News & Media


October 13, 2018 worldsadmin0

Olympian, World Champion and America’s Cup living legend, John Bertrand AO, is just one of the stars lining up for the 2018 Etchells World Championship. The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in the Brisbane suburb of Manly will host the 95-boat strong armada, 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, yet many will also take part in the Queensland State Championship that serves as a pre-worlds warm up. This regatta runs from October 14 to 16 inclusive, yet is often the one you do not want to win, for it seems to put a hex on your chances of taking out the big one.

The Etchells are a strict One Design craft for three sailors, or four smaller individuals, with the latter being critical to attracting female and youth athletes to the class. This year they celebrate their 50th year, having been designed by Skip Etchells back in the 60s. Whilst that may be considered old hat by some, the aluminium masts and symmetrical spinnakers that adorn these slipperiest of craft that require superfine tuning, and are so loved by some of the best sailors the world has ever seen.

This year alone the regatta has almost ten former Etchells World Champions amongst the fleet, and then there are best on the planet from other classes like the iconic 18-footers, as well as Olympic Medallists, America’s Cup veterans, and winners from the Everest of sailing, the round the world events like the Volvo Ocean Race. Apart from the overall win, crews also compete in the Senior, Master, Grand Master and Corinthian divisions, where appropriate.

Now John Bertrand, or JB as he is best known, is sailing Triad2 with Ben Lamb on the bow and Noel Drennan on the main, both of whom have more than enviable CVs across many classes. Ben has just returned from the J/70 Worlds (another 90+ boat fleet), and they are joined for the first time by Drennan, who’s Etchells credentials are simply outstanding. JB collected his 2016 World Championship in Cowes with Ben and Paul Blowers, but had other megastars in Tom Slingsby and Andrew Palfrey on board his famous, Triad, in Howth in Ireland when he collected the 2010 title.

JB is often referred to by many as simply, ‘The Great Man’, and he spoke about the impending regatta both fondly and profoundly. “The size of it all is a little bit of a phenomenon. However, having spent same days out on the waters of Moreton Bay sailing against some of the US crews, as well as a few of the Australians, it is quite noticeable just how much the game is changing.”

“It is all becoming much more sophisticated, and a lot like Olympic competition, in fact. This is due to the resources people are bringing to the table. So the class is certainly evolving rapidly. This regatta is going to be hot, what else do you say? A review of the fleet is really a who’s who of One Design racing. Etchells are already considered the best of their type in Australia, but I think we are going to see that this event is going to deliver something else on the world stage.”

“Tactically, the Etchells are very sophisticated. The speed differential is minute, unlike so many other classes, so if you can cross another boat by centimetres, then this is a really good life experience.” JB is always very considered in his approach, and commented, “I am just happy to be alive and be on that start line, which is the best way to approach something like this.”

“Not sure there is any luck involved for the crew who do manage to take it out. The cream very much rises to the top in a long regatta. It will be an emotional rollercoaster, and a true marathon, both physically and mentally. To give people an idea of the scale of it all, the start line will be 1.2km long, which means you cannot read the sail numbers of boats on the other end of the line.” (The Race Management team have spotters at both ends to account for this).

“You race in your own fleet in many ways, and if you can round in the top 20 then good luck to you!”

So the crews have all had to qualify, one way or another, and this, combined with the very similar speeds is what delivers another very Etchells phenomenon. 85th v 86th are racing just hard as 28th and 29th, as too are first and second. The result is that there is many a crew story to be had, some of which can be found here (

The one highlighted below goes to show the truly international aspect of the Etchells scene. Greg Farrell is an ex-pat Kiwi, now living in Hong Kong. Farrell commented, “Our team, Dream On (HKG 1269), is one of a half dozen from the Hong Kong fleet making the trip to Brisbane. Following the success of the 2015 Etchells Worlds here in Hong Kong it raised the interest of a number of owners who have established teams or programs that compete regularly at a number of Etchells events internationally.”

“I am a former Gold Coast Etchells fleet member, and somewhat regular participant at Queensland Etchells events over the past 15 years, so Brisbane was certainly on my radar ever since the event was awarded to the fleet.”

Our team consists of myself and Nagisa Sakai, who are both based in Hong Kong, along with Australian based Dan Belcher and Alex Gough, with the latter a somewhat honorary ‘Hong Konger’ after his recent adventures around the world on Hong Kong’s Volvo Ocean Race entry, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Nagisa and I sail regularly here in Hong Kong, whilst Dan and I sailed together a while back in Etchells. Whilst we haven’t all sailed together as a team, we all know each other well from previous sailing and past Etchells events.”

Etchells Vic State Championships

“Given the lack of time together in the boat as a team, and my punter ability on the helm, we have very realistic expectations, and are simply looking forward to sailing with and against great mates, at what we expect will be a world class event at one of the best sailing venues around”, said Farrell in closing.

Alas, it takes a lot of people to put something like this together in the first place, and then to run it once it all begins. However, there is no one who would not say that the size of this event is not the result of the drive and enthusiasm displayed by the Chairman of the Organising Committee, David Irvine. Since travelling to Newport, R.I. in 2014 to secure the event for Brisbane, he has been tireless and determined, but also very empowering as he sought to build a team.

Irvine commented, “The real secret is sponsoring co-operation. The Yacht Club and the Class have come together to make a totally worthwhile programme for on water and shore crew alike. I am sure this is why we not only have the usual array of talent from so many areas of sailing, but also the vast number who have swelled the fleet to be over 300 sailors strong.”


