Stuart Childerley leads Etchells Europeans after day one 22/6/06
The Crew Clothing Co Etchells European Championship opened in Cowes yesterday with two heavy airs races in 20-30 knots that tested the crews and the boats to the limits and resulted in a number of retirements through damage and gear failure.
In the overall standings Stuart Childerley got his championship off to a nice start by posting a second in race one followed by a win in race two to give him the overall lead. Ante Razmilovic lies second after winning the first race and taking third in the second and Simon Williams of the USA scored a pair of fourth places and now sits third overall, two points ahead of Andy Beadsworth.
Fellow American Tom Hughes is just a point behind Beadsworth with Nils Razmilovic in sixth. Graham Bailey, Jamie Boag, John Brinkers and David Bedford round out the top ten.
Despite the tough conditions the teams enjoyed fantastically close sailing with some very exciting mark roundings and plenty of place changes on every leg. The wind remained steady at 240 degrees and initially the seas were moderate as racing got underway in around 20 knots. As the day wore on the wind increased until by the middle of the final race it was up to 30 knots. Despite being wind with tide there was still a vicious chop that required full concentration from helms and trimmers both upwind and down and constant work with the bilge pump.
Race one was extremely close with five boats regularly juggling positions at the front of the fleet. At the second weather mark Tom Hughes of the USA led by a narrow margin from fellow American Simon Williams with Ante Razmilovic third, Stuart Childerley fourth, Robert Elliot fifth, Nils Razmilovic sixth and Jamie Boag seventh.
Down the run Ante Razmilovic and Childerley took the deeper line, a brave move in the very rough conditions, and it paid off moving them up into first and second place respectively with Hughes now third and Williams fourth, positions they held on the final short beat to the finish. They were followed across the line by Elliot, Nils Razmilovic, Boag and Andy Beadsworth.
In the second race Childerley took control from the start, just heading the fleet at the first mark with Beadsworth and Ante Razmilovic hard on his heels. From there on in he just kept on going and going and going. By the final weather mark his lead was longer than the length of the spreader leg and still he continued to stretch out. Behind him Beadsworth and Ante Razmilovic were holding second and third and Williams took his second fourth place of the day with John Brinkers fifth Richard Burrows sixth, Graham Bailey seventh and Hughes eighth.
Speaking after sailing a happy Stuart Childerley commented – “It was a lovely day’s racing. There was a nice starboard bias on both lines and we had long, long beats against the tide. It was pretty uncomfortable by the end of the day and the legs were really hurting. The first race was great because there were three of us just boat lengths apart pretty much the whole way through the race.
In the second race we were in front of the group at the weather mark which helped. Upwind we were comfortable but certainly downwind I think we just went that bit lower and were prepared to steer round the waves a bit more, whereas by that stage I think a lot of people preferred to heat it up a little bit and kept it safe.
Our crew work was really good, Roger and Fumesy are just great at that side of things. They are two smashing guys to sail with and that really counts on a day like today. It’s good to have the confidence that when you say “let’s gybe” it will just happen.”