The Etchells Jag – Big daddy of Winter Circuits
Published on December 4th, 2013
The Etchells 2014 Jaguar Cup Midwinter Series kicks off in Miami this weekend with the Louis Piana Cup. Hosted by Etchells Fleet 20 and the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, this year’s “Jag” promises to be a memorable and toughly contested event. The four regatta series, spread out over four weekends between December and March, brings together many of the best Etchells sailors in the world.
With seventy boats entered, no fewer than seven former Etchells world champions are expected on the starting line on beautiful Biscayne Bay. Many of the teams are looking at the Jag as a tune up for the 2014 World Championships to be held in Newport, RI in June. Marvin Beckmann, who won last year’s world championships in Italy, and last year’s overall Jag Series, heads the list.
Marvin will face off against two-time world champs Bill Hardesty (2008 & 2011) and Bruce Burton (1986 & 1987) along with Dirk Kneulman (1998). Also participating are Tito Gonzalez (2005) sailing with Bill Mauk, Jud Smith (2006) sailing with Peter Duncan, and Andy Beadsworth (2007) sailing with Seamus McHugh. Vince Brun (2000) will join Tom Lihan for last two events of this year’s series.
The remainder of the fleet is liberally sprinkled with sailing rock stars and experienced Etchells drivers with multiple victories under their belts. Chris Larson will be back with Ante Razmilovic, Tony Rey will again join up with George Andreadis, and Shannon Bush, with Brad Boston and Curt Oetking, is always competitive. Those three boats finished 3rd, 8th and 9th in Italy last summer.
Other boats to watch include Morgan Reeser sailing with John Podmajersky, Moose McClintock crewing with Flip Weherheim, Senet Bischoff and Ben Kinney on their boat, KGB, Jeff Madrigali who is sailing with Andrew Cumming, and Skip Dieball who is teamed up with Jon McClean. Fresh off their win of the San Diego Yacht Club November OD Weekend, Tom Carruthers and Andrew Campbell will be a team to watch. Etchells newcomer Steve Howe will be driving Tom Lihan’s boat for the first two regattas, and will have his longtime tactician Morgan Larson onboard.
The conditions on Biscayne Bay can vary over the course of four regattas. While the weather usually cooperates, providing warm temperatures and wind velocities in the mid-teens – real chamber of commerce conditions – things can get ugly. In January 2010, the Sid Doren (second stop of the series) was held just after the passage of a strong cold front. Temperatures dipped into the high 30s with gusts well over 20 knots. That was the year the local iguana population was decimated as they froze and fell from the trees.
Regardless of the weather, sailing on Biscayne can be tricky. An unexpected, quirky shift can turn the entire fleet upside down. With that in mind, any one of the above mentioned boats can take the gun in any race. The champion will be the crew who sails consistently well in the five scheduled races.
The 2014 Jaguar Series regatta dates are:
Louis Piana Cup Regatta
December 7 & 8, 2013
Up to 5 races
Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta
January 4 & 5, 2014
Up to 5 races
Florida State Championship Regatta
February 8 & 9, 2014
Up to 5 races
Mid-Winter’s East Regatta for the Schoonmaker Cup
Feb. 28, March 1 & 2, 2014
Up to 8 races
Jaguar Cup Series Championship
To qualify for the JAGUAR CUP SERIES, boats must count their place in the Mid-Winters Regatta, and any two of the other three individual regattas (Piana Cup, Sidney Doren Memorial, Florida State Championship). Place scores from each individual regatta of the series will be used with a Low Point Scoring System (1st Place = 1 point, 2nd Place = 2 points, 3rd Place = 3 points, etc.). The boat with the lowest score will be declared the winner of the 2014 JAGUAR CUP SERIES.
Click here for series details.
Report and photos by John Payne