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October 27, 2018 worldsadmin0
Winners are Grinners! Lisa Rose celebrate their overall win in style!

Seen a lot of water. Been to a lot of places. Today, Brisbane pretty much offered the classic mix of sun, and just enough wind for the last two races of the 2018 Etchells World Championship. I think it is fair to say that it was very much appreciated by all and sundry, whether they were competitors, or part of the large flotilla of spectators who took to Moreton Bay to witness the crowning of a new champion.

Now despite dire predictions, including no breeze at all just after lunch, it seemed Huey the God of Wind was just as motivated as the Race Committee to get a full series in. True, he may have wanted it to move around a bit, just to keep it interesting, but there can be no denying the intent.

So at around 1030hrs local, with the Sou’easter coming in from 140 degrees and blowing 7 knots at the bottom, and more like 9 at the top, Course 2 out to a range of 2nm, with the leeward gate set 0.7nm further uphill from the start, was all set up and ready to go. Pretty standard stuff by now…

Heading downwind as the bulk of the fleet first rounds the weather mark and then the clearance mark (green) on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Emily Scott Images

Overnight leader, Lisa Rose (Martin Hill, Julian Plante, Sean O’Rourke, and Mat Belcher) would collect the win in Race Eight. Now whilst this may not have set the padlock on the gate, it well and truly closed it, and so staying in front of your opposition would see you become the 2018 Etchells World Champions in front of a lot of family and friends, as well as many a keen enthusiast. This all came to pass later in the afternoon in Race Nine.

Lisa Rose wins Race Eight and was hot favourite to take the championship going into Race 9

In addition to the overall win, there were the Senior and Masters Divisions wins, as well. “Yes, it is very nice to hear those words, World Champion”, said Hill. “It is something we did not expect. We did know that we had a good team, however. I had known Mat for over 10 years, but it is a pretty tall order to arrive here with a fresh team, and against this sort of fleet, but we worked it together, and we felt the chemistry was right, so we improved as the series went on.”

“Even today when we started as leader, we knew that it was so easy to be first one day and 50th the next in a 94 boat fleet like this. Nervous was not the issue, but you do have to take each race as it comes. We started in the middle in that first race, and tacked on the shifts, which had us around the weather mark in third spot. We did well on the run to make it up to first place, which was important given we had a weakness in that area earlier. So then we hung onto that lead for the race win.”

The two wine glasses. The one who finishes lower in the standings is the one buying – and it is not cheap – on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Mitchell Pearson / SurfSailKite

“It was fantastic, but there was the matter of the next race, and whilst there was a buffer of like 17 points to the next competitor, but we were ultra aware that you could loose that much faster than you could gain it. Tactically, we just covered in Race Nine, rather than go for another win. Gen XY did get one place up on us, but again, the wonderful camaraderie of this class showed when John Bertrand and Scott Kaufmann realise we were in this tussle, and wave us through on Port, which was just marvellous.”

“The team was awesome, but Matt makes ordinary, extraordinary. He is fantastic. Having Will Ryan on Racer C in second place just goes to show the calibre of the Australian Sailing Team.”

Of course, Lisa Rose had an amazing support team of family and friends, including AST Coach, Michael Blackburn. “It is great. I could hear them cheering at each mark rounding and it is wonderful to share it with Lisa, the kids and grandchildren.”

Brisbane Fleet member, Land Rat on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Emily Scott Images

Quayside as they craned the boat out, Matt Belcher indicated to me that he had a lot of fun with this latest member of his collection of World Championships. He also felt a special and unique place inside said group.

Race Nine ensued, and was set to an axis of 090 degrees as the breeze continued to move left. It was actually a bit stronger, sometimes making it feel like a real a 12 knots behind it. The range was set to 2nm, with the gate in the usual place. The difference this time was that as the racing was on schedule, the committee could opt for Course One with its upwind finish.

A leg shortening had been predicted, but it ended up being a change to 045, as the Nor’easter continued to hold sway. William Voermann, Lucas Down and Gary van Lunteren on Triad took out this race. “It was great and a good race, too”, said Voermann.

Triad take out Race Nine and weren’t they thrilled on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Emily Scott Images

Apart from nailing the shift to the left during racing, Voermann indicated that, “A good clean start, and a textbook race with fast boat speed were essential. We played the shifts as well, as there were a couple in the first half of the first work to windward. So we stayed in phase, and kept mostly to the middle, and ultimately it opened up for us. The tide also dragged us up to the weather mark, as it began to ebb.”

“Downwind we worked hard, and on the second run, one of those boats that was ahead of us gybed away, which ended up costing them dearly. Almost everyone chose the Eastern gate at the leeward gate, and we were there by design, for we had a forecast that said it would go back to the left even more as the day wore on.”

In regards to collecting a bullet (first place) at a worlds and where to from there, Voermann simply said, “Who knows? We’ll just keep trucking along and learning.”

On the bow of Encore on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Emily Scott Images

The largest division in the regatta is the Corinthians, who represent over half of the 94-boat fleet and are also 100% amateur. The popular Iron Lotus crew of Tom King, Ivan Wheen, David Edwards, and Greg O’Shea finished in 13th place overall, with a 49th place their worst result, once the Black Flag had been discarded.

At the time of writing there was a protest pending involving the leader in the Youth Division, Bait N Switch, which was crewed by Jake Lilley, Matt Wearn and Lewis Brake. Irrespective of the outcome, Jake Lilley’s comments about the sailing, the class, and the benefits of sailing Etchells still stand. “It’s been a long week of racing against a lot of top guys, and all the best in the world. It is a pretty new experience for us. It was our first time racing the Etchells, and all together too. It was also our first real Etchells regatta. So we have learned a lot, and it’s really valuable experience for us in our Olympic campaigns moving forward.”

Naturally, their results trended upwards as the week progressed. “It is important to be consistent, and we have not quite got the boat figured out upwind just yet. So we worked on starting well and then be in the right breeze lanes. There are a lot of typical things, but we have lots of lessons to draw upon now, many at the hands of past Olympians. So come the end of 2020 we are going to have many people to thank, hopefully.”

Not so orderly leeward rounding on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Mitchell Pearson / SurfSailKite

“It feels like Rio was yesterday, and the Olympic trials held four years ago were just last week. Time just disappears, and these regattas are just so crucial and critical little milestones, where we can get some good nuggets from the best in the world off the world, and then get schooled a couple of times out on the water. To race at home has just been terrific.”

The Grand Maters was won by John Bertrand AO, with Noel Drennan and Ben Lamb. The top female helm was Jeanne-Claude Strong who apart from collecting a race win, also finished in 20th place overall with her crew on 1435, Seve Jarvin, Marcus Burke and Jen Danks. She is an inspiration individual in so many ways, and tows her on boat to and from regattas. She is also an accomplished pilot, and brought her own plane home from the USA the long way via Europe and the sub-Continent. On top of all of that, she retains a bubbly personality, and a completely infectious enthusiasm.

