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Watson makes encouraging start

Mark Watson leads the local contingent at the Etchells World Championships that got underway under sunny skies in Newport, Rhode Island, yesterday.

After two of the scheduled nine races taking place in Rhode Island Sound this week, provisional results showed that the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club sailor and Argo Group CEO was 28th among a fleet of 95 boats.

Watson, who missed this year's Newport to Bermuda Race to compete at the World Championships, got the regatta off to a reasonably good start after posting finishes of 60th and seventh sailing in 14 to 22 knot southerly breezes.Watson is sailing aboard the Etchell, Tiberon, with crew Dirk Kneulmann and Andreas Josenhans.

He said: “We are pleased with our performance even though we had a tough time in the first race after we started on the right side of the course and the wind filled in from the left.

“Second race we made a clean start, picked our way up the course and was able to hold our position.”

Also flying Bermuda's flag at the Etchell World Championships is experienced sailor Tim Patton.

Patton managed a 31st and 75th that left him in 53rd spot on the leaderboard, according to provisional results.

Sailing with Patton aboard the boat, Thrash, is Peter Martin and Jason Owen.

Another local sailor taking part in the regatta is Olympian Jesse Kirkland. Kirkland is crewing for Scott Kaufmann, of USA, aboard the Etchell American Jane II, which sits in thirteenth after posting finishes of 25th and fourteenth yesterday.

Leading the fleet after day one is Bill Hardesty, of USA, aboard the boat Line Honors.

The past Etchells World Champion, whose crew includes Taylor Canfield, the past Argo Group Gold Cup winner and reigning Alpari World Match Racing Tour champion, finished second in both of yesterday's races. Five-points adrift of Hardesty in second is Ante Razmilovic, of Hong Kong, aboard the boat, Swedish Blue, followed by American Marvin Beckmann, the defending Etchells World Champion, in third aboard The Martian.

Also competing is Aussie John Bertrand who skippered Australia II to victory in the 1983 America's Cup in Newport, ending 132 years of American dominance.

The Olympic medallist, who is sailing on the boat Triad, sits in fourth.

The Etchells World Championships are being hosted by the New York Yacht Club. Racing continues today at the offshore regatta.

Jesse Kirkland, right, is competing at the Etchells World Championships

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Published June 25, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 25, 2014 at 1:00 am)

Watson makes encouraging start

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