Our trial loaner boat program, starting in August 2021 in the lead up to the 21-22 season, will have boats available to those wanting to put a club racing program together. There is a huge upswing of female participation in sailing at RQ and combined clubs, Brisbane Etchells would like to nurture and create further opportunities for women, as skippers of their own Etchells program or crewing in a mixed team.
Our primary objective is to get more people out racing Etchells on a regular basis throughout the club season and provide accessible opportunities to learn to race in what we consider to be the best one-design class in world.
How it will Work
We use the 2021-2022 season as a trial of this program.
The Etchells Fleet committee are reaching out to possible boat owners with available boats to ask if they are interested in chartering their boat for the season. We have a few already available and are hoping to add more in the coming weeks.
Pending submissions, we would like to have at least two (2) female teams or mixed crews with a female skipper, if we manage to get more boats available then we would open it to both male and female nominations.
The Etchells fleet committee (in collaboration with the boat owners) then select suitable skippers from the nominations:
Preference would be given to experienced sailors, who would like to extend their skills into one design racing. They may be active in the RQ Elliot program or keelboat racing programs.
We welcome all nominations, especially those who are keen to grow their knowledge, commit to weekly racing, have fun and are willing to learn.
We don’t want to just throw participants in the program in the deep end, we will do our best to provide training seasons, at least every fortnight from our pool of existing and ‘semi-retired’ skippers to get up to speed with all things Etchells and one-design racing – building confidence and knowledge is what it is all about.
Key members of the Etchells fleet will provide fortnightly Saturday morning training (before club racing starts) where possible to the new teams to get them confident with sailing and racing Etchells.
Conditions of Program Participants
There is an expectation that a team will:
Commit to racing in at least 70-80% of RQ season point club races.
Respect and value the Etchells they have chartered as though they own it.
Sail with a safety-first approach in compliance with the Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS).
Respect the Royal Queensland and Brisbane Etchells Fleet volunteers, we all do this because we love the sport.
Work closing with the Etchells Fleet committee throughout the trial.
Skippers and Crew must become financial members RQYS and the Australian Etchells Association and have a valid Australian Sailing number.
The intention is that program participants are supported by the Etchells Fleet, but they still need to ‘carry their own bags’ so to speak, being responsible for organising your crew and getting your boat on the water each week. We will do our best to help you get crew if you are having difficulty
Have fun and enjoy the season.
What does it Cost?
We trying to keep this trial as simple as possible from a financial perspective, whilst keeping the costs down, whilst ensuring the owner’s are covered for their generosity to the program.
$1800/boat for the season, paid directly to the boat owner + general running repairs throughout the season are to be covered by the loanee. You will also need to provide your own compass and personal safety requirements.
Your boat’s entry into the RQ season points and/or additional regatta entry fees such as the Brisbane Fleet Championships or State Championships should you choose to enter.
The Brisbane Etchells Fleet will also contribute up to $1500/loaner boat to ensure Category 7 safety compliance and to get the boat base level race ready.
(The $1800 fee helps cover yearly insurance costs (Boat Owner must have Third Party Personal and Property Liability Insurance cover of a minimum $10,000,000 with racing cover) and a small contribution to hardstand costs. Note that this obviously doesn’t cover all the costs of owning an Etchells and keeping it on the hardstand, but it does help reduce the ongoing costs for an owner)
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the International Etchells Class Association, Brisbane Fleet Inc. will be held in the Auditorium at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, on Saturday 24th July 2021 at 11.00 am
Please find attached the Agenda, Nomination Form and Proxy.
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the International Etchells Class Association, Brisbane Fleet Inc. will be held in the Auditorium at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, on Saturday 25th July 2020 at 11.00 am
Please find attached the Agenda, Nomination Form and Proxy.
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the International Etchells Class Association, Brisbane Fleet Inc. will be held in the Auditorium at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Manly, on Saturday 27th July 2019 at 11.00 am
Please find attached the Agenda, Nomination Form and Proxy.
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…
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
“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.
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 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.
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 https://etchellsbrisbane.com.
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.
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 https://etchellsbrisbane.com and click away!
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.
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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.