The first stage of the four-event Etchells West Coast Spring Series (WCSS), sponsored by P&E Marine and North Sails was the Midwinters West, was held out of San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) March 31 – April 2.
Sixteen boats competed over the three-day event, and Jim Cunningham and his team of Steve Hunt, Serena Village, and Erik Shampain on Lifted won the open division. Second place went to Bruce Nelson on Rhino, with Mickey Ryan on Ahui Hui in third. Steve Wright took the Corinthian title on Reposado, joined by Joe Markee and Joe Erskine with Michael Terry on Blue Fin in second and Summer Greene on Mostly Harmless finishing third.
Cunningham and his team have been on a winning streak, having finished first in the Etchells North Americans in Miami earlier in March. Cunningham commented that he really enjoys the camaraderie at the San Diego events where the fleet hosts debriefs after the day of racing. The pros share set up and what worked on the race course, and there is good banter among the group. Unlike Miami and other Etchells hot spots, in San Diego there is a high percentage of Corinthian teams at the events and a focus on bringing up the level of the fleet.
Jim Cunningham, Steve Hunt, Eriik Shampain, and Coach Dave Ullman ran the debrief on Saturday of the Midwinters. All stated it was the best learning opportunity they had experienced in years. Summer Greene commented, “I’ve sailed Etchells in San Diego for 15 years, and Saturday’s post race debrief was the best I’ve ever attended. Thanks, team Lifted.”
Remaining Etchells West Coast Spring Series Events include the Pacific Coast Championship April 29-30, the Bill Bennett Cup on May 13-14, and the Orca Bowl/National Championship on May 19-21.