During the year of 1978 SIYC members Peter Dinkel, Cap Hansel, and Henry deLandevoisin discussed the idea of starting a new one design class at the SIYC. The International Etchells Class was a fast growing class that was officially recognized as an International Class in 1974. In 1979 John Holmes was the first SIYC member to purchase an International Etchells. A short time later, members Peter Dinkel and Cap Hansel bought the second one and Henry Kyle purchased the third one. A new one design class was now established at SIYC.
By 1985 the class had grown to 5 boats and was on its way to becoming a popular first choice of many people interested one design racing.
For the past 26 years, the Shelter Island Yacht Club has hosted Etchells Fleet 15 for summer racing in the waters of Eastern Long Island. The fleet includes a lively cast of high-performance one design sailors who compete on the local and national level. With regular summer breeze and several nearby flat-water racing venues, the fleet offers a 25-race summer series each Saturday afternoon from July Fourth to Labor Day as well as a variety of local, regional and nationally sanctioned regattas. The fleet boasts 15-17 boats depending on the weekend and has been growing in recent years.
Currently we have two past Olympians Jay Cross and Scott Kaufman who race on the weekends. As well as you might see Shelter Island’s own Olympian Amanda Clark on the race course. It is hard to find another one design class on the Eastern seaboard that has this many quality sailors who are Olympians and All-American sailors competing every weekend.
Over the years Fleet 15 has hosted many regattas that have been very well attended by some of the most talented sailors. America’s Cup skippers like Dennis Conner and Russell Coutts have participated in our regattas. Our own SIYC member Randy Bartholomew won the Etchells World in 1975 and finished second in 1976.
Fleet 15 continues to grow and will for years to come.