U.S. Etchells National Championship

Published on March 26th, 2013

Thirty-six teams from 5 different countries took part in the 2013 Etchells National Championship and “Coral Reef Cup” sailed at Coral Reef Yacht Club, Miami, Florida (March 22-24th). The weather did not disappoint with three days of great racing.

Day one saw a light breeze gradually build from the southeast. The CRYC Race Committee was able to get in three races. (USA 1168) Peter Vessella, Austin Sperry and Tracy Usher won the opening race, but the leader after the first day was (NZL 1348) Dirk Knuelman, Anatole Masfen and Philip Carlson with finishes of 2, 1, and 4, who held a slight lead over (HKG 1333) Ante Razmilovoic, Chris Larsen and Moose McClintock. Following a sunny 80 degree March day on beautiful Biscayne Bay, the competitors were treated to Mt. Gay cocktails and samples of Mt. Gay’s new 1703 Rum. The colors were lowered by the Officers of the Coral Reef Yacht Club and both sailors and guests enjoyed a “Havana Style” dinner followed of course by more Mt. Gay Rum. Daily awards were presented for all three races and the stage for the remainder of the regatta was set.

Day two was initially forecast as breezy, but the front stalled. Three more races were sailed in a moderate 8-12 knot southeasterly. (USA 1378) Marvin Beckman, Ezra Culver and Steve Hunt won race 4, followed (HKG 1333) Razmilovic in second. Race five was won by Coral Reef Yacht Club’s own Chris Lanza, Tim Banks and Eric Lawrence (USA 1055), who nipped (USA 1168) Peter Vessella, Austin Sperry and Tracy Usher in a very close finish. The final race of the day was won by Dirk Kneulman (NZL 1348). Kneulman, Beckman and Razmilovic all had a solid second day and at the conclusion of six races only one point separated the three boats. After a long day on the water, the sailors were treated to a bevy of rum drinks tastefully served by the always welcomed Mt. Gay girls.

What came in like a lamb, went out like a lion and the final day saw a warm and blustery day of racing. Winds were from the south / southwest. Initially in the 18-20 knot range, the breeze continued building to 25 knots plus during the second race with some huge puffs. The first race was won by Marvin Beckman in (USA 1378) when several of the top boats finished on the wrong side of the finish mark and were scored DNF. The first put Beckman at the top of the leader board and all the chips were on the table for the final race.

The last race of the day was a gear buster. Broken spinnaker poles, men overboard and multiple equipment failures were par for the course. Beckman who was leading the regatta on 1378 broke his jib downhaul during the race. USA 1378 was throwing out a 17th (their only bad race of the entire regatta) and needed to finish the race. Luckily for Beckman, crew member Ezra Culver (EZ Marine) is a rigger. There were stories that several spectators were overheard asking why is that guy (Ezra) lying on the deck in the middle of the race, when it was so windy? The answer was he was making a much needed repair on the fly. It worked out just fine as (USA 1378) came back from the near breakdown in tough conditions to finish second behind (USA 1264) George Francisco, Bill Abott, Curtis Hutcheson in the final race and to take the 2013 National Championship by 11 points over second place Razmilovic in (HKG 1333). Hats off to Etchells Fleet 20 and Coral Reef Yacht club for organizing and hosting another great event.

1. USA 1378 – Marvin Beckman, Ezra Culver, Steve Hunt, 17
2. HKG 1333 – Ante Razmilovic, Chris Larson, Moose McClintock, 28
3. NZL 1348 – Dirk Kneulman, Anatole Masfen, Phillip Carlson,32
4. USA 1408 – Jim Cunningham, Karl Anderson, Jeff Madrigali,48
5. USA 1264 – George Francisco, Bill Abott, Curtis Hutcheson, 54

Complete results at http://www.coralreefyachtclub.org/getmedia/c6f21f33-86e1-441c-b37c-b0e15cccd507/Etchells-thru-Race-8.aspx

Event details: http://www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=652

Photo by Marco Oquendo

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