US Youth Etchells Team Wins Olin Stephens Trophy at Gertrude Cup

Published on July 27th, 2017

Cowes, UK (July 27, 2017) – James Badenach’s team representing the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, has won the fourth edition of the Gertrude Cup, held July 22-26, 2017, organized by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Cowes Etchells Fleet. Badenach’s team held off a strong challenge from the USA Youth Team, led by Connor Needham with crew Jimmy Kennedy, Hannah Polster, and Brooks Daley.

Bruce Huber’s team, representing the Royal Yacht Squadron, recovered from a show-stopping collision on the second day, to claim third. Two youth teams tied on points for fourth, with the Grieg City Academy YC, led by Montel Fagan-Jordan, winning on countback, from the Royal London Yacht Club Youth Team, led by Ted Blowers.

Two races were held on the final day of the Gertrude Cup, taking the series tally to thirteen. Pewter skies with rain and sea fog, reduced visibility and air temperature, but did not dent the enthusiasm of the eleven international teams. A southwesterly gradient breeze built during the day, peaking at 20 knots, with the wind oscillating 20 degrees, producing a shifty race course in the Central Solent.

Once again, the Royal Thames Race Management Team, led by PRO Phil Lawerence, produced windward leeward courses with slide rule precision, taking into account a strong tidal flow. Two teams shared top performance of the day. Bill Steele’s team representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and Rob Tyrwhitt-Drake’s team, representing the Royal Ocean Racing Club, both scored podium results.

The Gertrude Cup is a fantastic event, because you have to get a new boat every day and set it up,” commented James Badenach. “This takes a lot of effort by the organisers and we really appreciate everyone that has been involved. I would recommend this regatta to everyone. I would also like to thank my crew, and also Connor (Needham) and his team. It was a great battle, and they threw everything at it, which produced really good and enjoyable racing.”

“Fantastic close racing at a fabulous regatta,” enthused Cowes Etchells Fleet Class Captain, David Franks. “We hope that all of the competitors will be back next year. Special thanks to the support given by Jan Muysken, Bill Steele, and David Anastasi, who have competed in every edition of the Gertrude Cup. I would also thank the owners of the Etchells that have put their boats into the regatta, and Graham Sunderland, Darren Smith, and Kevin Downer, who have provided fantastic support, on and off the water, with Lizzie Fiddaman and Georgina Muncaster from the Royal Thames Yacht Club. The Cowes Etchells Fleet has a very active youth programme, over 300 young sailors have sailed Etchells with us, and it is so pleasing to see four youth teams at the Gertrude Cup, and we hope to build on that.”

A Prize Giving Ceremony was held in Cowes Yacht Haven. James Badenach was presented with the Gertrude Cup. Connor Needham’s USA Youth Team was the winner of the Olin Stephens Trophy, donated by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, for the best youth team. This trophy will be competed for as a special youth prize each year, and Miami will be the next host of the challenge, in March 2018. Two British teams will be chosen for the trip.

Whilst the winners rightly received great appreciation from their rivals, there were three rowdy cheers for the Grieg City Academy YC, which showed exceptional talent for a team that has little experience in sailing, from three pupils who are just 17 years old; Montel Fagan-Jordan, Camillo Orobio, and Shabazz Patterson.

The fifth edition of The Gertrude Cup will commence on July 28th 2018, teams wishing to participate should contact the Cowes Etchells Fleet.

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Source: Event Reporter, Louay Habib


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