Etchells Worlds delayed for State Funeral

Published on September 18th, 2022

The glitterati of the sailing world has gathered for the 2022 Etchells Worlds hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, UK. Originally planned for September 19 through 24, the nine race series will start a day later to pay respect for the State Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen in London.

The State Funeral — the first in Britain since Winston Churchill died in 1965 — will be the biggest gathering of world leaders for years. It is to be held at Westminster Abbey where she was both married and later crowned as monarch more than 70 years ago.

When racing commences on September 20, at least ten past Etchells World Champions will be competing in the nine race series, with 42 teams having traveled from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

Over half the entries are from the host nation Great Britain and Lawrie Smith’s Mila (GBR 1502) is considered to be one of the favorites. This will be Smith’s fourth Etchells Worlds, but he has yet to win the Founders Trophy. Mila was in fine form winning the Etchells Pre-Worlds and was top European team for the 2022 Etchells European Championship.

Smith’s team for the Worlds is past Fireball World Champion Richard Parslow, Portugal’s Gonçalo Almeida Ribeiro, and 2017 Nacra 17 World Champion Ben Saxton.

Ante Razmilovic will be racing Swedish Blue (GBR 1438) at his seventh Etchells World Championship. Razmilovic has been runner-up on two occasions, 2014 and 2010. Swedish Blue’s crew is Australian Noel Drennan runner-up in 2011, and Brian Hammersley who was third with Razmilovic in 2013. Swedish Blue was leading the 2022 Etchells Pre-Worlds going into the last race but retired after going aground.

The youngest team for the Worlds are all students at the Greig City Academy, the helm Kai Hockley is just 16 years old. The last British skipper to win the Etchells World Championship was 15 years ago – Andy Beadsworth in 2007.

Eight teams from the United States will be in action for the Etchells World Championship, with the contingent boasting five past Etchells World champions. Steve Benjamin won the Worlds in 2017 and will be racing in Cowes with two of his crew from that triumph: Dave Hughes and Ian Liberty.

Peter Duncan was the Corinthian Etchells World Champion in 2008 and Duncan’s Oatmeal (USA 1453) has a stellar crew of two-time Etchells World Champion Dog Palfrey and Olympic and America’s Cup sailor Mark Mendelblatt. From the Houston Yacht Club, 2013 Etchells World Champion Marvin Beckman is racing The Martian (USA 1378); the crew include Ezra Culver who won the Worlds with Beckman.

Two Australian teams are entered which includes 2018 Etchells World Champion Martin Hill from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron racing Lisa Rose (AUS 1505). Hill’s team includes Double Olympic Gold Medallist Mat Belcher and Julian Plante, who both won the Etchells Worlds with Hill in 2018. Will Ryan, 470 Class Tokyo Olympic Gold Medallist, completes a stellar crew racing on Lisa Rose.

Past Etchells World Champion Dirk Kneulman will be racing at his eighth championship with New Order (NZL 1499). Kneulman’s crew is Anatole Masfen competing at his fifth Worlds, and past 470 World Champion Simon Cooke.

The field also includes Mark Thornburrow’s Racer Smithy (HKG 1496), who is racing in his thirteenth Etchells World Championship, finishing second in 2018. Thornburrow’s crew includes double Olympic Gold Medallist Malcom Page who is competing at his fourth Etchells Worlds. Mike Huang, second in the 2018 Etchells Worlds with Thornburrow and Duncan Gregor complete the Racer Smithy crew.

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Source: Louay Habib

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