News & Media


April 27, 2022 worldsadmin0

For the 2021/22 Season, the Brisbane Etchells Fleet launched a ‘loan a boat’ program to not just grow the local fleet, but specially targeted to encourage more women to the join the class and experience what the best one-design sailing class has to offer!

We welcomed Helen Wood as skipper in September last year and got to work training her, her crew and readying the boat for the year ahead. What a fantastic season, she was just a superstar and such a valued member of our weekly fleet, thank you Helen!

We especially thank Dan Cassell for the generous use of his boat ‘Etchellence’ throughout the season!

Here is Helen’s experience of the season.


Helen Wood, Skipper of Etchellence

I was lucky enough to be selected for Brisbane Etchells’ ‘Loan a Boat’ Program for the 21/22 season, which should really be rebranded ‘Etchells Fleet Fast Track Program’, as I’ve got to focus on sailing skills and technique every Saturday, immersed in a community with a shared passion for sailing and skills to be endlessly observed in a one design fleet.

The Etchells Class has it all. It attracts the most skilled and seasoned sailors, and the allure of the class has always interested me. When the opportunity to join the ‘Loan a Boat’ Program came up, I leapt at the application – although unsure of what I would achieve from it.

And now at the end of the season, I can certainly say it surpassed my expectations, and has left me anticipating the next one.  I’ve learnt far more than I expected, on so many levels. It’s the type of environment I was looking for – to sail, race, improve, and have a good laugh. Sailing every Saturday on Moreton Bay is a pleasure in itself (if you can dodge the sandbars).

For regular sailors on the bay, you may have forgotten the natural asset that you sail on. On a blue-sky day, it provided the perfect antidote for a stressful week. And in questionable weather, it reminded me that sailing is all about the conditions, which fundamentally requires skills to read and adapt. Sailors who know the bay – tides, wind conditions, westerlies – are already miles ahead when they approach the start line.

So boat handling is secondary to reading the conditions… A quirk of sailing an Etchells is the lack of engine, so tacking out of Manly harbour, and then navigating the leads, was a good warm up for the afternoon ahead, and the crew warmed up to my helming style.

Etchells are a beautiful boat to sail, easily balanced (I think due to hull shape), although not a lot of sail reduction options when the Summer storms pick up. They require technique and skill to manage the 2800 controls, strictly not that many, but many more than most boats! When you think you are on top of them all, another option surfaces!! Super skilled sailors make sail trim look effortless, but let me tell you, many options makes for more choices, and more double guessing!!!  There has been frustrations during the season, some sails just don’t always work the way you want, but that’s life.

Sailing is ultimately teamwork. Whilst I’ve been getting experience helming, racing and navigating all the boats on the start mark, racing rules- its ultimately a team sport, where everyone has a stake in the outcome. I’ve introduced 4 new people to the club, 2 to sailing, and sharing the enjoyment has been a bonus of the program too.

The Brisbane Etchells fleet is a community. A group of sailors who have a range of skill levels, but all are very competitive by nature. Those with decades of experience openly shared their advice with me, and then drip fed their gems of wisdom after each race day. I felt welcomed into the group, in which the BBQ & beer post race wind downs make the Etchells fleet pretty tight.

It’s also because the boats all live together in Etchells Avenue, with easy access to the hoist, where you rig, and you can borrow a missing tool from your neighbour – or Tony’s mobile chandlery. There is also Kevin’s weekly roundup to find out what happened at the front of the fleet.

Thanks to the many, many Etchells fleet crew that have helped me out this season – especially Jason and Tony – for letting me float, sail, and fly. If an opportunity comes up like the Loan A Boat for the Season – Jump at it!



We once again thank Helen and her crew for a fantastic season and we look forward to seeing what the future brings! A huge thank you too Tony Di Betta for all the boat work throughout the season, without his drive and obsession this would not have been possible, Etchellence is in great shape.

If you would like to know more about this program for 22/23 season please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0407 160 900. We hope to continue the program and introduce more sailors to Etchells.

Jason Hawkins
Brisbane Etchells Fleet Captain


April 22, 2022 worldsadmin0

The Final Showdown Race Review Sat 9 Apr

by Kevin Molen

It came down to the final day of racing to determine this year’s squadron championship winner with Patto and Heals tied on points going into the final day of racing. The day started with drama. BBQ Chef extraordinaire Chris tested covid positive on Saturday morning meaning Jason and Jim had to take on BBQ duties for the pre race sausage sizzle. Of even more concern was Patto’s bowman Will calling in positive as well, leaving Patto with a last minute scramble to find a replacement. Liam – formally of The Saint stepped up. Just to add a bit more drama Patto felt the need to take a covid test before coming down to the club leaving a nervous wait for his crew. He duly showed and the battle was on.

We only had 4 entries for the day. Due to Chris’ withdrawal, Jason took the helm of Chaos Theory with Tony being promoted to the bow. Dave Smith joined Helen on Etchellence for the day. The forecast was for anything between 13 and 20 knots from the south east which made the boat set up an interesting dilemma.
As I mentioned Rapscallion and Waterloo Too were tied on points going into these final two races. They also had an identical score card meaning that if they were tied at the end of the day the championship would be determined by a countback based on who won the last race – game on!!!

