Deceased , Historic

E. W.




Skip Etchells was a naval architect, boat builder and world champion sailor. A Star Worlds Champion (1951, with his wife, Mary), he is best remembered now for the one-design racing sailboat that bears his name, the International Etchells Class, a 30 ft 6 in (9.30 m) keelboat that he designed in 1966. One of the most competitive and respected classes in sailboat racing, the Etchells is often the boat of choice for the world’s top sailors.

Link to a Sports Illustrated article about Etchells: Sports Illustrated 19590720 Etchells

Link to article on the Star Class website about Skip Etchells’ role in “the birth of the modern Star”: Star Class Website Skip Etchells

Honors and Accomplishments:


  • Designer/builder, International Etchells Class (formerly Etchells 22):
  • First and second boats (Shillalah I & II) were built for IYRU three-man keelboat trials, 1966-67.
  • The first 50 or so Etchells class boats were built by his Old Greenwich Boat Co.
  • Now more than 50 fleets worldwide, with about 1,500 boats built.
  • Founder, Old Greenwich Boat Co., Old Greenwich, Conn., circa 1948:
  • Builder of Stars primarily, plus Lightnings, Moths, Blue Jays and eventually Etchells.
  • Over more than 30 years, built hundreds of Stars, which won regattas all over the world.
  • Boats were known for their speed, beauty, and quality of workmanship (the tagline was “Built like a yacht”).


  • Star Class Gold Star: 1st, World Championship, 1951, with wife, Mary, as crew; she remains the only woman to have won the Star Worlds (the winning crew at the Worlds now receives the Mary Etchells Trophy). They were perennial contenders at the Worlds, with three third-place finishes.
  • Star Class Silver Stars:
    • 1st, North American Championships, 1958
    • 1st, Western Hemisphere Championships, 1958, 1959 and 1961.
  • Won dozens of Star regattas around the world over three decades, ’40s through ’60s.
  • Etchells Class National Champion, 1968.


Additional information from the International Etchells Class website, pdf posted with permission from the author: Etchells, Skip The Man The Boat



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