Always good when you’re going uphill and they’re coming down on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Mitchell Pearson / SurfSailKite

Chairman of the organising Committee, David Irvine, was a justifiably proud man at the end of the day. “Who would have thought that around five years ago when we decided to go for it that we would be standing on the deck now, with just presentations to go, which will be my last official duty. In addition to the turnout, I think the conditions have been another highlight. We concentrated on giving people the best regatta we could on the ground, and the vibe in the boat park has been great. My back is sore from all the pats, and my right hand from all the shakes. That’s the best news, and I am very humble and very proud to be associated with this regatta.”

With more than a touch of his trademark humour on display, Irvine offered these gems for anyone contemplating something like this. “Firstly, don’t do it. Next. Jump in and plan the heck out of it. The findings will be handed on to Corpus Christi for 2019 and Perth 2020. You don’t get into it with 12 months to go. You start the moment you win the rights to hold it. It was the best regatta we could have put on.”

The Committee Boat was again popular today, but did not get any more kisses on the final day of the 2018 Etchells World Championships – photo © Mitchell Pearson / SurfSailKite

“The number of people involved has just been phenomenal. Today we had 27 people out there on start, mark, and safety. We had to make more shirts for the entire group, and it was in excess of 160. Their efforts equate to well over a thousand hours too. It is fantastic for the club, as well as the class. The Wilson brothers have been fantastic, and none of it would have been done without the committee that arranged it all.”

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly hosted the 94-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship.

Regatta Website at for full results and here for many things including live vision from the track,

Regatta Website:



October 26, 2018 worldsadmin0

It is always nice to be on station, on time, and with the prospect of racing getting underway near enough to the schedule. Tick. Tick. Even Huey, the God of Wind had delivered a wonderful Northerly in the ten-knot zone for 2018 Etchells World Championship to enjoy. There’s always a catch, and this time it was the tide was just about to begin to ebb. It had been a full moon overnight, and a massive tide to boot, with the walkways to the floating marina just about going uphill as you walked to the boats.

Out on Moreton Bay, this was most evidenced by the fact the anchored vessels all swung through 90 degrees to be effectively beam on to the wind. Thankfully, I can report that nearly all of the international visitors have now worked out the tides, which in today’s case would be South to North. Cool. As a result, there were many more USA and GBR sail numbers present in the upper echelons of the mark roundings. Nice.

Race seven would be on an axis of 355 degrees, out to a range of 2.4nm, with the leeward gate some 0.7 of a nautical mile up range of the start for the two windward/returns. This has been pretty much the status quo for the week, and it has worked well. Making every post a winner was, The Cure (AUS 1374), which is skippered by Class Governor, David Clark, and crewed by Alan Smith and Ray Smith (no relation), as well as young Angus Sherring for this regatta.

The Cure won the Queensland State Championship nigh on 12 moths ago, then backed that up with the 2018 Australasian Championship and then the Spring Regatta held here also at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. So on the back of all of that, you could appreciate that the crew would be very excited by a bullet (race win) at a World Championship.

Yet there is more to that story, for now that they have done four Worlds, they have collected a bullet in each of them – Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and now Brisbane. Clark spoke jovially afterwards, “Yes. We just need to get the rest of the scorecard sorted out and we can be on the podium one day!”

The excitement was very discernable, and justifiable so, given how much the entire crew has put in to making this happen. “We woke up this morning and said the regatta starts today, as we have been a bit disappointed in the results so far. Coming out on to the water with a fresh mind certainly helped. A good start was essential, and then had speed, which allowed us to lead from gun to gun. (BTW bring back the gun I say…)

Given all that Clark does as a Governor, Vice-President of the Australian Association, member of the Technical Committee and so on, you might wonder what is the driving force. For Clark he simply says, “It is the Class, and keeping the integrity of it going. I sit on the One Design Committee with some awesome people like Andrew Palfrey, Bruce Nelson, and Skip Dieball, and it is all about keeping the One Design close, and it is this that Members really appreciate. Our job is to ensure it is a level playing field. I am a bit of tech-head (in his day job, Clark is a Patent Attorney) and he does love the engineering and materials aspects. I will take a break from the sailing, but keep contributing the Class, and keep it even.”

Of course this all meant that everything seemed to be going along to plan. Earlier on in the week, it was a question of how many races might they get in? During Chooklotto, a game to figuratively put your money where your mouth was, I actually selected six. So today I am absolutely delighted to report that I lost. Big time. Now as a direct result of race eight being abandoned today after two and a half legs, the crews have been asked to get out on the water early for racing from 1030hrs. No new racing can begin after 1500hrs (AEST), so it is clear that the Race Committee is keen to get a full compliment of nine races in for the championship.

So then, leading into the final day, the overall win, along with those for the Master and Senior Divisions too, lies in the hands of Martin Hill’s, Lisa Rose (AUS 1449). She is crewed by Julian Plante (no stranger to the Class himself), Sean O’Rourke, and then a talented local sailor by the name of Mat Belcher (who can draw on eight 470 World Championships as just part of his CV).

Catching up with Hill aboard his boat on the eve of the last day, we talked about what it all might bring from here, given that he was sixth at last year’s World Championship in San Francisco. “The competition here is just unbelievable. Today at the top mark there was John Bertrand, Steve Benjamin and Tom King there, and these are all Olympic stars. To be able to be matching these guys is a great privilege. This is the best competition in Australia, and this is the biggest fleet I have sailed in. Yes the Farr 40s have given me great and wonderful memories, sailing all around the world, as well as all those terrific people you meet, but this really is a notch up, especially on our home waters, as such.”

“Here the stars are all driving, where as with the Farrs it was an owner/driver rule. So I am a new kid on the block, even if a little grey haired of course. We have a great team, and then my Son in Law, Michael Blackburn to be our coach. You know there is one thing you do need to say about the Etchells, and that is the tremendous camaraderie. No matter whether it is Iain Murray or Andrew Palfrey, or whomever, they all help us and everyone helps each other too. I find that so refreshing. Everyone improves that way. We have been training with both Tom King and David Turton, and this just shows how well everyone binds together.”

“This really is the most incredible aspect of the class. We are very thankful for that, but you do always remember that you can be chicken one day and feathers the next. It is so difficult, and the long 1.2km line here, and just a shift on that first work can give you 15 places before you know it. Get on the right end of that and it is great. The wrong end, and well, it is hard to pass 40 boats.”

“We’re just enjoying tonight on the basis that we have achieved this position going into the final day, all the while knowing how easily it could change tomorrow. We can pat ourselves on the back a bit, and I feel we have won the top mark award, if there is such a thing, given how many times we’ve been there without a race win, so far. I get a great feeling being there first, and I guess it just means we must be slow downwind… We are always learning, each time we sail.

