Kirkland secures silverware in Isle of Wight
Jesse Kirkland, the Bermuda sailor, and remaining crew on board American Jane II are guaranteed to come away with silverware at this week's Etchells World Championship in Cowes, Isle of Wight.
With Kirkland calling the shots in his role as tactician, the American entry, led by skipper Scott Kaufman, won the fifth race of the nine-race series and will receive a silver bowl and stand to be presented by US Etchells Fleet 12 and the St Francis Yacht Club.
“It felt good to have everything come together between our strategy, boat speed and starting,” Kirkland said. “We were very excited.”
After six races Kaufman's team were eighth in the 58-boat racing fleet, 15 points adrift of the final spot on the podium with three races remaining, despite losing momentum in yesterday's race after experiencing a mechanical breakdown.
“Unfortunately we lost a few places with our boat swamping because of our electric pump not working in a very wavy and windy sea when we were in the top three,” Kirkland added.
The team had to settle for fifteenth as a result of their misfortune but are hoping to end the regatta on a more positive note.
“Moving forward, we are looking to stick to our game plan and hopefully finish the event on a strong note with three races left,” said Kirkland, who represented Bermuda in the 49er class along with brother Zander at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The pair finished nineteenth at the London Olympics with 204 points in the 15-race competition. They had a second-place finish and two sixth finishes.
This year's Etchells World Championship is being contested in the Solent, the same venue where the first race for the “Auld Mug” took place in 1851.
The conditions were unexpected yesterday, 25 knots of solid breeze with bullets of pressure, sending the wind speed past 30 knots.
“The racing has been challenging with the mighty Solent throwing everything it can offer at us,” Kirkland said.
“That said, our team is adapting decently well and we've been able to get the boat going well in the right places on the course most of the time.
“It's very tight racing out there though.”
Bermuda is among the teams competing. At the helm of the island's sole representative is seasoned skipper Tim Patton.
After six races Patton and his team-mates on board Thrash were sixth in the 17-boat Corinthian division and 42nd overall.
Competing with Patton, who is making his 26th appearance at the championship this year, are Tom Herbert-Evans, the America's Cup's community sailing manager, and Richard Percy, the brother of Artemis Racing tactician and sailing team manager Iain Percy.
Leading the overall fleet is John Bertrand and crew of Australian entry, Triad2.
Bertrand, a long-time friend of Patton, led Australia to a famous victory over Dennis Conner's Liberty at the 25th America's Cup to end 132-years of American dominance in the regatta.