Evans teams up with Patton pair
Olympic Games hopeful Rockal Evans has joined forces with the father and son duo, Tim and Campbell Patton for the Etchells World Championships in Brisbane, Australia, next week.
Evans is familiar with the local conditions having moved to Sydney a year ago, which will come in handy competing in the one-design Etchells keelboat celebrating 50 years this year.
“I was honoured to get a call from Tim asking if I was interested in crewing for them at the Etchells World Championships,” Evans said.
“It’s the first time the three of us will be sailing together. Tim is also excited because it’s the first time in a long time he’s had an all-Bermudian team at the Worlds.”
Evans moved Down Under to ramp up his qualifying bid for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he hopes to compete in the same single-handed Finn class in which his late grandfather Howard Lee represented Bermuda at the 1976 Montreal Games.
“I’m reasonably convinced that Rockal will qualify for the next Olympics in the Finn Class,” Patton said. “Howard Lee would be very proud.”
Patton is a multiple Bermuda Etchells class champion who has represented Bermuda at numerous Etchells World Championships.
He also has considerable experience sailing in Australia.
This year is the second straight year that he is competing at the event with son Campbell who is fresh off a highly successful summer of dinghy sailing in the Laser class.
The teenager won bronze medals at the Laser Radial Youth European Championships in Hungary in April and the US Laser National Championships in Texas in July. He also finished twelfth at the ISAF Youth Sailing Championships in Texas in July.
“Certainly with the level that Campbell and Rockal are sailing at, I’m the weak link in the crew,” Patton said.
A fourth Bermudian, Jesse Kirkland, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics, is also competing at the event as crew of American Jane II helmed by US national Etchells champion Scott Kaufman.
This year’s championships boasts a star-studded 95-boat fleet, which includes America’s Cup winners John Bertrand, Iain Murray and Grant Simmer.
Murray served as regatta director and Simmer as general manager of defender Oracle Team USA at the America’s Cup last year in Bermuda.
There are also ten former winners among the fleet, including American helmsman Stephen Benjamin, who is the defending champion.
“There will be many Olympians and World champions and a lot of the teams have fully paid crews,” Patton said. “To be brutally honest, we may not win.
“The regatta will have 95 boats, which is a huge fleet for boats this size.”
The five-day event starts on Monday and is being hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.