Should it all come to pass, Hill merely says of daring to dream, “It would be unbelievable. It is a process, and if it happens it will be wonderful. I might even do a Malcolm Page and jump off the boat, even if there is a shark around!” Lisa Rose holds a three-point buffer at the top of the table over Gen XY, who are further seven points in front of Racer C.

The Corinthian Division is by far the biggest in the fleet, with over 50% of the armada contesting for this most coveted of trophies. The leader is currently in 16th place overall, with a Black Flag from Wednesday’s racing really hurting them. Like they don’t already know that… Anyway, Iron Lotus is no stranger to the podium, having won the recent Pre-Worlds, and the 2012 Etchells World Championship, as well. AUS 1442 is skippered by former Olympic Gold Medallist, Tom King, with regular crew Ivan Wheen and David Edwards, and the ‘new’ member is Greg O’Shea.

King commented quayside, “We’ve always raced in the Class as Corinthians, which we really enjoy. Certainly we’re very happy to be in this position at this stage, so let’s hope it stays that way”, reflecting on the 18 point buffer they have over, The Hole Way (AUS 1306) – Grant Crowle, James Mayjor, and Joe McMillan.

“There’s still 190 points on offer to the highest bidder, so we aim not be involved in that. We’re going to be careful after that Black Flag incident, and anything can happen. There is certainly a whole bunch of very talented Corinthian crews there, and we have all been up and down the leaderboard a bit in this regatta, so you do need to be a little philosophical about it all. We could go up ten and down 30 places tomorrow, so we will just have to wait and see.”

Reflecting on the win back in 2012 off of Sydney Heads, King said, “This is much harder and a lot more competitive. The conditions here are lighter winds with relatively flat water, and the crews all seem to be very even in speed. In a 94-boat Etchells fleet there are a lot of excellent sailors out on the water, which makes it hard, so full credit to those who are doing well!”

The final day of racing is tomorrow, Saturday October 27. At the end, not only will the overall result be known, but also those for the divisions, namely Masters, Grand Masters, Female Helm, Youth and Corinthian, with the latter all having amateur status.

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 94-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27.  Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, simply go to

To follow the racing live, go to Etchells Brisbane and for live tracking click here


Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
EtchWD5-37.jpg Leeward mark rounding, as seen by the drone. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-39.jpg Fleet got slow as the breeze started to crump in the abandoned race eight. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-27.jpg Regattas need volunteers and a World Championship needs heaps of them, so thank you! Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-31.jpg Mark Crier, Andrew Harry, Andy Feathers on Forte. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-32.jpg Matthew Whitnall, Robert Bishop, Harley Kruse, and Blake Wilson on Mona Lisa. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-20.jpg Charlie Manzoni, Kevin Crandall, Tiger Mok, and Will Bridge on Madness. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-13.jpg Back story. The wine glass does not represent the number of times it comes out of the bag all twisted up, but rather the red that is drunk as a side bet between them. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-15.jpg At work on The Cure. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-24.jpg On the foredeck of Fifteen+. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-25.jpg The Youth Squad on Grand V have been carving it up. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-4.jpg The Committee Boat has been very popular. Yesterday it even got a kiss from one Etchells! Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-7.jpg The sponsors had a great time aboard Temptation. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
EtchWD5-2.jpg Stella Blue demonstrating some of their secret winning ways. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
ESI_Race7_001.JPG Demonstrating perfect balance aboard Perfect Balance! (Brendan Garner, Chris Manton, Ben O’Brien, with Joshua Garner all smiles at the shrouds for us.) Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race7_002.JPG Winners of Race Seven, The Cure, David Clark, Ray Smith, Alan Smith and Angus Sherring. Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race7_003.JPG Triad2 – John Bertrand, Noel Drennan and Ben Lamb. Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race7_004.JPG Making the magic happen, for it won’t be there next week. Emily Scott Images



October 25, 2018 worldsadmin0

Looking at it, and knowing this is about sailing, you might expect that headline to be some reference to huge wind shifts. It is not. Mind you, out on the track today for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, we did see everything from 110 early on, to 050/060 degrees, with the latter being where it would settle in and allow two more races to be conducted. This brings the tally to six so far, which is a series, so well done to the entire Race Management team under the peerless Wilson Brothers.

One more race and the drop comes into play, which will make many of the crews happy, especially those already pinged under Code Flag U over the last couple of days or the dreaded Black that made its first appearance yesterday. So you would think that everybody would be playing nicely today, but alas there was more punishment to be handed out, with half a dozen receiving a soft rap over the knuckles and having an early lunch break as they watched, not partook, in race five. When Race Six finally got underway, with the Black Flag out once more, just the one crew had an early visit to the bar at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron mandated upon them. Doh.

So back to the headline, and this type of sailing is a sport where the lowest points matter, not the highest. Now this is where the line, three, not 300 really counts. Technically, there are still three races to be run. Two tomorrow, and then one more on Saturday. You win those three, and you collect three points. Get taken off the course, or sail well deep into the field, and you march towards 300 pretty smartly (and slide down the ladder even faster).

Friday’s weather is also set to play its part, too. It is going to be hot. 35˚C warm, actually, and there is 15 knots on offer, with 25-30 later in the day, and the chance of a thunderstorm too. Indeed one of those rolled through just as the world famous David and Sue Healey BBQ was underway. It did not have a lot of venom in it, but the light show was pretty cool.

Matt Chew won the 2009 Etchells World Championship that was staged out of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Victoria. He was part of Jason Muir’s crew then. These days he skippers Gen XY, with Brian Donovan, Ash Deeks, and Ben Vercoe as crew, and today they won Race Five. They then backed it up with third place in Race Six to stand seven points clear on the overall tally from Racer C out of Hong Kong (Mark Thornburrow, Mike Huang, Alexander Conway, and 470 superstar, Will Ryan – some 13 points ahead of his 470 skipper, Mat Belcher on Lisa Rose).


A further 27 points aster is third place, USA 1464, Skanky Gene, which is Jay Cross, Mike Buckly, George Peet, and Eric Shampain. That might sound like a lot, but remember the drop has not yet come into play, nor has the rest of the racing unfolded, as yet. And so back to Chew, who came up with the three or three hundred line. He also said, “It is my first bullet (race win) in a World Championship, as the best we did in Melbourne was a fourth place. We are not really thinking about what might eventuate just yet. There is still the matter of those potential 300 points to keep us very focussed, and we were just all talking about that on the way back in. Maybe tomorrow night we might just dare to imagine.”

“We had a good day out there, and our worst result so far is a 17th, which is not too bad and a keeper normally, so we’ll see how that insurance pans out tomorrow. Hopefully we only score three more points, which will make the calculations a bit easier for us. It is really hard out there, so you have to get everything going correctly. You just have to try and avoid being in gas (disturbed air from other boats), which can dent your prospects pretty quickly.”

