The second day of the Crew Clothing Co. Etchells European Championship off Cowes brought more heavy airs and lots of exciting action.
PRO Tony Lovell and his Royal Corinthian YC Race Committee worked incredibly hard to give the 33 competitors two more great races (3 and 4 of the 7 race series which runs until Saturday) in shifty conditions on a course set along the Bramble Bank.
The wind had moderated overnight and by the time of the first start there was 14-16 knots and the weather mark was laid at 265 degrees with the wind flicking between around 240 and 280.
Initially the wind was up and down but towards the end of race 3 is began to build again and the boats finished in about 18-20 knots. It continued to build throughout race 4 and by the finish was heading towards 30 knots again.
The increasing wind picked up the waves and, although not as bad as yesterday's chop, the crews still spent a lot of time pumping and there were plenty of broaches on the downwind legs.
In the overall standings Stuart Childerley continues to lead but he had a mixed day posting a 10th in race 3, before making up for it with a lovely win in the hotly contested race 4. He now leads by just 1 point over Andy Beadsworth whose 2, 3 score today gives him 15 points total and moves him up nicely from fourth place into second. Third and fourth places are equally close with Ante Razmilovic on 20 points and brother Nils Razmilovic on 21 points while Tom Hughes of the USA is fifth on 25 points.
The boats were somewhat late leaving the dock today and several of them were caught out by the fact that the PRO was more than ready to go on time for the day's first race. Amongst those late for the start was regatta leader Stuart Childerley who was still running down under spinnaker as the gun went. Off the line the smart money took the pin end but it was to be an incredibly close beat as the wind swung back and forth.
With boats approaching from both lay lines it was manic at the first mark where Nils Razmilovic just headed the fleet with Simon Williams and Tom Hughes second and third respectively.
Boats seemed to be appearing from everywhere as Ante Razmilovic rounded fourth just ahead of Andy Beadsworth with Graham Bailey sixth, Adam Gosling seventh, Jamie Boag eighth, John Greenwood ninth and David Bedford tenth.
Beadsworth and his crew of Jonathan Taylor and Mo Grey worked the run and the second beat for all they were worth and by the second weather mark had moved up into second place hard on Nils Razmilovic's heels. Behind them a big shift on the second beat had shuffled the pack and Bedford was more than happy to take advantage and moved up into third with Williams fourth and Hughes fifth. Jamie Boag, Cordelia Ellis, Laurence Mead and Jervis Tilly had also taken advantage of the shift to round sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.
On the final run and short beat into the finish the top nine held their positions while behind them Stuart Childerley was proving just why he has won two Etchells World Championships as he gradually ground his way back into the fleet after his late start and then slowly picked off boats on every leg of the course to finish in a very impressive 10th place.
By the start of today's second race the wind was at 245 degrees and up over 20 knots. John Brinkers and his all girl crew of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Josie Gibson got a blinder of a start on the left side and took off up the beat like scalded cats. They’d missed the morning race because they were running round Northwood Park desperately trying to make the crew weight following a crew change so clearly felt they had something to prove. Up the beat they had stunning speed and rounded the weather mark with a nice lead over Andy Beadsworth. Graham Sunderland rounded third followed closely by Ante Razmilovic with a gap back to the pack of Andrew Oddie, Stuart Childerley, Adam Gosling, David Bedford, Jervis Tilley and Graham Bailey.
Childerley was revelling in the conditions and going deep with great downwind speed he sailed himself up from sixth to lead Brinkers at the first leeward mark.
Beadsworth was now third from Ante Razmilovic, Bailey, Gosling, Sunderland and Ireland's Dan O’Grady. Tom Hughes had chosen to sail hot on the run and looked good to round ninth but had a disaster on the drop loosing place after place as he recovered his kite.
On the second lap Childerley stretched out his lead while Brinkers held onto second, constantly fending off Beadsworth and Ante Razmilovic. Nils Razmilovic meanwhile had been busy showing his championship winning form as he worked his way up from the cheap seats to start the long final beat in fifth place just ahead of O'Grady, Sunderland and Bailey. With the wind gusting at 26 knots on the final run there were plenty of spectacular broaches but the most impressive effort of the day definitely came from Laurence Mead who wiped out to starboard just before the mark ploughing across the bows of the boat behind him then careening through the upwind boats where he avoided major contact but had a minor clash of rigs before recovering himself. As if that wasn't enough his bowman, son Oscar, then missed his footing on the rounding and was swept off the bow. Fortunately he's a strapping young 49er sailor so he clung onto the shroud until a hand appeared from under the boom to drag him back aboard.
The final leg was gripping as Brinkers and Beadsworth slogged it out for second and the Razmilovic boys conducted their own private match race for fourth. Childerley had it in the bag but approaching the finish Brinkers tacked on top of Beadsworth who felt sufficiently aggrieved to take it to the room where the jury found no rule had been infringed and dismissed the protest giving Brinkers second with Beadsworth third.
In the battle of the Razmilovics Ante got the upper hand and fourth place with Nils fifth.
Bailey looked all set for sixth but was fractionally low on the left end of the line and as others tacked in on top of him his chances of shooting it evaporated leaving him no option but to peel off allowing Anthony Shanks to take sixth with O'Grady seventh, Mike Sparks eighth and Hughes ninth. Poor Bailey eventually finished unlucky 13th.
Speaking after racing man of the day Andy Beadsworth commented – 'We had a pretty good day, two good starts and our speed was a bit better than yesterday. We're learning about the boat all the time and made some changes this morning. The tactics went quite well on the first beats but we made mistakes at the leeward marks where we were a bit loose and our decisions were not all they could be, but generally we were fairly solid in terms of speed and tactics. The racing was really tight today and we closed the gap on Stuart who had a shocker this morning missing the start, but the points are very close with the Razmilovics as well so anything can happen.'
Leading Results after day 2, four races, 26 entries:
1 GBR 987 15 Bedrock Stuart Childerley 2 1 10 1 14 14pts
2 GBR 1187 26 Shirin Andy Beadsworth 8 2 2 3 15 15
3 GBR 1333 38 Swedish Blue Ante Razmilovic 1 3 12 4 20 20
4 GBR 1340 40 Matatu Nils Razmilovic 6 9 1 5 21 21
5 USA 526 10 America Tom Hughes 3 8 5 9 25 25
6 GBR 1332 37 Gelert David Bedford 12 10 3 12 37 37
7 GBR 1195 43 Patriot Games Jamie Boag 7 11 6 14 38 38
8 GBR 957 44 Arbitrator Graham Bailey 10 7 13 13 43 43
9 USA 1198 29 Fresh Guidance Simon Williams 4 4 4 34 46 46
10 IRL 1330 35 Fraculator Dan O'Grady 14 15 14 7 50 50
11 GBR 1297 32 9 Mike Sparks 11 13* 24 8 56 56
12 GBR 1331 36 Yes! Adam Gosling 13 13 11 20 57 57
13 GBR 1175 25 Darling S John Brinkers 17 5 34 2 58 58
14 GBR 1339 39 Freelance Laurence Mead 18 14 8 21 61 61
15 GBR 937 14 Evelina Chester Maudsley 9 18 16 23 66 66
16 GBR 1067 21 Slieve Elva Graham Sunde