News & Media


November 6, 2020 John Curnow0
The Front Bar after Race Four. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

The 2020 Etchells Queensland State Championship was won by The Front Bar (AUS 1317). On board were Australian Sailing Squad member, Joel Turner, Ray Smith, and skippered by one of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s most notable members, Brad Ginnivan.

Ginnivan is certainly a character amongst characters, but so giving of his time and energy, as well as innumerable items for the club from his business, Moreton Bay Signs.  A tireless ball of energy with strong sense of humour, Ginnivan was quick to recount just how they secured Turner for the regatta.

“A while ago, I was MC for a charity auction, and one of the items up for grabs was sail with Joel. So I was encouraged to put an auctioneer’s bid in to secure the opportunity, and we won. It’s taken until now to make it happen, but he was brilliant. Both he and Ray were great. Both of them called the shots uphill, and I just steered. Joel took care of tactics downhill and to win with a race to spare was just brilliant”, said Ginnivan.

Brad Ginnivan’s The Front Bar on Day One. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

“Our goal was to be in the top five of every race, which we accomplished, except for last where we were ninth. We were eight kilos underweight, and I had put in a new Whale Spars mast that had only done six races before the championship. I also pulled out a brand new North Sails main from the shed, and we used our existing jibs from the (2018) Brisbane Worlds.”

“We had traditional headsail sheeting by the way, and we might have been slightly lower in some instances, but our pace was awesome. We also used our (mast) chocks a bit more as well. Ray made me take my watch off and it was all about looking forward for me. He’s terrific and has now won three of the last four Queensland States.”

Part of the fleet coming back downwind. Photo credit: Emily Scott

“Friday was just beautiful with 10-14 knots, and I remember how we won race two after a gybe set at the top set us up marvellously. Saturday blew in at 25 knots and then some. We achieved 16-18 knots downhill at one point. David Turton (who was ahead of us) recounted to me that he had said to his crew ‘Have a look at Brad!’ Sunday light again, and fluky, but we did win the first race of the day.”

Ginnivan finished by saying, “Joel wanted us to finish the regatta off, so we completed the last race. This is my first Etchells win ever (in a big event), and we got two bullets as well! Mum was in tears, and sent me $100, which we put on the bar. It’s really nice to get a result after all this time. I am pretty stoked, and we beat some serious players in Vaughan Prentice, Peter Conde and David Turton. Ray and Joel were awesome, and I thank them, the fleet, the club and the volunteers so much.”

Martin Sinclair’s, The Saint, during Race Four. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

David Turton’s, Our Thing (AUS 1446), placed second, some three points astern. Reflecting on it all, Turton commented jovially, “Giving him the (mast chocks) secrets did not help. It was all really good fun. It was the first time in the boat since Mooloolaba 2019. We had Josh Torpy, and seasoned Etchellian Ash Deeks on board, and might have gone in cold, but we came out hot!”

Turton added, “We had a blast and racing on Saturday in 25 knots was a highlight for sure. A lot of us have been in the Finn a lot due to travel restrictions. This has been good, and we’ve learned a lot, as we have a large fleet of 30 or so here.”

Encore at the weather mark of Race Four on Day Two. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

In third place was Peter Conde’s Encore (AUS 870), and they were also the first placed Corinthian crew. Conde sailed with long time crew Brian Hellier, and Peter Elkington stepped in for Myles Baron-Hay who could not attend. “We have not sailed the Etchells since last October at the States. We are still keen to be involved in the Class, it’s great regattas and very close racing.”

“This one came down to the first race on Sunday when they gybed on the new breeze first and went to the lead. There were lots of changes of places throughout the event, and in flat water with 8-10 knots blowing it becomes very tactical, and a game of centimeters”, added Conde.

“Really glad to collect the new Corinthian trophy, and we hope to have time for Brisbane fleet and Mooloolaba event in 2021, so we can see some of the regular faces again.”

Chinese take away for two – Waterloo Too (Red) and Stand In Line (White) both Chinese Gybe immediately after the finish of Race Four. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

The PRO for the regatta was Guy Morton who pushed for a third race on Friday, which paid dividends for Saturday. “They are a great bunch of sailors, and it’s always good to get out with them. I did really enjoy the Saturday, very exciting and thrilling. Noel Paterson had his whole body on the tiller as they came down to the finish line, and it was amazing.”