“It is unbelievable on the downwind leg when you see some of the mega-sailors still coming upwind, and a big reminder that it can easily be you. It is our home club and we know the water pretty well, so we’ll see what happens. Three’s the dream…”

Mark Thornburrow has been coming here and Mooloolaba to attend the Australasian Championship for quite some time with his old boat Racer X, and now Racer C. He commented quayside, “We’re relying on Will’s knowledge a lot, as he grew up here, and trained a lot out on Moreton Bay. He knows his way around better than any of us, and he’s calling all the shots.”

There worst result so far is an 18th place (R% today), with the remainder all inside the top ten, including a fifth place in Race Six today. That’s more than a handy scorecard. “We’re feeling pretty good and reasonably confident, and we’re happy with the situation, overall. It will be nice if the extra wind does arrive tomorrow, and it will be good to get another two races completed. We are certainly going to be trying to make them all count. It will also be good to finish earlier, so maybe the Black Flag will appear sooner tomorrow.”

Lawrie Smith, Richard Parslow, Goncalo Ribeiro, and Pedro Andrade on Alfie (GBR 1434), won Race Six today. They were part of a day when the Internationals did really well, and regularly occupied top ten spots during all the mark roundings. Others included Skanky Gene (USA 1464), America’s Jud Smith driving Roulette, and then USA 926, Oatmeal, which is Peter Duncan, Andrew Palfrey, Victor Diaz de Leon, and Sasha Ryan.

Today Alfie had an extra clip on when running with breeze, to which the legendary Smith said, “We’ve been going pretty well downwind for most of the week. Today seemed to suit our sailing, I think. Just getting the waves right, in terms of angle and we also seemed to be in the best pressure. Being fast downwind is a good thing to have in your armoury.”

In talking about the anticipated stronger breezes for Friday, Smith just said, “We prefer it to be like today. We’re OK in the heavier stuff, it is just that there are people faster than us in those conditions. We did a lot of training in the UK this year, and unusually there were very light or non-existent winds all season. The long, hot Summer meant we had three weekends of no sailing.”

“We thought when we came here it was going to be big breezes, but it has not been as much as a lot of people probably thought. One day in the pre-worlds was certainly too much. Certainly getting to know the tides has been a big part of it all. I think we may really only be getting to grips with it now. If we could have done a few more regattas here, then it would have helped. Of course, having to do penalty turns is never going to help either, and we did have to do that on one of the earlier days. All in all, it is nice to win a race. Get a bad start and it is hard to get in the top 20, let alone the top 10, so we’ll just have to see. It is a very tough fleet and there are no slow boats. You just have to stay right on it.”, said Smith in closing.

Racing continues tomorrow, Friday October 26, where it is hoped that two additional races will be completed. In the process, not only will the overall result become clearer, but also that for the other divisions, namely Masters, Grand Masters, Female Helm, Youth and Corinthian, with the latter all having amateur status.

To follow the racing live go to either Etchells Brisbane Facebook page for frequent posts or watch on the tracker


The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 94-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27. Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, or to register to receive news, simply go to and click away!

Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
Day4EtchW-2.jpg Gathering on the start line. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day4EtchW-5.jpg One of them must be going the right way! Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day4EtchW-6.jpg Wall of flapping Dacron as the fleet counts the last moments down before sheeting on. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day4EtchW-10.jpg Pretty sure the Committee Boat knows who you are. They sure did under Code Flag U and B today! Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day4EtchW-14.jpg On Starboard Tack on the lay line into the weather mark. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day4EtchW-20.jpg Partaking in the world famous David and Sue Healey BBQ after racing this evening. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
DSC_0595.JPG Winning form for Gen XY. Emily Scott Images
DSC_0966.JPG Musketeers – All for one… Emily Scott Images
DSC_0626.JPG Rogue preparing for the spinnaker hoist. Emily Scott Images
DSC_1211.JPG Armfuls of spinnaker halyard aboard Lisa Rose. Emily Scott Images
DSC_1251.JPG Alfie from Great Britain celebrate their win in Race Six. Emily Scott Images



October 24, 2018 worldsadmin0

There was more breeze this morning than there was this afternoon on Moreton Bay in Brisbane. This was great news, for it meant that after just a short stay ashore, the 2018 Etchells World Championship Race Committee sent the 94 boat fleet out for racing, and it looked like there was more than a great chance of getting two races in. Opting for the shorter Course Two, which is two complete windward returns, also set it up beautifully.

Yet for my money, having them radio everyone to indicate most strongly that this was a Code Flag U start, meaning there were no prisoners to be taken, really did signal their intentions. For Race two, and after a General Recall, the dreaded Black Flag appeared. Unfortunately, both races claimed victims, and so the bar saw some sailors much earlier than anticipated. Some have scoreboard pressure to show for it, now that we have four races completed in the series.

The first race was set on an axis of 020 degrees over a range of 2.4nm, and it was blowing a full ten knots. There was even a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm, which did actually roll through the Gold Coast to the South, but on the track it was hot and hard work. As per the last few days there was a tide running from South the North.

Unlike yesterday, starting left was favoured, but you did want to cross back early, and not end up near the islands, for this put you well out of the game. Those that did as mentioned above, slaughtered those coming out from the right. There was much less breeze at the weather mark, as the clouds over the land reached up to the heavens. Good for building storms, not so flash for sailing, perhaps.

For the second race, which the Race Committee got away pretty smartly after the last boat was home from the first, the breeze had clocked right to maybe 030 degrees and was 10 knots when it wanted to be. During the set up, 045 looked more like the go, and this was settled on as they got away just on three PM in the afternoon. Course Two was selected, so the boats would be back closer to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for the trip home. A range of 2.3nm was selected. Some got to watch it unfold of course, as they headed home after having been pinged on the Black Flag.

So it is also about now that consistency pays off. Big time. Many an Etchells regatta has been won without the winning crew having a bullet (first place) recorded against their name. Such would be the case today, with Mark Thornburrow, Mike Huang, Alexander Conway, and Will Ryan on HKG 1406 leapfrogging over Lisa Rose who held the top spot last night. A fourth and fifth place today give them a five-point spread over AUS 1449. So well done Racer C!


In third place overall, and some seven points further adrift is GenXY – Matthew Chew, Brian Donovan, Ben Vercoe, Ashley Deeks. At one point GenXY seemed to have secured Race Three, but some clever gybing by Top 40 on the last run home (AUS 1332 – Billy Merrington, Ian McKillop and Michael Coxon), saw them grab the first win of the day. They backed it up with a second in Race Four, and so sit in sixth place overall, this evening. “It was an unbelievable start to the day. Ian and Michael did really well. We had good speed, got out to the left, and then they found some shifts for us, and before we knew it we were in the top three at the weather mark. The boat was flowing well, and our communication was also right on.”

