Written by By Louay Habib
Photography by Images © PKC Media
19 September 2022
The glitterati of the sailing world has gathered in Cowes for the 2022 Etchells Worlds hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron. At least ten past Etchells World Champions will be competing.
No racing will take place on Monday 19 September to pay respect for the State Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen.
Nine races are scheduled starting on Tuesday 20 September with five days of intense competition expected. A host of trophies will be awarded, and the 2022 Etchells World Champion will be decided.
42 teams are entered from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States of America.
Over half the entries are from the host nation Great Britain and Lawrie Smith’s Mila (GBR 1502) is considered to be one of the favourites. This will be Smith’s fourth Etchells Worlds, but he has yet to win the Founders Trophy.
Mila was in fine form winning the Etchells Pre-Worlds and was top European team for the 2022 Etchells European Championship. Smith’s team for the Worlds is past Fireball World Champion Richard Parslow, Portugal’s Gonçalo Almeida Ribeiro, and 2017 Nacra 17 World Champion Ben Saxton.
Ante Razmilovic will be racing Swedish Blue (GBR 1438) at his seventh Etchells World Championship. Razmilovic has been runner-up on two occasions, 2014 and 2010. Swedish Blue’s crew is Australian Noel Drennan runner-up in 2011, and Brian Hammersley who was third with Razmilovic in 2013. Swedish Blue was leading the 2022 Etchells Pre-Worlds going into the last race but retired after going aground.
Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte (GBR 1459) and James Markby’s Arena (GBR 1470) showed their pedigree in the Pre-Worlds finishing the regatta in third and fourth. The best Youth Team was Ted Blower’s Ada (GBR 1409).
Jon Warwick’s Audrey (GBR 1351) has the 2019 Corinthian World Champion Will Bedford racing. The youngest team for the Worlds are all students at the Greig City Academy, the helm Kai Hockley is just 16 years old. The last British skipper to win the Etchells World Championship was 15 years ago – Andy Beadsworth in 2007.
Eight teams from the United States will be in action for the Etchells World Championship. The American teams boast five past Etchells World champions.
Steve Benjamin won the Worlds in 2017 and will be racing in Cowes with two of his crew from that triumph; Dave Hughes and Ian Liberty. Steve Benjamin’s Stella Blue (USA 1427) was the top international team at the 2022 Etchells European Championship but failed to shine at the Pre-worlds, placing 16th. However, nobody would be surprised if Benjamin wins the 2022 Etchells Worlds.
Peter Duncan was the Corinthian Etchells World Champion in 2008 and Duncan’s Oatmeal (USA 1453) is in fine form coming second in the Etchells Pre-Worlds. Oatmeal has a stellar crew of two-time Etchells World Champion Dog Palfrey and Olympic and America’s Cup sailor Mark Mendelblatt.
From the Houston Yacht Club, 2013 Etchells World Champion Marvin Beckman is racing The Martian (USA 1378), the crew include Ezra Culver who won the Worlds with Beckman.
Two Australian teams are entered for the Etchells Worlds. 2018 Etchells World Champion Martin Hill from the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron will be racing Lisa Rose (AUS 1505).
Hill’s team includes Double Olympic Gold Medallist Mat Belcher and Julian Plante, who both won the Etchells Worlds with Hill in 2018. Will Ryan, 470 Class Tokyo Olympic Gold Medallist, completes a stellar crew racing on Lisa Rose. Chris Hampton’s Tango (AUS 1466) from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club, will be racing with British Olympic Laser Sailor Elliott Hanson and Australia’s Sam Haines. This will be Chris Hampton’s ninth Etchells World Championship.
Past Etchells World Champion Dirk Kneulman will be racing at his eighth championship with New Order (NZL 1499). Kneulman’s crew is Anatole Masfen competing at his fifth Worlds, and past 470 World Champion Simon Cooke.
Mark Thornburrow’s Racer Smithy (HKG 1496) and Jamie McWilliams’ Macho Grande (HKG 1407), will be racing from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. This will be Thornburrow’s thirteenth Etchells World Championship including runner-up in 2018.
Thornburrow’s crew includes double Olympic Gold Medallist Malcom Page who is competing at his fourth Etchells Worlds. Mike Huang, second in the 2018 Etchells Worlds with Thornburrow and Duncan Gregor complete the Racer Smithy crew. Jamie McWilliam will be racing Macho Grande with Jaimie Boag and Oliver Boote. This will be McWilliam’s third Etchells World Championship.
Racing at the 2022 Etchells World Championship, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, kicks off on Tuesday 20 September. Entry list can be seen here.