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EFG Bank Etchells Coral Reef Cup 2022 at Coral Reef Yacht Club

by Steve Girling 29 Mar 00:50 PDT March 25-27, 2022

Luke Lawrence, Andrew McCrae and Eric Lawrence snatched the Coral Reef Cup from Steve Benjamin in an eight race slug-fest over the long weekend March 25-27 on sunny Biscayne bay.

Coral Reef Yacht Club and their army of volunteers did an amazing job of hosting the event, both on and off the water! EFG bank provided welcome support, including some amazing drone footage and a lovely social atop the junior clubhouse on Friday night and a fantastic dinner on Saturday night.

With 36 boats on the line and multiple world and Olympic champions on the race course the intensity of competition matched the frisky post -frontal northwesterly breeze on day 1. After two races and a pair of bullets it looked as though Steve Benjamin and his team word walk right away from the fleet, but a black flag in race three of day one opened the door for the rest of the pack. In race one, Benji was followed home by Victor Diaz (standing in for Jud) and John Heaton, a new addition to the fleet who has been actively racing J70s. In Race two, Benji was followed home by Andy Beadsworth and Luke Lawrence.

Ultimately there were five other race winners in the eight race series and one very special one in Race three of this series as the Hardenberg brothers in USA1012 (led by Ted and with multiple world champ Jamie and perennial Etchells guru Mark aboard) managing to hold off Malcolm Lamphere’s youth team for a victory that will be savored for a while to come. Third home was James McHugh.

The leader on the board at the end of day one was Luke Lawrence, with a consistent nine, three, eight score line.

Day two delivered a much sunnier day on the water and the threat of some thermal influence omnipresent in the minds of tacticians. Luke and Benji started the day with safe top 10 results. In race four, Paul Ward just managed to get his bow in front of Benji for the win, with Scott Kaufman third. In race five, Luke sailed hard left for the anticipated left shift and it paid handsomely as he led the fleet by a country mile at the top mark. Meantime Benji was stuck in the cheap seats. In race five, Luke was followed home in a tight light air finish by Kaufman and Steve Girling.

In race six, Benji came back with a solid victory, posting his third win of the regatta (!), this time, he was followed home by Andrew Lawson and James McHugh, while Luke posted a 29!

Did I mention how difficult it was to manage the left gusting shifts as air mixed down to the water with the shifting but solid bands of pressure from the right in races four and five and how by the time race six rolled around we frequently had crew off the rail and in the boat trying to manage the competing gradient and thermal influences…!

Going into the last day for races seven and eight the scores were very tight, with Benji now two points ahead (but carrying a BFD and a 21) and Luke with only one win, but everything else inside the top 11 (and carrying that 29). Everyone else in the top ten was already carrying two scores in the high teens and some a lot worse! Just another reminder of the strength in depth of the fleet currently gathered in Miami.

The forecast for the day was for a diminishing gradient with bright sunshine yet again threatening right side thermal influence. Out in the starting area it was quite sporty (!) with 18-22 knots of solid pressure and the continuing pattern of left gusts vs the bands of shifting pressure from the right continuing to do battle.

The fleet got away after a bit of practice under the UFD flag. Both Luke and Benji were in the pack at the top mark. Peter Duncan led, with the pack in hot pursuit. By the next top mark Andrew Lawson’s team was clearly in the lead, hotly pursued by Andy Beadsworth and Steve Girling.

On an exciting run into the finish, Lawson and Girling crossed the line overlapped with Beadsworth holding on for third. Benji and Luke finished eight and eleventh respectively. (Advantage Benji!)

With the breeze holding for the start of race eight, the middle of the start line was very strong and this group were able to take the first shift. Beadsworth was out in front and Luke was right there with him! Now Benji was stuck in the pack and it was game on! Breeze on the course was starting to fade into the single digits at times and so it was no surprise that the course was shortened. The location of the finish line, way left of the prior beats did catch many teams out!

Thankfully for Andy, Brian Ledbetter found the finish location on their boat early enough to crush home for the win. Luke was second, Shannon Bush had a cracking race in third and Peter Duncan rolled his second fourth of the day to clinch third overall…but where was Benji? Well, he had recovered, but ran out of race track and he could only get back to tenth, where seventh (Peter Vasella, the boat that he followed into the right leeward gate), would have been enough for the Cup on a count back. After a dominant start, it just wasn’t to be for this great team, this weekend.

So Luke, Andrew and Eric score an epic victory in their beautiful brand new Ontario ‘works’ boat CAN1501! Congratulations to this team for sailing a very strong series in challenging conditions for all.

