The Etchells fleet was first established at RMYC in 2003, and holds over 50 evening and weekend race events each season. The fleet enjoys the unique racing grounds of the River Mersey and out into Liverpool Bay, virtually the only stretch of sheltered deep water on the west coast of England from Cornwall to the Scottish Borders. The Etchells is an exciting, friendly class to join with some of the most competitive racing available, and there are in-house training opportunities for new members. Fleet members compete in Northern, National and European Championships on a regular basis, and the Worlds are regularly held in the UK. If you would like to join the RMYC Etchells fleet or find more information, please contact one of the Fleet Captains below and ask away – you’ll find us a friendly bunch.
For over 30 years, the International Etchells Fleet has been the world’s leading international one-design keelboat outside of the Olympic classes. The Etchells is a fast, sleek, stable racing sloop which can be sailed competitively by 3 or 4 average sailors. It can tack through 70 degrees and its low wetted surface hull keeps moving in the slightest breeze – in 20 plus knots it absolutely flies. 1400 boats have been built worldwide and the class rules ensure that older boats remain competitive, allowing newcomers to join with relative ease. Family teams, young talent, sailing greats (such as Dennis Conner, John Bertrand and Russell Coutts) and Saturday afternoon club sailors all enjoy racing in the boat – 30 feet of pure sailing machine, which planes downwind when it’s windy and slips along in the light. A nice video offering insights on the Etchells is available here.
One of the joys of sailing the Etchells as a crew is finding that extra subtlety of tuning or technique which converts a fast boat into a lightening quick boat, one capable of winning races. To that end, it is worth ensuring both rig and crew are ready to hit the sweet spot of performance. Several resources are available to help:
There are several video tuning guides for the Etchells available online. The main points of interest are covered in a series of short videos produced by the Cowes fleet, and a longer video from the Hong Kong fleet covers the entire process.
The major Etchells sail makers also produce written tuning guides for correct setup of the boats when using their sails. Follow the links for North Sails and Doyle Sails. Harken also produce a guide to Etchells deck gear layout.
And finally, we all know it is useless having the perfectly prepared boat if the occupants are not up for it too. So, to wring every last fraction of speed and enjoyment out of your Etchells, check out these excellent crew manoeuvre video tutorials, demonstrated by Oscar Mead of the Cowes Etchells fleet.