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Marin County Team Three-Peats at Etchells Winter Series

The Etchells Biscayne Bay Series concluded on February 16-18 with a three-peat win by a California team. Lifted, sailing under the burgee of San Francisco Yacht Club, took on 40+ boats from five countries in four events: the Louis Piana Cup Regatta in December, the Sidney Doren Memorial Regatta in January, and the Florida State Championship and Mid-Winters East Regatta in February. Etchells Fleet 20 and Biscayne Bay YC co-hosted the series.

Etchells fleet
The Etchells fleet rounds a windward mark (orange) and an offset mark (green).
© 2024 Kathleen Tocke

Skipper Jim Cunningham and the crew of Steve Hunt, Erik Shampain and Serena Vilage have sailed together as a team for all three championships. Cunningham attributed their success to the “cohesive and enduring teamwork” they have maintained for more than five years.

Lifted in action on Biscayne Bay.
© 2024 Kathleen Tocke

The Lifted crew’s consistent performance was an important factor in the win. They never finished worse than fourth place in a regatta all season. Dave Ullman, the legendary world champion, Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and sailmaker from Newport Beach, served as their coach. Lifted and A Mac tuned up together for the second year in a row.

Etchells at windward mark
Lifted, #1504, is seen here approaching a windward mark.
© 2024 Kathleen Tocke

Lifted’s strategy included securing solid, lower-risk starts to avoid early mistakes, sailing slightly conservatively, and steering clear of the racecourse’s edges. The top three teams were separated by just two points. Fluctuating winds and equally varying results characterized the Mid-Winters East Regatta. Seven races over three days had six different winners.

Lifted crew with trophies
The Lifted crew at the prize-giving.
© 2024 Kathleen Tocke

Other teams from or associated with California included Argyle Campbell’s Rock On and Jack Jakosky’s A Mac, both out of Newport Harbor; Rick Merriman’s San Diego YC-flagged Big E; and Austin Sperry’s America One- and St. Francis YC-flagged Bayou Hustler, with John Kostecki.

Find Kathleen Tocke’s footage and photos capturing Day 1 on the Etchells North American Class Facebook page.

Check out the full results from the season and learn more at

Next Up for Etchells Sailors on Two Coasts

Next up on the Etchells’ Florida schedule is the Coral Reef Cup on March 22-24, but San Diego YC offers plenty of action too, in the Etchells West Coast Spring Series:

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