Image Name Caption Shooter – ©
BertrandEtchells.jpg The Great Man – John Bertrand Alex McKinnon Photography
Etchells_JB_3665.jpg John Bertrand, seen here sailing with Billy Browne and Jake Newman. John Curnow
Etchells59.jpg On heavier days, the Etchells is one wet boat! Mitch Pearson
Etchells19.jpg On lighter days the crews sits to leeward to trim the boat for the optimum angle Mitch Pearson
Etchells47 The fleet sets off after the start Mitch Pearson
Etchells5.jpg Rounding the windward mark on Moreton Bay Mitch Pearson




October 9, 2018 worldsadmin0

As we move into the Pre-worlds and Worlds events, all competitor communications will be delivered via TeamApp.

Please follow the link below to download the App for either Apple or Android devices.

After you have installed the app, search for “2018etchellsworlds” and you will see the Worlds App.

The 2018 Etchells Worlds Committee.


August 22, 2018 worldsadmin0

The impending 2018 Etchells World Championship at Brisbane tells a tale almost as old as time itself. The word we are wandering around is, epic. Come October 18, 2018, this most highly competitive class of one-design sailboats will hold their premier regatta on the waters of Moreton Bay in Brisbane. The event for the Etchells, now in their 50th year, will be staged out of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, on the shores of Manly.

Inside the world of sailing, both the club, and the fact that around 85 entries have already been received, also fall into the classification of epic. As entries close on September 14, it is expected that around 90 boats, along with their super-keen crews from all around the globe, will be bustling on the start line. So well done to all of those who have made the commitment to be here.

Now leading the overall charge, as it were, the boats have already begun to arrive and fill the immense hardstand area at RQ, as the host club is best known. The competition will be hot, hot, hot on the water. Trying to determine who will reign supreme amongst this armada of former World Champions in this and other classes, America’s Cup stars, round the world ocean racers, as well as Olympic legends, is not something many would be prepared to tackle. One thing that is much easier to nominate and describe, is just how the local Brisbane Fleet will look after everyone in their world-renowned, convivial manner.

David Irvine, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, commented about the current state of play, “It’s wonderful to see the representation from all over the fleet, and also the globe. This is the true Etchells spirit of participation and camaraderie, which is now in its fifth decade!”

“We rolled on from Newport R.I. in 2014, when we were successful in our bid to host the regatta, and have not stopped since. It is a delight to see the result we have to date, and so now we move onto making the outcome for all who are attending exactly what they are coming for, and have come to expect from this team. My thanks to the crew that have made it possible, and also all the competitors for making the journey.”

On that note, it is so interesting to learn so much about the kinds of crews coming to Brisbane. When you also get to learn how crews came to be, and their motivations for attending, you get an insight into the joys of sailing.

Scott Kaufmann and crew, winners of the 2017 Etchells Norths Americans. Image © Cyntia Sinclair

Scott Kaufman is the Skipper of USA 1198, America Jane 11, which is one of the 20 or so four-up crews attending the regatta. Scott was actually born in Sydney, but the ex-pat has lived in the USA since 1974. He actually represented Australia in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico in the very pretty 5.5 metre Class.

Crewmen Jesse Kirkland sailed in the 2012 Olympics in the 49er class for Bermuda, and Lucas Calabrase sailed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for Argentina in the 470s, claiming a Bronze Medal at Weymouth (2012). These two used to sail against each other in the Optimist Class. The final crewman is Austen Anderson, who sailed for Hobart College in several classes.

“This will be our third World Championship together as a team. Unfortunately we broke our mast in 2016, and were in the Top 10 in 2017. We are also the current North American Champions. The boat itself is in great shape, and has been updated constantly.”

“As a four-man crew we do best in medium conditions, but higher breeze, like those in San Francisco, is not a problem, just more challenging. We will be sailing in the pre-Worlds, as well as the Worlds. Our boat went into the container last week for the 35-day trip to Brisbane. So yes. We are coming and really looking forward to it all.”

Marty Kaye and Marco Pocci HKG 1428 during the 2016 Cowes Worlds.  Photo: Jenny Cooper

Marty Kaye is the skipper and co-owner of HKG 1428, Les Freak Sont Chic, with Marco Pocci, who is the bowman on board. They have recruited British Finn (Olympic Class) sailor, Ben “Guns” Cornish, to be the mainsheet hand in the middle. They are completing in their third World Championship in a row, with an Ontario boat (Canada) built for the 2016 Cowes World Championship, and use North Sails to power her along.

“Part of our program is to race against the best there is, in a quality fleet. We placed 22nd in the Worlds at Cowes, then won the British Nationals, and were subsequently top five in European regattas out of Cowes, including the prestigious Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy. We placed 10th in San Francisco (2017 Worlds), with the highlight being winning the last race. So we are improving, and hope to continue to do so.”

“We are racing in European Championship from August 24-27, which will be a last key regatta before the pre-worlds and then World Championship in Brisbane. It is an interesting track out the front of RQ, and a great club to sail from. We are hoping for warm conditions, and with 80+ boat fleet there will be some serious competition, that then gets coupled with the Aussie hospitality. Overall, we are pretty excited!”

“We’re are aiming to line up before the pre-Worlds with our US training partner, Steve ‘Benji’ Benjamin, the reigning World Champion, to fine tune our speed. I think we still need a better understanding of the Brisbane track, but hopefully during the pre-worlds we can get comfortable with the tides and wind.”

So what all of the above means is that it won’t be easy out on the water. Far from it, actually. Conversely, everything off the water, from logistics to entertainment, has been made super easy. Now to find out all you need to know, or to make your booking before it all gets closed off, simply go to and click away!