As for that passing manoeuvre, Merrington just said, “Ian had done a superb job with the spinnaker trim, and e knew we could beat him to the gybe, which meant we could hold him off. A second in Race Four was almost a carbon copy. “Yes, we were trying to repeat it all. It pretty much worked and we were just below the mid-line boat at the start. The pin was favoured, but we figured you were a one in four chance to get it right, so we went for something a touch more conservative.”

Jeanne-Claude Strong commented later about a race win at a World Championship, “It is pretty awesome. We are super-happy. It was a great effort by everybody. Seve (Jarvin) got us a great start and Marcus (Burke) did a wonderful job trimming, and also calling the downwind tactics. Jeni (Danks) is a very capable and competitive sailor and works the foredeck during and after the kite hoist magnificently.”

On the day overall, which saw them climb into 15th spot overall, Strong said, “We were a bit disappointed with the result from the first race, despite a good start. We just did not have the wind with us and ended up pretty deep.” In relation to some of her training partners not having such a good day, Strong referred to the great Mick Doohan, who always said to her that, ‘If you’re not falling off every now and then, you’re just not trying!”

She then added, “At least one of our band of three crews has had a good day on each of the three race days so far. I am so very fortunate to train with these guys (Havoc and Magpie).”

Rod Hagebols is looking after the two entries from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club, which is Perfect Balance AUS 1387 (Brendan Garner, Chris Manton, Ben O’Brien, and Joshua Garner), and also Voodoo Spirit, AUS 1024, which is crewed by Guyon Wilson, Alistair Lee, and Ben Ramage. 49 of the 94 entries (over 52.13%) comprise Corinthian crews, which means there are no paid hands on board. Voodoo Spirit is one of them. Hagebols commented quayside, “They are a couple of teams who have not been on the world circuit or anything. They are a couple of local crews from the Geelong Fleet, and they really wanted to come up and give the Worlds a go.”

“It has been great and the biggest thing, which applies to all the Etchells, has been the sharing of information. The skill is there, so it really has come down to getting used to the big fleet. So it is about trying to manage that, and also the tide flows. We have been paying a lot of respect to the latter, so are really happy not have been pinged, so far. There is plenty of space on the line, so it is about finding your lane and we really are having a good time.”

David Turton is racing Our Thing (AUS 1446) with Josh Torpy, and Klaus Lorenz. He is also involved in the Seabin project with Pete Ceglinski, one of which is at RQ, actually. “It is an interesting course with a lot of challenges, no matter where you place yourself. There are some tricks, and neither side seems to be playing fair. The Western side seemed to be best today, and I am not sure we ever got there. It was certainly a better effort today than yesterday, and that’s got us in the mid-30s overall (given they had a UFD yesterday).”

What is the start line like? “It is pretty exciting actually, especially with that tide. Finding a clean patch is key. You don’t get a lot of time to look around and take it in, and the crew would be on to me if I did. They know pretty quickly if I have lifted my head. Focus is paramount and you only get to take a look when you’re on the tow back in.”

Racing continues tomorrow, Thursday October 25, and is followed up immediately afterwards with the world famous David and Sue Healey BBQ.

Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, or to register to receive news, simply go to and click away!

For more images and to follow the racing each day visit Etchells Brisbane Facebook page


The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 94-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27.

Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
Day3Etch-50.jpg Pesty kite aboard, Rogue. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-42.jpg Hard at work during the marathon on Top 40. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-48.jpg Working hard on War Canoe from the USA. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-38.jpg Deep in the thick of it with Dangerzone. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-35.jpg Triad2. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-34.jpg Focus. Focus. Focus. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-20.jpg Winning ways for 1435. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-33.jpg Land Rat had a great day right up with the leaders. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch.jpg The start – as seen by the drone. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-14.jpg Just a little bit over! Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-4.jpg Port of Brisbane in the background Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day3Etch-2.jpg Let’s go racing! Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
2018_EtchellsWorlds_GenXYandTop40_3458.jpg GenXY (left) and Top 40 (right) racing for the finish of Race Three. John Curnow



October 23, 2018 worldsadmin0

The 2018 Etchells World Championship Race Committee has been pretty clear about it. They have lost the last two mornings to ultra-light and variable winds, and they want to run the best series they can until Saturday 1500hrs, when they can set no more races away. Nine in total would be ideal, seven makes for good times, and six is acceptable. You could call it a mission.

So when they sent the fleet away to the course from the shore after being held on land for an hour and a half, it was a fair bet that Code Flag U would be deployed. After waiting for the continual flicks in the breeze to settle down, and the resultant course axis changes from 025 to 050 degrees, it was also somewhat evident that just the one race was on for the day.

Course One was designated, meaning an extra leg back to windward for the finish, but there was a long way to go before that. There was a strong tide running out of Moreton Bay from South to North and this would turn back in the middle of the afternoon. Any chance of it becoming a true Nor’easter was cast adrift when the Easterly aspect won the day, but it settled in for a good 12-knot type affair, which is pretty much ideal. It would clock even further right for the finish, with a course change to 060 degrees as the direction for the crews to find the Committee Boat and finish pin.

Alas, nine boats did not get to partake in today’s on water festivities, for they broke the start (OCS). One of these was yesterday’s winner, Havoc, which will be devastating for them, but they will put it behind them now, for sure. It also means that with a pair of second places now, Lisa Rose (AUS 1449), which is Martin Hill, Sean O’Rourke, Julian Plante, and Mat Belcher, have a very tidy lead at the top of the table. Etchells racing can be snakes and ladders, so they will be very focussed on achieving some more very handy podium finishes in the days to come.

However, winning the day, after a slowish start was, Tango (AUS 1440). Class Governor, Chris Hampton, with crew Sam Haines and Charlie Cumbley are no strangers to the podium, and were happy with their day’s work, and even quicker to remind me that this World Championship is a long way from done, just yet. Apart from the win today, they also climb into second place overall with 16 points, 12 adrift of Lisa Rose.

“True. We didn’t have a great start. Unfortunately, one of the boats that were OCS was in front of us, and this unsettled our programme somewhat. We just hung in long enough to find a lane out, as we always wanted to be on the right-hand side of centre of the course. We could then find good height and speed, which worked to our advantage, and so we were well placed at the first weather mark.”

“Running back downwind we did not gybe first up, but soon enough, picking up pressure as we went down. We went around the left gate, and played the centre right of the course once more, but the boats who had gone hard right did do well later on in the leg. The process was pretty much repeated at the top once more, and we found our downwind speed was really good. Sam and Charlie are doing a great job, and our communication is quiet, considered, relaxed, and this all leads to good vibe on board. We used some of our lead to cover other boats on the final work to the finish, and it is happy times, but certainly a long way to go yet.”

“Hopefully we can repeat some of clean starts that we had in the Pre-Worlds last week from tomorrow on”, said Hampton in closing.

