Youth Entry to Etchells Class Competition

Published on August 10th, 2018

The US Etchells Youth Team, under the guidance of Etchells sailors Michael Gavin, Senet Bischoff, and Steve Benjamin, has grown considerably in the past year with the addition of several collegiate and recent college-graduate sailors.

The team, which began in 2017 under the leadership of past team captain Connor Needman, aims at strengthening the Etchells Class and introducing young sailors into the highly-competitive boat.

Full funding by gracious private donors and sponsors, such as Newport Shipyard and Regatta Ginger Beer, provides the team with resources needed to succeed. Recent donations of two additional boats to the Skiff Foundation allow the sailors to train together and campaign as a multi-boat program.

The team consists of thirteen sailors under the age of 25 (as of January 1st) from across the United States, ranging from New York, Rhode Island, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, and New Jersey.

“It’s awesome that the team has been able to gather so many talented college sailors and mix them into such a competitive class,” says Team co-captain Sean Cornell. “For me, a recent grad, its an awesome way to continue racing at a high level.”

The US Youth Team has demonstrated attractive growth in the Etchells Class. The Youth Team campaigned two competitive boats in the summer Etchells circuit. The regattas included Etchells Atlantic Coast Championship at American YC, Etchells New England Championship at Shelter Island YC, the NYYC One Design Regatta, and The Newport Regatta at Sail Newport.

In July, the US Etchells Youth Team sent two boats to represent the United States at the Gertrude Cup in Cowes, United Kingdom. At the event, the Youth Team Blue boat came in 2nd place and won the Youth Division trophy in the 10 boat fleet. This trophy was won last year by the US Youth Team as well.

“The team has given me the opportunity to match up against some of the best sailors in the world,” says current team member Scott Ewing, a former member of US Youth America’s Cup team.

The next regattas on the team calendar include the 2018 Etchells North Americans in Chicago and the 2018-19 Biscayne Bay Winter Series in Miami.

Source: Sean Cornell

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