Chicago shines as Etchells North Americans gets underway

Published on September 19th, 2014

Chicago, IL (September 19, 2014) – The International Etchells Class North American Championship kicked off from the Chicago Yacht Club Belmont Station today. The event drew 32 boats and approximately 100 competitors from all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and throughout the U.S.

“September sailing in Chicago is often some of the best of the year, and we saw some great racing today,” said Race Chairman Don Maxwell, who is racing on Pyrate. “The Race Committee did a fine job, and this is a very competitive fleet. I’m really appreciative of all crews coming to Chicago for this event. We have 32 boats, and that’s a great showing for an NA.”

PRO Lynn Lynch commented: “It’s very fun to be back in Chicago. I forgot how many course changes you have to do, but the mark boats did an awesome job being on top of all the shifts we asked them to do.”

With an unsure weather forecast for Saturday, the Race Committee took advantage of the sunny skies and good breeze to get four races into the first day of competition.

Through four races, Elizabeth, skippered by Tom Carruthers of the San Diego Yacht Club, is first in the fleet.

“We’re just trying to do our best,” Carruthers said. “You couldn’t ask for a better sailing day than today and tomorrow looks like an even bigger breeze. We’re going to go out and try to do our best in every race.”

Not far behind in second place is SCIMITAR, skippered by Steve Benjamin with crew Chris Larson and Scott Norris of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club. This is the first time the trio has sailed an Etchells event together, but they’ve already experienced ups and downs. The team arrived in Chicago on Tuesday to put together a brand new boat, only to find that they brought the wrong mast. But with only two days of sailing together after getting their boat set, the team finished Friday in second place.

“It was a pretty successful day,” Larson said. “But it’s just the first day. We’re not too far behind the lead, so I hope to stay on top until to Sunday.”

“I think it’s fantastic we were able to get four races in today,” Benjamin, a silver medalist, continued. “Conditions were champagne sailing today. Good breeze, sunny skies, good committee work. This was the first time I have gotten first place in an Etchells regatta ever. There’s a lot of racing left to go.”

The International Etchells Class North American Championship runs through Sunday, September 21 at Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station. The event began on Thursday with a practice day followed by three full days of racing. Complete results are available here.

Top Five Teams through Four Races
1. Elizabeth, Thomas Carruthers, Andrew Palfrey, Chris Busch, San Diego Yacht Club
2. SCIMITAR, Steve Benjamin, Chris Larson, Scott Norris, Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club
3. Aretas, Jon McClean, Skip Dieball, Jeff Eiber, Royal Ocean Racing Club
4. Lifted, Jim Cunningham, Mark Ivey, Jeff Madrigali, Bryn Bachman, San Francisco YC/New York YC
5. The Horn, Anatole Masfen, Dirk Kneulman, Andrew Wills, Royal Akarana Yacht Club

Event websiteComplete resultsPhotos

Report by event media. Photo by MISTE Photography (

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