Race one started in about 14-16 knots with Waterloo Too at the boat and Rapscallion a little further down the line. They both hit the line at pace and it didn’t take long for both Chaos and Etchellence to be squeezed between them and tack off to the right while they continued out to the left. Neither obtained an advantage but Rapscallion blinked first tacking and crossing behind to avoid being trapped on the layline. Patto wasn’t going to give anything away and after a few short tacks Rapscallion had to settle in on his hip for the long port tack drag to the top. Patto had a comfortable 4 length lead at the top. With the left heavily favoured they established a big lead ov erChaos and Etchellence. Rapscallion gained a length or so on the run but not enough to make a difference by the bottom.

Around the bottom and with Patto protecting the left Heals wasn’t left with many options. Bring on the tacking duel!!! After ½ a dozen or so tacks Rapscallion had halved the gap down to less than two lengths at which point Waterloo Too decided to let Rapscallion go left while they went for straight line speed out to the right. Much to Rapscallion’s dismay Waterloo got a small right hand shift to have a comfortable margin at the final turn. Meanwhile Chaos and Etchellence were also having a great battle with Chaos having to do a pirouette after an P vs S incident halfway up the beat. They grabbed 3rd back on the run to finish just ahead of Etchellence. Meanwhile Waterloo Too had a comfortable win about 15 secs ahead of Rapscallion – 1 nil to Patto!

Race 2. Chaos retired after the first race – apparently sailing at the pointy end broke Tony, leaving just three in the final showdown. As long Etchellence didn’t get between the other two the title was going to who ever beat the other. It was all on. With a few minute to go Dave went on the attack hunting Patto pushing him away form the line. The clock didn’t matter for this start. Dave led back to the line with Patto on his hip – both about 20 seconds late. Meanwhile Helen and her crew misjudged the time but still had a good start.

Halfway up the beat Etchellence had the lead while Rapscallion and Waterloo Too were battling it out. Rapscallion had crossed Waterloo and had them pinned to leeward for a long beat to the top in a reverse of the first race. Rapscallion managed to tack just in front of Etchellence on the starboard layline with Waterloo tacking behind Helen to round in 3rd.  With Rapscallion trying to keep their wind clear Etchellence pulled alongside, and they fought for the inside position for the bottom mark. Patto saw this as a chance to go for a clean rounding of the left-hand gate. Rapscallion rounded ½ a length before Waterloo Too with Etchellence right on their transom. This created a split between the two title contenders. They came together ¾ the way up the final beat of the season. Rapscallion slam dunk forcing Waterloo Too back to the right. With Waterloo Too on the starboard layline Rapscallion went for the tight lee bow as they couldn’t cross but as Waterloo rolled over them they couldn’t lay the mark while Waterloo Too shot the mark to have a 3-4 length lead at the top. If it stays like this its 2-0 to Patto.

But as in any good Etchells race there was still drama left in this one. It didn’t take long for Rapscallion to pull alongside on the run and at one point was even a length ahead. Coming into the gate mark for the final gybe to the finish it was neck and neck. 50 metres to go and the title was still on the line! 25 metres to go and it was still neck and neck and a slight pin end bias favouring Patto. At this point Rapscallion caught a couple of waves to surge ahead to get the gun by a second and take out the championship. Though the RC announced the result over the radio Dave wasn’t prepared to believe it until he saw it in writing. What a great finish to the season. Helen and Etchellence crossed not far behind to grab a well-deserved podium.

The day rounded out with drinks at the hardstand followed by some celebratory and commissary drinks back at the bar.

It was a frustrating season with a larger than usual number of races lost to the weather, but it was great to welcome 3 new crews to the fleet this year. They all improved significantly as the season went on and we all look forward to an even more competitive fleet next season.

A big thanks goes to Jason, Chris and Tony who put a lot into the fleet this season and to Dave Smith who put in a number of hours working and sailing with some of the new commers to help them get up to speed. Thanks guys.
Well, that’s a rap for 21/22. See you all next season – if not before.


April 2, 2022 worldsadmin0

Thanks for a great weekend!

Many thanks to all our valued fleet for a fantastic weekend at the Brisbane Etchells Fleet Championship last week. Congratulations to Peter Conde, Brian Hillier and Miles Baron-Hay for the win on Encore! David Healey, Kevin Molen and Ian Miller on Rapscallion took 2nd and 3rd place went to Vaughan Prentice, Lachlan Prentice and Josh Torpy on ‘Stand In Line’. Congratulations!

Thanks also goes to the volunteers and RQ sailing management team for delivering a fabulous event, especially on the outside Green Island course. It has been several years since we have been able to race outside and I loved being back out there, especially the tight finishes! Sooo good! It’s why we race Etchells.

Special mention also goes to our esteemed fleet treasurer and celebrity chef Chris Nezmah who has been awarded this year’s “Pick of the Year” for his valued contribution over the years. He is a thoroughly deserving recipient of the “Pick”, a tradition that started in the 1980s! Well done!