Also on 16 points overall tonight is Iron Lotus, who won the Pre-World title last week. Following them are a number of crews in the high teens to low 20s, including Hong Kong’s Mark Thornburrow with his Racer C crew, and from the USA, Jay Cross’s Skanky Gene crew, and Jud Smith (USA) helming, Roulette.

Skanky Gene, USA 1377 (Jay Cross, Mike Buckley, George Peet and Eric Shampain), are in seventh place overnight, after a very solid fifth place today, complimenting their lucky 13th, yesterday. Cross commented on the journey here, “Thanks for getting the boat into the yacht club! Our most memorable item so far is how tough it is sailing out there. Everybody is so good, that the steering grooves are very small. Little mistakes have a big effect. Tide has been a bigger factor than I think we reckoned for, and we might have to deal with it again tomorrow, maybe two times at that. I think the weather will stabilise as the week goes on, and we should get a great series in.”

“We sailed the Pre-Worlds, so we certainly had the cob webs blown out. After this we’ll head back to the USA for the Jaguar Cup (in Miami). Might be hard to make the first regatta, but we should be set for the second. Thanks for having us. The club and fleet have been great hosts.”

War Canoe, USA 1363, which is Michael Goldfarb, Morton Henriksen, and Skip Dieball are in 12th place this evening, with a 14th and 18th place against their register, so far. Back on the quay after racing, Glodfarb commented, “We are so psyched to be here. It is an amazing place to sail. It is a big, open piece of water. It’s also really exciting, and there are so many boats. It is also a difficult and challenging stretch of water, so in combination with all the great sailors that have amassed here, well, there is not a lot of room for mistakes.”

Showing a wonderful sense of humour, Goldfarb said of the sailors who had been forced to come back ashore, “Resting up, right? Resting up for tomorrow. We planned on coming here over a year ago, and sailed San Francisco (2017 World Championship), along with the Miami series, as we do every year, and we are absolutely going back for this year’s jag Cup, too.”

“I think our most memorable item so far has just been looking around and seeing almost a hundred of these fantastic boats on the start line is something else. It is amazing, right! We love it here, and appreciate all the hospitality. The Club (Royal Queensland) is fantastic, too.”

Tom King, Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Greg O’Shea on Iron Lotus won the Pre-Worlds last week, and the first three of them also the 2012 Etchells World Championship. Tonight they are in third place on equal points with Tango, but third on countback. They too had an even better day today with a fourth place, not that a 12th place yesterday was anything other than terrific.

“Very happy to survive another day out there, and not get caught out too badly. We were down on the left end of the line and got clear, eventually being able to cross back over. It was a bit lucky, as many boats got stuck in that corner. We can only hope that we have another five days of keeping our noses clean. It is great fun, and beautiful sailing out there. We are here to enjoy ourselves,, and hopefully we can continue to do that. It is going to be a long week, so we need to pay attention to that, as well. Enjoyment is a key aspect of the process.”

Racing continues tomorrow, Wednesday October 24.

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 94-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27. Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, or to register to receive news, simply go to and click away!

Visit Etchells Brisbane Facebook page for more images and daily posts.

Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
Day2Etch-10.jpg Surprise (Matthew Fisk, Ryan Fisk and Brett Sims) heading for the weather mark. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day2Etch2-17.jpg Grand V with the loose halyard and Magpie head to the clearance mark. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day2Etch-37.jpg Highlander (Martin Webster, Robbie Gibbs, Will Boulden and Zoe Thomson) on the run to the leeward gate. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
Day2Etch-36.jpg African Queen (50) and Voodoo Spirit (55) take a large group of the fleet to the clearance mark. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
etchells-worlds-day-2-KJW-5449.jpg Race Two winner – Tango (Chris Hampton, Charlie Cumbley and Sam Haines). Kylie Wilson/
2018_EtchellsWorlds_Rogue_3292.jpg Rogue (Robin Row, Sam Johnson, Gregory Doolan, and Kate Baisden) setting up for the spinnaker hoist. John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_WalkOnWater_3261.jpg Walk on Water (Brett Heath, Glenn Norton, Andrew Poulton) was one of he craft who had to go home. John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_Avalon_3262.jpg Avalon – Michael Bellingham, Will Canty, and Mike Hughes


John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_Finesse_3264.jpg Finesse, which is Malcolm Parker, Harry Hall, Ruby Scholten, and Anneliese Scholten.


John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_FumanchSurprise_3277.jpg Fumanchu and Surprise, with Moreton Island as a backdrop. John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_Highlander_3292.jpg Highlander setting up for the kite hoist. John Curnow


October 22, 2018 worldsadmin0

On shore this morning you felt that it was going to be a grand day. The time had come. Race one, and even race two were upon us. A champion crew was soon going to be determined for the 2018 Etchells World Championship being held on Moreton Bay in Brisbane, Australia.

Yet once out past Green Island, there was less of the 8-10 knots from the Sou’east that had blessed the grounds of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly, and much, much more of the three knots or less, and from anywhere ranging from 010 to 110 degrees. So it was not surprising at all to see the Answering Pennant hoisted before the midday hour arrived.

Some thought we might see some action by 1300hrs. Others went for a more realistic 1430hrs, which ended up being much closer to the mark in the end. This also meant it would be a one-race affair for the day. So with more than a couple of hours to kill, shade became the commodity in requirement, and so tarps, umbrellas and other items began adorning craft, as their sailors sought shelter from the powerful sun.


The good money was placed on a U Flag start being adopted, which meant that effectively you were going home for the day with no racing and no result, and alas for one craft this did occur.

The Race Officers had been clear about this, and so it was good to see that the fleet adopted a no nonsense policy when it came to starting, even if it did mean the spectators were not going to see the usual three or maybe four goes at getting a clean start away. With a 1200m long start line and a 2.5nm haul to the top, all the patience had been used in the waiting, so it was totally clear that it was all about the business end of the game out on the water today.


Today the right of centre was favoured and would be at least 12 knots from the Sou’east, but at the windward mark the increased tidal flow and shallower water meant the waves did stack up a little bit more, especially once that tide fully turned and you had it competing with the wind.

Ultimately the winner was Havoc, (AUS 1461) which is skippered by Iain Murray, with Grant Simmer and Richie Allanson on board. Of course, none of them really need any introduction, so in speaking with Murray afterwards he said, “It is nice to start the regatta, and sail well in the first race. There are a lot of anxious people out there, so getting a good start and first beat to windward, where you can find your rhythm without too much angst is a great way to begin a campaign.”

On the second work to windward they did do well, which Murray commented on, “I think we had a good rhythm in the boat, and we have been working hard on our trim in the last couple of days with our coaches. We have found an easier way to sail the boat, which allows us a little more flexibility in the waves, and not as cranky boat as we’ve had in the past.”

