Updated: Jan 17, 2019
Toward the end of summer in 2018, I was contacted by my good friend Skip
Dieball of the USA.
Skip won the 2015 Etchells Worlds as helmsman with John Maclean and Jeff
Eiber in Hong Kong. Great sailor and wonderful guy that gives a lot back to the sport. I still get a headache thinking back to their celebration party at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Anyway, Skip is now sailing with and assisting Seattle’s Michael Goldfarb with his J70 and Etchells campaigns. We had discussed boats, rigging, foils, rigs etc, quite a bit over the years. Skip called to push the button on a new Etchells build at Heritage Yachts and asked me to oversee the project, every step of the way.
The timeline was reasonably tight. The boat needed to be in Miami to compete in the first of the Bicayne Bay series of events – the Sid Doren Memorial, held in early December. In allowing 6 weeks for shipping, David Heritage and his team in Cowes needed to get cracking.
Mike, Skip and Morten Henricksen all had specific input on systems and
placement of controls. It’s that collaboration with high-level people and sailors that I love when working on these projects.
I missed being in the factory for the last two weeks of the build, due to the
Brisbane Worlds. To David’s credit, he stepped back from heading down to
Brisbane in order to be on-site for the final stages of the build and the sea-trials in Cowes.
I looked after the finishing touches in Miami, ably assisted by Ezra Culver, who generously opens his workshop to me. I was so impressed with the level of detail the guys at Heritage attended to on this boat. As I write, 1469 is (in my most humble of opinions), the best Etchells in the world.
We christened 1469 War Canoe at BBYC. Followed by an awesome sail in 12
knots of warm easterly breeze. It was a great day. I stayed on to assist and coach for the event. The guys won their first ever race in War Canoe by a large margin in a fleet of 45 boats. In the event, they finished a point or two outside the podium. Clearly a nice omen for the future in this boat.
I am happy to share the detailed pictures of War Canoe with you here: