Siegal Wins Etchells Championships
NEWPORT, RI (June 25, 2013) - If the weekend’s Etchells Championship is an indicator of future success, Newport sailor Jeffrey Siegal (Portsmouth) should be on the podium for next year’s Etchells World Championships scheduled for June in Newport.
Siegal was awarded the 2013 Etchells North American Championship trophy at New York Yacht Club on Saturday. Siegal edged out the second and third place winners by a narrow spread of only four points between them.
“It was our biggest win in all the Etchells’ class competitions,” Siegal said.
After eight races in the three-day series, Siegal and crew conquered a fleet of 32 accomplished sailors with decades of experience and a long list of championship titles. A narrow four points between the top three finishes.
Siegal is no newcomer to the winner’s circle. He won the 2012 National Championship in the Etchells Class and also won the prestigious Jaguar Cup Series, twice in a row in the past three years.
The regatta did not start out on an upward swing, however, as Siegel and crew posted a thirteenth in the first race of the regatta.
“We had a bad first race but we’ve sailed together for so long we shrugged off the bad results and went back out and started nailing it,” Siegal said.
After that race, Siegal helmed a first and second place finish ending the day in fourth place. The steady team continued to focus into and through day two of racing when they finished in a tie for first place.
“Our core focus this weekend was to stay calm and quiet and do what we needed to do,” he said. And by the end of the second day of racing, “I started thinking ‘Wow, we actually have a shot’,” he said.
Those hopes were dimmed, however, when making a bad start in the first race and struggling at the back of the pack in very light winds.
“It got tricky,” he said but quickly credits a skilled tacticians’ team strategy to cover his closest competitors which worked when the team moved from near last to a fourth place.
In the final race, within a quarter of a mile from the finish line, Siegel turned around and counted the boats to his stern and realized he had won the championship. At tht moment, he said, “ The feeling was indescribable. This was the biggest championship we have won.”
The team plans to complete throughout the coming year in several Etchells series events with early 2014 spring tuning in Newport to prepare for the 2014 World Championship in June. For more information, visit: www.nyyc.org.