Sign of relief

As conditions abate at Etchells European Championship

Friday June 23rd 2006, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United Kingdom
The third and penultimate day of the Crew Clothing Co. Etchells European Championship in Cowes brought a welcome change of pace for the 33 competitors. After two heavy airs days the crews were delighted that this morning dawned sunny and almost calm with perfect Solent sea breeze conditions. Following a short postponement to allow the sea breeze to develop, racing started at 1100 in 6 knots from 260 degrees, slowly backing to 250 for the second race. Races five and six in the series were completed with the wind increasing to a maximum of 12 knots during the second race.

In the overall standings Stuart Childerley consolidated his lead with a win in race five and a hard earned fourth in race six. With five races now completed the discard comes into play and so he currently counts 9 points overall. Andy Beadsworth had a less than great fifth race finishing ninth, his worst result of the series so far, but redeemed himself with a win in race six so retains second place with 16 points, just one point ahead of Ante Razmilovic who scored 6 and 3 today. Nils Razmilovic remains in fourth but the points gap has opened slightly as he got a 10th in the fifth race and a second in race six so counts 23 points overall. Tom Hughes of the USA is in fifth place on 30 points with John Brinkers sixth on 32.

Tomorrow's forecast is for very light airs so competitors will be hoping for sea breeze for the final race of the series which is scheduled to start at 1100.

Today's first race was general recalled on the first attempt and got away at the second try. The ebbing tide was at its strongest and the majority favoured the pin end heading left straight away. Richard Merriweather went hardest left of all and as he dropped off the Bramble Bank into the main channel it was as if had stepped into a lift. As he tacked over he headed the fleet by a lovely margin and rounded the weather mark comfortably ahead of John Greenwood. John Brinkers and Nils Razmilovic rounded overlapped in third and fourth with Stuart Childerley fifth. Mike Sparks was sixth with Irishmen Anthony Shanks and Dan O'Grady seventh and eighth. Nigel Harley and Adam Gosling completed the top ten at the first mark.

Down the run Merriweather simply didn't have the speed to hold off the pack and by the leeward mark he was down to sixth. Childerley proved that his impressive downwind speed is as good in the light as the heavy and powered into the lead from where he gradually stretched out on each leg to win by several lengths. Brinkers pulled up into second with Gosling third and Sparks fourth. This little group of three were ahead of the main pack and proceeded to give the spectators plenty to keep them interested as they vied for position. Eventually Gosling got second followed by Brinkers and Sparks. Tom Hughes of the USA had rounded the first mark well down in the teens but put together a lovely race to pull right up into fifth just ahead of Ante Razmilovic and Shanks.

With the wind increasing many of the crews changed jibs between races and race six started in 10-12 knots with the weather mark at 250 degrees. Again the pin end was busy and as the fleet surged forward Adam Gosling found himself in irons and was squeezed out of the back of the line. In contrast Andy Beadsworth got a lovely start and followed it with a text book beat to head the fleet at the first mark. Simon Williams of the USA and Nils Razmilovic followed him round closely followed by Ante Razmilovic, Nigel Harley, John Greenwood, Jervis Tilley, Jamie Boag, Richard Burrows and John Brinkers. By the end of the first run Nils Razmilovic had slipped into second just ahead of brother Ante with Harley fourth, Burrows fifth, Williams sixth and Brinkers seventh. As Beadsworth eked out his lead Nils Razmilovic established himself in second and the fight was now for third.

At the second weather mark Williams had third from Ante Razmilovic followed by Harley. David Bedford and Stuart Childerley had pulled themselves up from mid fleet to sixth and seventh with Burrows now ninth. On the second run Ante Razmilovic got past Williams as Childerley ground into fifth. Burrows pulled back up into sixth just ahead of Bedford with Brinkers eighth. As Beadsworth and Nils Razmilovic covered up the final beat Ante Razmilovic hung onto third by the skin of his teeth. On the final long beat Childerley was the first of the pack to tack left and his move paid off giving him fourth overall. After a tight final beat Brinkers finished fifth with Bedford sixth, Tilly seventh and Harley eighth.

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