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Etchells fleet gears up for 2022 West Coast Spring Series

by San Diego Yacht Club 14 Feb 2022 17:03 PST
2022 Etchells West Coast Spring Series © San Diego Yacht Club

The Etchells Fleet, one of San Diego's most active and competitive fleets, has been gearing up this month in preparation for their biggest series in California, the 2022 Etchells West Coast Spring Series.

Made up of four individual regattas spanning March to May, the series is known for its challenging racing amongst skilled sailors. Hosted by San Diego Yacht Club, the local fleet, Etchells Fleet 13 - San Diego, invites members and associates of the International Etchells Class to join them for the following regatta dates:

The series is co-chaired by Melanie Aalbers and Chris Busch, winner of the 2021 Series on Elizabeth. "With the quality of our fleet and the traveling teams that come in, it's some of the highest caliber Etchells racing in the U.S. This is a great opportunity for the local Etchells fleet to get out and compete at the highest level on our calendar."

Sailing will take place for all four events in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of Point Loma in the Coronado Roads. Each regatta will feature two days and six races, with the exception of the Midwinters West which spans eight races over three days. The West Coast Spring Series will award series trophies to the top three Corinthian and non-Corinthian teams. Series participants will also be eligible to receive trophies for the individual events.

The only regatta of the series that cannot be used as a throw-out is the Midwinters West. Registered for Midwinters West and the rest of the series is Xavier Sheild on Pelikaan. "The Midwinters West Regatta has the best competition since it can't be used as a throw-out in the overall Series scoring. The regatta is three days of intense racing, often with three races per day, and feels more like a marathon than a sprint. This regatta rewards consistency, patience, and endurance. I'm looking forward to the great competition the West Coast Spring Series draws from the local teams plus the visiting teams coming in from Newport Beach, San Francisco, Colorado, and occasionally from the East Coast and Canada."

Coming to compete in the Series from San Francisco is Jim Cunningham. Cunningham is racing in the Miami Winter Series which leads straight into the West Coast Spring Series. In addition to strong competition, Cunningham applauds the camaraderie within the fleet. "If you're looking to sail in the Series for the first time, step up and do it. It's a fun fleet with great competition and a great way to learn more every day," said Cunningham.

Another out-of-towner racing in his first Spring Series is David Janinis. Janinis and his crew are coming from the Bay Area and plan to compete in the whole series. "As a driver from the Bay Area, I have trouble in light air with larger sea swells on the Etchells. The summer in the Bay typically sees very strong winds on the city front but light air days in the Bay are often a flat sea state. I like feeling pressure on the helm and am working to embrace a lighter helm."

"Each time we go to San Diego and see improvements, it inspires us to work harder and excites us more and more for the next trip down. I am excited to see those small gains from hard work and dedication to the sport. Particularly I am looking forward to this being our first Spring Series and embracing the challenge of really putting together a complete day multiple times throughout the spring," continued Janinis.

After most days of racing, sailors and guests can join the Fleet for post-race debriefs and socials. If you're racing in the Midwinters West, you can look forward to Kjeld's Famous BBQ on Saturday, April 9 in the SDYC Pavilion.

With the high level of competition coming out for the Series this spring, practice will be critical for every team, new or seasoned. "Practice with your team before the series begins," advises Busch. "This will get your moves down and your head out of the boat."

Teams are welcome to participate in informal practice racing and lineups the day before each event.

Registration closes for each event the Wednesday prior to the start date to avoid closed entries or a late fee. Visit to learn more about the Series, view the NOR, and register.

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