Fast, sleek and stable: that's how most sailors describe the ride of an Etchells.
A powerful, beautiful 30.5' keelboat that bites into big breeze that powers up more quickly than traditional keelboats. Her long lines and narrow beam make her visually stunning as she carves through waves or accelerates across flat waters.
She can tack in 70 degrees and has a low wetted surface hull form that keeps moving in the slightest breeze. In 20+ knots it absolutely flies. The strict one-design principle of the class was established from the outset and is controlled by a strong, established and well-administered class association. Control of construction by the class association and the ISAF ensures quality and uniformity. It's trailerable, easy to maintain and light enough to dry sail; and Etchells hold exceptional resale value.
Though the boat is very sensitive to fine adjustments in the rig and sail trim, which makes sailing her technically intriguing to all types of sailors, the tight one-design adherence keeps the racing tight and close, placing strong emphasis on tactics -- a factor that made the boat a favorite among world class sailors.
The best teams work to create sail balance by tuning the rig and making adjustments in the sail trim to provide about 3-4lbs of pressure on the helm. Given the competitiveness of the sailors in the class, trimming sail shape to the best shape is a constant process to optimize VMG.
The boat is usually sailed by three- or four-person crews, with a maximum combined crew weight of 285kg or 627lbs. Duties are divided up for jib trim, mast position and shape, mainsail trim, tactics, and helm. Usually on the upwind legs, the middle crew trims the mainsail and calls tactics with the helm, while the foredeck crew trims the jib. On the downwind legs, the middle crew flies the kite, while the foredeck crew gybes the spinnaker pole (end-for-end) and calls tactics.
Hiking is permitted, but there are limitations by class rule -- no footstraps or hiking devices. The boat is tender enough to encourage roll-tacking, but stable enough not to make it an absolute necessity.
The Etchells class is world-wide in scope...you always meet friends wherever you go. World championships are held annually, attracting the best sailors. Worlds venues generally rotate amongst the Class' three major geographical areas: North America, Europe and Australasia/Asia.
A video produced in the UK offers some insight to the Etchells.
Recent and Future Etchells World Championship Locations
Year Location Sponsoring Club
2010 Dublin, Ireland Howth Yacht Club
2011 San Diego, California, USA San Diego Yacht Club
2012 Sydney, NSW, Australia Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron
2013 Rosignano Solvay, Italy Yacht Club Cala de’ Medici
2014 Newport, Rhode Island, USA New York Yacht Club
2015 Hong Kong, PRC Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
2016 Cowes, Isle of Wight, England Royal London Yacht Club
2017 San Francisco, California, USA San Francisco Yacht Club
2018 Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Royal Queensland Yacht Club
2019 Corpus Christi, Texas, USA Corpus Christi Yacht Club
2020 Freemantle, WA, Australia Royal Perth Yacht Club
More locally, racing takes place in most of best-known yachting venues in the United States and the Northeast. See the Schedule for some highlights.