rounding, Baby Doll had pulled into the lead, ahead of Scimitar and The Horn, with Hong Kong’s Wanchai Belle in fourth place and Argyle Campbell in fifth.
All week, shore based observers have been watching the racing live on TracTrac and excitement reached fever pitch at the leeward mark rounding as Steve Benjamin took the lead, with Aretas showing in seventh, positions which would have given Scimitar the overall championship. By the second windward rounding Aretas had made up one place with Scimitar still leading Magpie, Phan, 1364 and Baby Doll.
As predicted by Jon McClean, in a nail biting finish on the final beat, in spite of Scimitar taking their third bullet of the series after leading all the way, Aretas made up a further two places to finish fourth with celebrations on board as McClean, Skip Dieball and Jeff Eiber crossed the line as 2015 Etchells World Champions. Caught later on the dock, McClean said “we knew it would come down to the last third of the last beat of the last race on the last day. I’d like to thank Skip Dieball and Jeff Eiber who won the race. It was a lesson in discipline, persistence and never giving up. They worked so hard and I’m humbled to be in the boat with them.”
Happy to finish on the podium, Graeme Taylor of Magpie reflected “Obviously it was a long week, there’s been some great racing we’ve had an absolute ball and it was really tight going in for third position today, six points behind Marvin (Beckmann) and two points to the boats between. We were actually eighth this morning. The winners were in a league of their own all week, but we improved gradually through the week.”
Finishing fourth, Phan crew Stuart Childerley was full of compliments for the Worlds race track, enthusing “I thought the race course was a stunning race course because you always had options. If you had a bad start, there was always something to look at, something to give you a bit of hope … all the way up there, lots of nice little shifts. Everyone talks about the hard left race course – it didn’t materialize every single race.”
All that remains is the presentation party – at which all the competitors have earned the right to let their hair down – and a special mention for the 120+ volunteers from Hong Kong and overseas, both on shore and on the water, who have given up the best part of a fortnight to help make the 47th Etchells World Championships a resounding success. End –
Provisional results are published at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/68143406/EtchellsWorldsResults.htm
– RHKYC Media