Kevin has written a blow-by-blow account of the weekends racing below but I would also like to thank not just the place getters, but all those who participated. There were some great battles mid and at the back of the fleet with very tight racing – sometimes only seconds separating competitors. Believe me, Etchells can be brutal on the ego, but the learning experiences make us all better sailors, armed with knowledge that can be shared in the broader sailing community for years to come. My advice would be to be patient and keep at it, the results will come.

We have one weekend of racing left and a nice rib-fillet left over in cold storage, so I look forward to seeing everyone on April 9th to close out the season.

Jason Hawkins
Brisbane Fleet Captain

Brisbane Fleet Championship March 26-27 2022

The gods were finally smiling over the fleet with a forecast of 5-15 kts for the weekend leading up to the 2022 Fleet Championship. We had 14 entries which was great including Wayne Kirby and his crew from Southport on Emotional Rescue. Cam Price was down from Gladstone and a few long time Etchellers in Vaughan Prentice, Peter Conde and Barry Cuneo came out of the woodwork for the weekend.

The plan was for racing outside Green Island for the first time in a number of years with a provision to move inside if the conditions proved unfavourable. Sailing outside provides a different challenge including dealing with slop, bigger waves and a greater tidal influence. This was going to present some interesting sailing – especially for some of the newer fleet members who hadn’t had the opportunity to sail in these waters previously.

Race one started in a pleasant 7-8 knots from the south east.  Five minutes after the start a message over the radio by race control announced that the race was been stopped and was to be restarted due to a timing issue that impacted some crews during the starting period, much to the displeasure of a certain crew member! Take 2 – The leading boats all went left off the line. Rapscallion was first to the top and led start to finish with Peter Conde in Encore 2nd and  Barry Cuneo grabbing 3rd.

The left was paying all day with Rapscallion going hard left in race 2 and having a handy lead at the top that wasn’t challenged. Encore was again 2nd with Bait and Switch 3rd.

Race 3 saw the breeze up to 10 -12 knots. The left continued to pay with the breeze ending up in the north east by the end of the day. Encore grabbed 1st with Vaughan on Stand in Line 2nd and a well deserved 3rd to Jason and the Knot Easy team who had a last minute crew substitution earlier in the day due to a overnight covid case. Dave Healy’s winning run came to an end with a 9th.

Considering the weather around, (Moreton Is spent much of the day in rain and some significant rain squalls moved along the mainland coast) we were very lucky to avoid the rain and have such consistent and stable conditions.

Post racing, Chris Nezmah (Knot Easy) with support from Tony and the Chaos Theory crew put on a great BBQ.  Thanks guys. It’s much appreciated.

Sunday’s forecast looked a little dodgy with concerns as to whether the wind would fill in. The fleet required a tow out to the start and we spent a hour waiting for it to come in before settling in from the east at 7-10 kts.
Race 4 saw some close racing with Stand in Line first around, not to be headed. Encore grabbed 2nd again with Bait and Switch grabbing another 3rd. Unfortunately, Waterloo Too broke their jib halyard and had to sit out the remainder of the racing from the aft deck of John Warlow’s bay cruiser.

Race 5 saw a number of general recalls – first the U flag and followed by the angry (black) flag. This didn’t seem to fix the issue. It was finally resolved after Barry moved his Palm Beach away from the start line where it had ended up due to number of line resets due to the shifting wind. Rapscallion continue their good form to lead around the top followed by Stand in Line, TAG and Encore. It was close racing all around the track with Encore, Rapscallion and TAG crossing the finish line abreast. Encore was awarded 1st, TAG 2nd and Rapscallion 3rd.

The final Race of the series got under way in a softening easterly. Once again Rapscallion was 1st around the top mark followed the ever present Encore and TAG. TAG led around the top mark the final time followed by Rapscallion for the final sprint to the finish. From 3rd place Encore picked up a private puff to grab a handy lead with TAG and Rapscallion crossing neck and neck with TAG being awarded 2nd.

The day wrapped up with Chris’ famous chicken wings and the presentation at the hand stand. Overall, the Encore crew of Peter, Brian and Myles deservedly took out the championship with just 7 points and a drop of a 2nd. Congratulations guys. Rapscallion with David, Ian and Kevin had a very good regatta to be 2ndjust two points ahead of Stand in Line (Vaughan, Lachlan and Josh)

The final presentation of the day was for the ‘Pick of the Year’ award which goes to a fleet member who has made an outstanding contribution to the fleet. This year it went to a deserving Chris Nezmah for his BBQ and culinary skills and keeping the engine room running as Fleet Treasurer. Congratulations Chris and keep up the good work.

Thanks to the sponsors including North Sails (Vaughan) and Gill (Scotty) and to all the work by Jason, Tony and other fleet members to get this event across the line. Also, a round of thanks the RC and volunteers who without their support we wouldn’t have had such a successful weekend.

And finally, a thanks to all the Etchells crews who supported the event. This helps keep the fleet strong and I hope that we continue to get this level of support next season.

Kevin Molen