Steve Benjamin

Cowes, UK (September 8, 2016) – Big breeze arrived at the 2016 Etchells World Championship on the fourth day of competition. The conditions were unexpected, with 25 knots of solid breeze and bullets of pressure sending the wind speed past 30 knots. With the completion of the sixth race, it was moving day for many teams as the discard now comes into plan.

Argyle Campbell (USA) won today’s lone race followed by Andy Beadsworth (GBR) in second and reigning Etchells World Champion Skip Dieball (USA) in third.

John Bertrand (AUS) extended his overall lead to 19 points at the top of the fleet, scoring a sixth today and discarding a 22nd. Steve Benjamin’s team (USA) suffered damage to their mainsheet system before the start, which they repaired, but the knock-on effect was a rushed pre-start and a 20th place which has dropped them to third overall. Irish born Australian Noel Drennan scored a fifth place to steal past Benjamin by a single point.

“John (Bertrand) has got quite a big lead and Steve Benjamin and Chris Hamilton are close behind us, so there is still plenty of racing to come,” commented Drennan, who is competing in his 18th Etchells Worlds. “It looks like it will be windy again tomorrow, and things can happen. We will try to start well and try not to do anything stupid.”

Today’s race winner Argyle Campbell was ready for today’s conditions. “We have been in Cowes a while, training in high winds, so we were used to the conditions today and had worked out a good set up for the boat,” commented Campbell. “We decided to keep the tactics simple and minimize maneuvers. We banged hard left and it worked pretty well. We had a good lead at the top mark but Andy Beadsworth was really fast and closing on us all the time. I didn’t have much time to look around today; it was hard enough keeping the boat in the water upwind and from under the water downwind! But today was a much better view!”

In 21st overall, James Badenach (HKG) now leads the Corinthian Class by 17 points. Overnight leader Martin Webster (AUS) retired from today’s race, putting the team into third position, while Thomas Brennan’s team (GBR) remains in second position.

“We got disqualified yesterday, which put a bit of a spanner in the works,” admitted Badenach. “We have been looking to make the top 15 to the first mark but for the last three races, we need to step it up a bit and maybe take a few more risks.”

Fifty-eight teams representing 11 nations will compete for six days on September 5-10. Six races shall constitute a series with 9 races planned in the Central Solent.

Racing concludes Saturday.  To follow along visit: http://2016.etchellsworlds.org/

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