A special thanks to a special club, Coral Reef Yacht Club! Well done! And of course to our amazing sponsors EFG Bank.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelm / CrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1  CAN 1501Cruel Jane 2Luke Lawrence / Andrew Macrae / Eric Lawrence938712911241
2  USA 1427STELLA BLUEStephen Benjamin / Stu McNay / Ian Liberty / Charlie Hibben11BFD221181044
3  USA 1453OatmealPeter Duncan / Andrew Palfry / Mark Mendelblatt2275131054448
4  SUI 1403No Dramas (Corinthian)Andrew Lawson / Dave Kelly / Billy Brussels41971417211459
5  USA 1494A MacJack Jakosky / Andy Beadsworth / Brian Ledbetter2421688353162
6  USA 1452Rock OnArgyle Campbell / Alex Curtiss / Jesse Kirkland / Mark Ivey174116169UFD669
7  GBR 1493Eat Paul Ward / Charlie / Cumbley / Jamie Lea1912416BFD141672
8  USA 1454EmpeiriaJohn Heaton / Chris Larson / Chuck Norris33217165430883
9  GBR 1418ExabyteShaun Frohlich / Ed Wright / Duncan Truswell281815546162084
10  BER 1467TiburonMark/Dirk Watson/Kneulman / Jeff Madrigal / Kelsy Patnaude / Jeff Deaver56BFD101118231184
11  USA 1419RebelScott Kaufman / Reed Baldridge / Brian Kamiliar / Alex Anderson181012322518UFD88
12  GBR 1438Swedish Blue (Corinthian)Ante Razmilovic Senet Bischoff / Ante Razmilovic / Dave Martin10151019141951588
13  USA 1472RouletteVictor Diaz de Leon / Ethan Simpson / Tommu Dietrich / Hector Vidal291424BFD763193
14  USA 1412Lion HeartSteve Girling / Paul McKenzie / Max Salimunen25519UFD31522796
15  USA 1282ResoluteMichael Morley / Paul Abdullah / Nick Turney / Terra Berlinski151192791610DNF97
16  USA 1415La TormentaShannon W Bush / Brad Boston / Nick Ford / Emory Williams622BFD424319399
17  USA 1373VictoryVictor Cribb / Victor Cribb Jr. / Eamonn deLisser / Ed Cabassa720181512142118104
18  USA 12081208Malcolm Lamphere / Doug Wake / Ed Lebens / Marina CanoDNC1622113261912109
19  SUI 1425TquilaJames McHugh / Alister Richardson / David Vera30839BFD320DNF109
20  USA 1012Natasha (Corinthian)Ted Hardenbergh / Jamie Hardenbergh / Mark Hardenbergh272811115102226112
21  USA 1491MahalagaPeter Vessella / Paul Anderson / Ezra Culver8242028222777115
22  USA 1300USA 1300Mike Dressell / Chris Morgan / Monica Morgan / RJ Trejo1129301219211313118
23  USA 1405CarambaJose Fuentes / Tony Rae / Wilson Stout / Marc Gauthier162322UFD1881229128
24  USA 1397Tar & FeatheredDon Dowd / Mark Plough / Sandy Weil232113172822259130
25  USA 1368Vertigo 2Chris Lanza / Tim Banks / Tomas Hornos122727252612245131
26  USA 1398PrivateerMichael Jobin / Christina Persson / Matt Lalumier / Andrew Kingston141424327242721131
27  USA 1301Mad BlueAdrian Owles / Donny Lawless / Turner Probst2033232225111722140
28  GBR 1441HighlifePeter Rogers / Ben Cooper / John Taggart3417293020132625160
29  USA 1371Flying ColorsKen Womack / Don Peckman / Wes Graham13342118BFD203123160
30  CAN 319CAN 319 (Corinthian)Andre Beese / Bruce Scott / Casper Ysung262662630302924167
31  GBR 1468Strait DealerDavid Franks / Graham Suhferland / Dianna Kissane / Marcus Tressler2931BFD20BFD281517176
32  USA 1168Unknown LegendCameron Macrae / Trevor Fencott / Andrew Leslie21132834312333DNF183
33  Usa 978Julia (Corinthian)Rick Kaiser / Geri Whitley / Chris Keiner / Sarah3225262329333219186
34  USA 1341EncoreDavid Huck / Allen Kirby / Colin Foster3330BFD3323172828192
35  USA 1307Nemesis (Corinthian)Jeff Nehms / Scott Giering / Alex Morales313525292732UFDDNC216
36  USA 1202Jeremiah (Corinthian)Jonah Pruitt / David Bannister / Marite Felix / Johnny GleasonDNCDNCDNC3132343430237
37  1455V3Mike BlackwoodDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC266

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