“With a hundred boats and all the spectator craft it gets really choppy, very quickly. If you get a good start then you are in the clear, but when you come around the leeward gate for the first time, and all hell breaks loose. There are boats everywhere, and chop, and all of a sudden you’re in entirely different conditions.”

“To get through all of that, and I think we transitioned that really well, so we made a gain on Lisa Rose (Martin Hill, Sean O’Rourke, Julian Plante, and Mat Belcher), as well as some breathing room on the crews behind, which in turn allows us to be a little more aggressive on the tack. There is certainly some advantage for being in the lead group, and hopefully we can keep the train going!”

Speaking of huddling very much under the large umbrella that adorned Magpie (Graeme Taylor, Steve Jarvin and James Mayo), Murray said, “We’ve been working with Magpie and also 1435 (Jeanne-Claude Strong, Marcus Burke, Seve Jarvin and Jeni Danks) for a long time. They have been great training partners. They keep it real, and have space for some humour in amongst it all. Just good people.”

Of tomorrow, and all the days ensuing until Saturday, Murray simple said, “I think a regatta like this is all about not making a lot of mistakes and maximising your moments!”

Indeed there were many a smile inside the top ten places today. Gen XY (AUS 864), which is crewed by Brian Donovan, Ben Vercoe, Ash Deeks and skippered by Matt Chew, who said of their sixth place today, “We’re super stoked to get race one over and done with a good result.  We sailed clean and fast, are really looking forward to tomorrow”

Mark Thornburrow was all smiles in the clubhouse afterwards, and why wouldn’t you be when your Racer C (HKG 1406), crewed by Mike Huang, Alexander Conway and 470 star, Will Ryan was in a very solid ninth place.

Yet without any doubt at all, seeing AUS511 (Grand V), so a very old boat indeed, and one of the only ones around with coloured topsides still, collect eighth place was wonderful. To learn that this is indeed part of the Royal Prince Alfred YC’s Youth programme (under 25) was even better.

William Dargaville, Sarah Parker, James Farquharson, with David Chapman filling in today for Jessica Angus, were both very relaxed, and also really excited by their efforts. Talking with them all ashore, the group commented that, “The highlight has to be that race. The close racing really is what it is all about. We do like the challenge and technical aspects, sailing offshore here with the big fleet really has cemented the whole notion into our minds, as we got to see the craft come into their element.”

Will and Sarah are no strangers to keelboats, with the 2016 Youth Match Racing Championship to their credit. “There are a lot of technical details that mark the difference between those Elliotts and these Etchells for us to get our heads around. So with Jess coming on we hope that they can perhaps even get a bullet”, added Chapman as he stepped off.

Reigning World Champion, Steve Benjamin, with Michael Menninger, Ian Liberty, Jonathan Goldsberry, on board Stella Blue finished in 18th place today. Benjamin commented quayside, “The race course was absolutely perfect. The race management was spot on, and they waited just the right amount of time to get the race away and it was dead true. 120 degrees was a perfect course. We were quite surprised by the tide change. It was a little more than we were expecting, but it worked out in our favour, so we’re happy about it. It was a really challenging racetrack, we’re having a lot of fun, and really thrilled to be here.”

Racing continues tomorrow, Tuesday October 23.

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 95-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27. Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, or to register to receive news, simply go to and click away!

John Curnow / 2018 Etchells Worlds Media

Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
2018_Etchells_PearsonD1_4.jpg Rounding the clearance mark and setting spinnakers for home. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
2018_Etchells_PearsonD1_8.jpg Part of the fleet at the windward mark. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
2018_Etchells_PearsonD1_9.jpg Part of the fleet at the windward mark. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
2018_Etchells_PearsonD1_I.jpg Part of the fleet marches off the start line. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
ESI_Race1_001.JPG Team Barry (90), Damien King, Jeremy O’Connell, Eliza Solly and Ashley Stoddart, take part of the fleet up to the weather mark. Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race1_003.JPG Heading downwind with Athena (Alistair Cowen, Mike Allan and Brad Warneke). Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race1_004.JPG Part of the fleet comes into the weather mark. Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race1_009.JPG 95 Etchells is a lot of boats. Emily Scott Images
ESI_Race1_008.JPG Race One is just about to commence. Emily Scott Images
2018_EtchellsWorlds_Magpie_3224.jpg Magpie gets out of the fierce sun. John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_YouthSailors_3233.jpg The Youth Sailors from the Royal Prince Alfred yacht Club sail Grand V to an eighth place today John Curnow


October 21, 2018 worldsadmin0

Well if practice does make perfect, then certainly getting all of the huge Etchells fleet out on the water and back again safely has been locked in. Sailing out or being towed, setting sails, heading up into the wind to lock in the direction and also the flicks were some of the items that this expert armada of sailors also proved they were totally conversant in.

The sun was out for the morning briefing at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, where course layout and description, safety protocols, and starting procedures were carefully gone through. There was a delightfully mild and soft East to Sou’Easter wafting through at under eight knots, and the riplets were only just making about 200mm in height.

As we set out past Green Island due East of Manly, and turned South into the course area, the breeze did stiffen, first making 12 knots and then onto 18 as it clocked a little further right into a ESE position. Ultimately, turning your head back around to shore told the tale. The airport and then the Gold Coast Seaway radios started crackling into life with thunderstorm warnings, and it was not long before the lightning and thunder heralded the magnitude of what was on the way.

With just around half an hour to go before race time, and provided you still looked East, you could have been in awe of what you were witnessing. Sun and wind in the appropriate amounts left you just to contemplate the shear magnitude of the event, and the somewhat surreal aspects of the fact that the regatta that everyone had been waiting for was now officially underway. This also meant that the levels of control various parties now had on things was also taken out of their hands, whilst the sailors got to see it delivered squarely into theirs.

A large spectator fleet had also made the most of the opportunity to come and see what was going on. Whilst the Etchells went to windward to investigate the breeze and the pressure and direction fluctuations, those spectators go to wander through them all. Some, like the large trimaran, even came barrelling through under full noise. It was at this point that you really did feel like it was game on.

Even Huey, the God of Wind, decided it was time to get serious, and the extra pressure he was generating mean the sea quickly climbed up to 400mm and as everyone later rushed home it was 750mm plus. So by two o’clock local, when the racing was meant to begin, it indeed had become a race to get back into the club. Lightning was everywhere but in the lenses of the photographers, and the thunder became more ominous as its volume and duration both increased. The area affected was also large, with it extending from Southern Queensland, all the way into the top of New South Wales.

Race Management is being conducted under the supremely qualified Wilson brothers. IRO Kevin Wilson commented about making the right decision, “As we saw the storm brewing out to the West, we made contact with the Bureau of Meteorology after the gale warning for our patch of water, rain and lightning. We had kept an eye on it, and were not totally surprised when we saw the system turn a little, and head straight for us.”

