Kirkland prepared for tricky Solent
Jesse Kirkland will mix it up with some of the world’s elite sailors at next week’s Etchells World Championship in Cowes, Isle of Wight.
The Bermudian Olympian is competing as a tactician on board American entry, American Jane II, helmed by skipper Scott Kaufman of the United States.
Kirkland, who lives in California, arrived in the Isle of Wight this week where he and his team-mates have stepped up their preparations for the battles ahead on the Solent.
“Our team is solid and we’re hoping to get a few good days of practice in on the tricky Solent before the event starts on Monday,” Kirkland said.
“Competition-wise, things are looking tough with a lot of top names from the sport as well as Etchells legends competing.”
Kirkland has some knowledge of the conditions having competed at the 2012 London Olympics in the English Channel with brother Zander in the double-handed Olympic-class 49er skiff against the likes of America’s Cup helmsmen Nathan Outteridge and Peter Burling. Also competing is Bermudian Tim Patton, who is making his 26th appearance at the championship.
The seasoned skipper is competing with Tom Herbert-Evans, the America’s Cup’s community sailing manager, and Richard Percy, the brother of Iain Percy, the Artemis Racing tactician and sailing team manager.
Returning to defend their title is Skip Dieball, of the United States, and crew of Aretas while John Bertrand, who led Australia to a famous victory over Dennis Conner’s Liberty at the 25th America’s Cup to end 132 years of American dominance, will also be also in action.
The championship will involve 61 teams in a nine-race series. It is being hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club in conjunction with the Cowes Etchells Fleet, with racing to take place in the Solent, the venue where the first race for the “Auld Mug” was held in 1851.
The one-design Etchells keelboat is a 30-foot monohull sailed by a crew of three of four that can tack in 70 degrees and is highly sensitive to subtle adjustments in trim and tuning.
• Aspen has been named as the title sponsor for November’s Viper 640 International Championship in the Great Sound.
The Aspen Viper 640 International Championship, presented by EFG, will be sailed from November 16 to 19 and will involve more than 60 teams.