The Crew Clothing Co. Etchells European Championship opened in Cowes today with two heavy airs races in 20-30 knots that tested the crews and the boats to the limits and resulted in a number of retirements through damage and gear failure.
In the overall standings Stuart Childerley got his championship off to a nice start by posting a second in race one followed by a win in race two to give him the overall lead.
Ante Razmilovic lies second after winning the first race and taking third in the second and Simon Williams of the USA scored a pair of fourth places and now sits third overall, two points ahead of Andy Beadsworth. Fellow American Tom Hughes is just a point behind Beadsworth with Nils Razmilovic in sixth. Graham Bailey, Jamie Boag, John Brinkers and David Bedford round out the top ten.
Despite the tough conditions the teams enjoyed fantastically close sailing with some very exciting mark roundings and plenty of place changes on every leg. The wind remained steady at 240 degrees and initially the seas were moderate as racing got underway in around 20 knots.
As the day wore on the wind increased until by the middle of the final race it was up to 30 knots. Despite being wind with tide there was still a vicious chop that required full concentration from helms and trimmers both upwind and down and constant work with the bilge pump.
Race one was extremely close with five boats regularly juggling positions at the front of the fleet. At the second weather mark Tom Hughes of the USA led by a narrow margin from fellow American Simon Williams with Ante Razmilovic third, Stuart Childerley fourth, Robert Elliot fifth, Nils Razmilovic sixth and Jamie Boag seventh.
Down the run Ante Razmilovic and Childerley took the deeper line, a brave move in the very rough conditions, and it paid off moving them up into first and second place respectively with Hughes now third and Williams fourth, positions they held on the final short beat to the finish. They were followed across the line by Elliot, Nils Razmilovic, Boag and Andy Beadsworth.
In the second race Childerley took control from the start, just heading the fleet at the first mark with Beadsworth and Ante Razmilovic hard on his heels. From there on in he just kept on going and going and going. By the final weather mark his lead was longer than the length of the spreader leg and still he continued to stretch out. Behind him Beadsworth and Ante Razmilovic were holding second and third and Williams took his second fourth place of the day with John Brinkers fifth Richard Burrows sixth, Graham Bailey seventh and Hughes eighth.
Speaking after sailing a happy Stuart Childerley commented – 'It was a lovely day's racing. There was a nice starboard bias on both lines and we had long, long beats against the tide. It was pretty uncomfortable by the end of the day and the legs were really hurting. The first race was great because there were three of us just boat lengths apart pretty much the whole way through the race.
In the second race we were in front of the group at the weather mark which helped. Upwind we were comfortable but certainly down wind I think we just went that bit lower and were prepared to steer round the waves a bit more, whereas by that stage I think a lot of people preferred to heat it up a little bit and kept it safe.
Our crew work was really good, Roger and Fumesy are just great at that side of things. They are two smashing guys to sail with and that really counts on a day like today. It's good to have the confidence that when you say 'let's gybe' it will just happen.'
Results after 2 races:
1 GBR 987 Bedrock Stuart Childerley 2 1 3pts
2 GBR 1333 Swedish Blue Ante Razmilovic 1 3 4
3 USA 1198 Fresh Guidance Simon Williams 4 4 8
4 GBR 1187 Shirin Andy Beadsworth 8 2 10
5 USA 526 America Tom Hughes 3 8 11
6 GBR 1340 Matatu Nils Razmilovic 6 9 15
7 IRL 1015 Matatu Dubh Richard Burrows 10 6 16
8 GBR 957 Arbitrator Graham Bailey 11 7 18
9 GBR 1195 Patriot Games Jamie Boag 7 11 18
10 GBR 1175 Darling S John Brinkers 18 5 23
11 GBR 1332 Gelert David Bedford 13 10 23
12 GBR 1036 Esprit Robert Elliott 5 20 25
13 GBR 937 Evelina Chester Maudsley 9 18 27
14 GBR 1331 Yes! Adam Gosling 14 13 27
15 IRL 1330 Fraculator Dan O'Grady 15 15 30
16 GBR 1339 Freelance Laurence Mead 19 14 33
17 GBR 1193 Snatch Andy Oddie 22 12 34
18 GBR 1067 Slieve Elva Graham Sunderland 17 17 34
19 GBR 1325 Festina 2 John Greenwood, 23 16 39
20 GBR 1196 Best Mate Chris Torrens 24 19 43
21 GBR 1297 9 Mike Sparks 12 34 46
22 GBR 992 China White Andrew Cooper 16 34 50
23 GBR 1251 White Pointer Richard Grey 29 21 50
24 GBR 1165 Wobbegong Doug Flynn 20 34 54
25 GBR 1075 Extravaganza Cordelia Ellis 21 34 55
26 GBR 812 Mac a do Nigel Harley 25 34 59
27 GBR 1009 Mayhem Amanda Russell 26 34 60
28 GBR 1324 Pale Tide Ian Law 27 34 61
29 GBR 804 Impulse Mark Jones 28 34 62
30 IRL 1116 Muddy Paws Anthony Shanks 30 34 64
31= GBR 993 Golden Beaver Guy Grant 34 34 68
31= GBR 1021 Bushfire Jervis Tilly 34 34 68
31= GBR 1267 Take Two Richard 34 34 68
Event website: http://www.rcyc.co.uk/da/27898