Having lost the first two days of the scheduled four day Etchells European Championship, racing finally got under way yesterday on the Bay of St Tropez on the Cote d'Azure in France.
A crisp North Easterly wind of between 10 and 15 knots blowing directly into the bay gave the competitors ideal conditions for racing, a welcom change from the frustration of the windlessness of the previous two days. The race committee managed to fit four races in, with all the crews out on the water early, to help salvage a championship in the limited time remaining. However it was a long day on the water, some of the crews likened todays exertions to that of an offshore race.
The courses are the now standard Etchells format, of a two lap windward leeward course, with a spreader leg at the top mark, and a gate at the end of the run, and finishing at the end of the second run.
The first race was won by Ian WALKER, Louis and Max KENNA in GBR 1067, but American Olympian Meg GAILLARD, sailing FRA 1271, was adjudged to be over the line early, spoiling an otherwise first days racing for this crew. Second was David MORELL from Australia, and third was Peter DUNCAN from the USA.
In the second race it was another Cowes based boat that won, Patriot Games sailed by Noel DRENNAN, Jack MCCARTHY and Andrew YATES, with WALKER and the brothers KENNA second, and Jervis TILLY, sailing Bushfire in third.
The third race was a second win for WALKER and Co, with DRENNAN, CCARTHY and YATES in second, and another Cowes regular, Ante RASMILOVIC, with David BEDFORD and Simon FRY crewing in third.
The final race of the day was won by Peter DUNCAN, with Jud SMITH and Tom BLACKWELL, With RASMILOVIC second and WALKER a close third.
This gives GBR 1067, WALKER / KENNA / KENNA a comanding lead on 7 points, from GBR 1195, DRENNAN / MCCARTHY / YATES and GBR 1302, RASMILOVIC / BEDFORD / FRY who are tied on 13 points. Fourth overall is USA 942 DUNCAN / SMITH / WILLIAMSION on 17 points.
An early start is anticipated for tomorrows final day of racing, and with good breezes forecast, the race committee should be able to have at least two more races in this event.