“Following those consultations we also spoke with the club and all the Race management team on the Committee Boat, and subsequently made the early call to get us home and safe before anything hit. The choice was easily made and it was a practice race after all, so we wanted to get everyone out there for tomorrow, and not have to spend all night working on making repairs to damaged craft.”

Two races are indeed planned for tomorrow, Monday October 22. The first will be of approximately 90 minutes in duration and have the fleet finish downwind. Weather dependant, the second race will be longer, perhaps up to 180 minutes, as the fleet will finish into the wind. Note this is subject to the conditions on the day, and the amount of re-starts that have to be conducted. With Etchells racing, the latter can be quite a few…

Also note that the start line is around 1.2km long, with the Committee Boat in the middle, with pin boats at either end, so that all the vessels can be seen and reported over the line, where required. A fleet of this size also means the first work to windward has to be long, around 2.5 nautical miles actually, so as to remove the element of bias from the edges. The mark is subsequently moved for the next leg, and set at a distance to compliment the wind strength at the time.

Race One of the 2018 Etchells World Championship has its warning signal at 1200hrs, Monday October 22.

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 95-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27. Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, or to register to receive news, simply go to and click away!

John Curnow/ 2018 Etchells Worlds Media

Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
Flags on the Committee Boat means it is time to head home. John Curnow
BrisbaneRadar.jpg Nasty cell approaches the course, right about race time. Bureau of Meteorology
2018_Etchells_EmilyScott_9199.jpg Heading home under tow is local boat, Land Rat, AUS 1422, John Warlow, Todd Anderson and Curtis Skinner. Emily Scott Images
2018_Etchells_EmilyScott_9239.jpg Surprise (82) and Avalon during the race back home. Emily Scott Images
2018_Etchells_EmilyScott_9280.jpg Surprise in the channel to return to harbour. Emily Scott Images
2018_Etchells_MitchPearson_25.jpg The fleet head home to RQYS at Manly. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
2018_Etchells_MitchPearson_19.jpg Annie, USA 1388, with Gary Gilbert, Andrew Heenan, Claire Heenan and Stephn Girdis on board. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite
2018_Etchells_MitchPearson_16.jpg 1.2km long start line with the Northerly pin boat in the foreground, the Committee Boat in the middle and the Southerly pin boat only identifiable by the big yellow marker it is carrying. Mitch Pearson/SurfSailKite



October 21, 2018 worldsadmin0

Ordinarily you might expect a big bash after a major regatta. Especially one where there is a weigh-in before, and then another halfway through the main festivities. Yet on the eve of the super-well attended 2018 Etchells World Championship being staged out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (RQ), this was a party that not only had to happen, it cemented do much about what this preeminent of sailing classes is all about.

Namely superior competition on the water, and then marvellous camaraderie once back ashore. Now the reason for such a marker to be placed in the annals of history is that it is 50 years since Skip Etchells created the very vessel now so revered around the globe, and the one that attracts all manner of sailing superstars to her ranks. Yes. It was a birthday party fit for a milestone of this nature.

Naturally there was one discussion amongst the 245 invited guests that completely filled RQ’s marvellous facility. So yes, the boat and all her many nuances were firmly established, just as her standing as the One Design class around the globe. However, with such a venerable craft and a gathering of Olympians, World Champions, and stars of sailing’s pinnacles in the America’s Cup and Round the World races that would be hard to surpass, it would be the myriad of back stories that one would find inspiring and captivating.

Certainly then, you would expect it to be an emotional occasion, and it was. Some received their Etchells pockets for previous World Championship wins, and the class itself celebrated with a cutting of the cake. Yet for me it was probably all about three things.

The first would be some of the new inductees to Life Membership of the International Etchells Class Association in Kers Clauson and David Ritchard, along with one man deeply rooted to the class and this particular fleet, Noel Paterson. Part of acknowledging the efforts of some great sailors over the journey was given to long time Governor, David Ritchard, who awarded his friend, David Healey with a pin to celebrate his hard work and service to the Australian Fleet, and so mark his passage to Life Membership of the Australian Association. David Ritchard held it together, just, and nearly brought many others to tears as well. Typically, the quietly spoken David Healey was ultra-gracious as he thanked all in attendance for his time in Etchells, which is by no means over, for he is out on the racetrack today.

The second would be the number of sailors under 40 both in attendance on the night and as part of the 95-boat fleet racing in this amazing championship. Some are even former Etchells World Champions, as well as owning other accolades. This is quite incredible, and goes some way to highlighting how the class is moving forward to a big future, and not sailing off over the horizon to be given a Viking funeral.

I spoke with the Chairman of the International Governing Committee, Grantham Kitto, about it all. Given the strict One Design nature of it all, which is of course the reason all the sailors come back to race on such a level playing field, what might be the directions taken into the class’ next 50 years? “Certainly there are new materials which will be better than those we have used to date. There are members of the fleet, like Andrew Palfrey and Richie Allanson, who are on that technology wave and bringing in new ideas, as too are even younger sailors like Ben Durham and Andy Fethers. All these great innovations have to be controlled inside the guidelines. Etchells are what they are because of the strict OD nature, but also the way technical advancements are fed into the class, rather than haphazardly applied over the top.”

Reflecting on who you saw as you looked around the room, Kitto commented, “It is truly insane. The number of top sailors at this regatta, and the depth in every crew who have serious credentials is something else all together.”

The third item was when John Bertrand AO was given the floor. As always he captivated and inspired, humoured and was poignant. He called on some other legends, like Michael Coxon and Steve Jarvin to regale tales from other campaigns when they all sailed together. Some of which cannot be written about, but will now pass into folklore.

Some of John’s time with microphone can indeed be published, however. John was clearly taken aback by talking with eight-time 470 World Champion (and Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist), Mat Belcher, telling John that he was ‘learning a lot in the Etchells, and loving it, too!’

Yet the final item before we close is one that probably shows the love the class best. John asked all those who had been to five Etchells World Championships. It was a lot of the room. Then he asked those to sit down who had not made ten yet. It went on to 15, 20, 22 and so on, until it got to just the two souls, and at 24 it left just Bill Steele standing. He is at his 28th, by the way.

The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 95-boat strong armada for the 2018 Etchells World Championship, as they tussle it out to see which crew reigns supreme. Racing begins in earnest on Sunday October 21, and concludes on Saturday October 27. Now to find out all you need to know about the boats, on the water, off the water, or to register to receive news, simply go to and click away!

John Curnow / 2018 Etchells Worlds Media

Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
2018_EtchellsWorlds_50th_3209.jpg Guests arriving into the ballroom, after pre-dinner drinks on the wonderful lawn on a balmy night. John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_50th_3214.jpg Packed in to make a true highlight of her 50 years at sea – the Etchells John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_50th_3218.jpg Some of the former Etchells World Champions and Life Members. John Curnow
2018_EtchellsWorlds_50th_3219.jpg John Bertrand delivery part of his classic address. John Curnow