There were 28 boats racing in the Coronado Roads March 31 – April 2 for the Etchells Midwinters West regatta hosted by San Diego Yacht Club. Following the NOOD Regatta, the Midwinters was the second event in the Etchells West Coast Spring Series. Over 3 days of raceing, the Race Committee pulled off all 11 scheduled races, using one as a throw out score.
According to competitors, winds were lighter than expected, averaging about 6-10 knots throughout the weekend. The breeze was shifty and streaky at times, with noticeable current on Sunday.
Gearing up for the 2017 Etchells North American Championship hosted by SDYC in August, many of the competitors traveled in from far destinations to get a feel for San Diego’s conditions. Skipper Jeanne-Claude Strong (AUS 868) and her team traveled the farthest to race, all the way from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in Sydney, Australia. Strong has been sailing for 12 years, but the Etchells Midwinters was her first time racing in the United States.
“Every day was quite different. Our best day was Sunday when we got second in a race. Our sailing was not very consistent, but it was the first time we sailed this boat as a team, so there was a learning curve. The conditions were pleasant, however, we are used to sailing in heavier weather in Sydney, so it was good practice to race in light air.”
Strong was impressed by the race organization and the rivalry within the fleet. “It was very good competition. No one out there was slow.”
Andrea Cabito (USA 1429) from St. Francis Yacht Club said the light wind reminded her of when she used to sail in San Diego years ago.
“The biggest challenge this weekend was choosing which side to go to because it was so light. There was a bit of a current so that factored in as well. The second race on Sunday was our best, but there was a lot of luck involved. We picked the wrong main for this weekend because we thought it was going to be windier, so we struggled to get to the same speed as everyone. Since we were a little slower, we really had to focus on picking the correct side.”
Tom Carruthers (USA 1411) and his team had a rewarding weekend, winning 5 out of the 11 races and the event overall.
“The key to our success was that our communication and processes were the same all three days. We stuck with fundamentals- focusing on making sure our sail trim was consistent and that our driving was consistent.”
Carruthers was pleased with the new faces that he saw out on the water this weekend and also appreciated the competition between longtime Etchells sailors.
“The last race on Saturday was the best race for us. We were towards the back of the pack when we started, but we came back after going downwind. Fleet Captain Xavier Sheid and I rounded the marks at the same time, but we had a great upwind leg and finished first.”
Top WCSS Standings after two events:
1. Argyle Campbell: 5 points
1. Bruce Nelson: 5 points
2. Tom Carruthers: 7 points
2. Don Jesberg: 7 points
The Etchells West Coast Spring Series continues on April 29 & 30 with the Pacific Coast Championship. The West Coast series culminates on May 20 & 21 with the ORCA Bowl.