Preview: Etchells Class Long Island Sound Championship

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by Will Ricketson, Etchells USA 1248

Over the weekend, Shelter Island Yacht Club will play host to the Etchells Class Long Island Sound Championship, in yet another sign of the excellent health of one-design sailing here at our club. The LIS Champs holds special significance for the globally-popular Etchells fleet, as yacht designer Skip Etchells built, tested and raced the prototype hull on the Sound starting in 1966. The twenty-six boats currently entered into the regatta will therefore be competing for bragging rights and hardware near the birthplace of this venerable and beautiful class.

The regatta will also be marked by the presence of a large number of notable sailors at our club, such as Etchells World Champion Marvin Beckmann, Snipe World Champion Tomas Hornos, Finn World Champion and Olympian Hank Lammens, Olympic silver medalist and 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Steve Benjamin, noted sail designers Ched Proctor and Mike Marshall (North Sails), and many more.

This star-studded guest list will be met by a formidable 14-boat SIYC fleet that has boasted top domestic and international results over the past three years. SIYC will be represented by teams led by Olympians Scott Kaufman (America Jane II) and Jay Cross (Skanky Gene) and Boston University Sailing Coach Connor Needham (Bad Martha). SIYC will also send several Shelter Island club champions to the starting line including Steve Schram (Hogzilla), Barry Allardice (USA 1185), Peter and Andrew Rowsom (Mutiny), Commodore Jamie Mills, Jay Mills and Chris Constant (USA 1199), Marc Robert (Skanky Jane), and Will, Matt and John Ricketson (USA 1248), along with the experienced Andrew McFarland / Greg Hodkinson / Ben Dyett syndicate onboard Moment and Steve Martilla’s Puff Daddy.

The 2016 Etchells LIS Champs will be another event to put SIYC on the regional sailing map of late, following up on our club’s success at the 2015 NYYC Invitational Cup Qualifier (and the currently-underway 2016 NYYC Resolute Cup campaign), and the first edition of Race Week at Shelter Island, slated for early August 2016. SIYC members ranging from junior sailors to officers, trustees and commodores will participate in the 2016 Etchells LIS Champs, and will undoubtedly inspire more members and their families to participate in one-design sailing at the club.

Wish our hometown boats luck this weekend! Click here for the impressive list of entrants.