“We had two volunteers on the two mark boats, five on the committee boat and all of us enjoyed it the entire regatta. We had great feedback too, which is lovely. RQ has a very experienced team, which makes changes easy, and the fleet was flexile with start times, and that also helps to get all the scheduled (seven) races completed.”

Noel Paterson’s Waterloo Too crossing the finish line of Race Four. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

Brisbane Fleet Captain, Jason Hawkins commented, “With lockdowns and restrictions in place around the country, we are extremely grateful to have been able to hold the 2020 Etchells State Championships on the waters of Moreton Bay. It was also fantastic to see five skippers returning to Etchells racing since we hosted the Worlds in 2018. This resulted in very tight, highly competitive racing… and this of course is the reason we sail Etchells. We had 15 in the fleet, with Ben Leigh-Smith making the journey up for the Gold Coast Fleet.”

“We had extremely mixed conditions, and our PRO and volunteers did a fantastic job. Saturday was our most challenging day, with easily 25-30+ knots in highly unstable conditions as the storm front approached. We only got one race in, but got back ashore at 1pm, did the BBQ at 1.30, and then the storms hit at 2.15, so we all stayed around to watch the lightning show.”

Start of Race Seven on Day Three. Photo Credit: Emily Scott

In closing, Hawkins added, “Chris Nezmah has taken over the tongs from the Healey family for our world famous BBQ, and brought on chicken wings as his specialty. The next regatta is Brisbane Fleets in March 2021, so hopefully the borders will be open, and we look forward to welcoming back all the sailors from down South for our renowned Brisbane Fleet hospitality.”


July 28, 2019 Jenny Cooper0

At the Brisbane Etchells Fleet AGM yesterday, long-time office holders Noel Paterson and David Healey stood aside from their respective positions within the Fleet handing their batons over to Jason Hawkins (incoming Fleet Captain) and Chris Nezmah (incoming Treasurer).

Both Noel and David have worked tirelessly to further the Etchells Fleet in Brisbane as well as world-wide as the summary of their involvement to-date listed below testifies to:

Noel Paterson

  • Brisbane Fleet Captain: 2000-2004, 2009-12. 2014-19 (total 12 years)
  • International Governor: 2003-08, 2011-15 (total 12 years)
  • Australian Vice President: 2002-2004 (2 years)
  • Australian President: 2004-06, 2008-11 (5 years)
  • Awarded International Life Member 2018
  • Awarded Brisbane Fleet Life Membership 27 July 2019
  • (unfortunately, there is no record of Noel’s previous service in the 1980’s)

David Healey

  • Brisbane Fleet Treasurer: 1999-2019 (except for 18 months 2014/16)  (18.5 Years)
  • Australian Assistant Secretary: 2008-11 (3 years)
  • Australian Secretary: 2011-2016, 2017-19 (7 years)
  • Australian Treasurer: 2016- to date
  • International Governor: 2009-15 (8 years)
  • International Governor & Treasurer: 2017-21 (2 years)
  • Awarded Australian Life Membership 2018

From official records, we note that collectively these two Etchells elder-statesmen from the Brisbane Fleet have given their time for almost 70 years in total !

Noel and David have handed over the Brisbane Fleet to new hands in the strongest position it has ever been in its 40+ year history both in terms of participation as well as financially.  We wish them both all the best in their ‘retirement’ and know they will remain just as active on the race track continuing to campaign on Moreton Bay.   

See you out on the water.   


January 18, 2019 John Curnow0

Patience came to see Prudence!

Simone Wood, Thomas Quigley, Adam Lavis, and Samantha Costin are part of the RQYS Youth Development Programme and loving their Etchells experience.

It was quite the thing. If yesterday had been marvellous, then what could you possibly say about the Wednesday, other than it was the day for the now world famous David and Sue Healey BBQ? These have become a must do component of any Brisbane Etchells event, and Wednesday night’s one was just as good as the others, and also included some mid-regatta prize presentations, as well.

Yet the conundrum remained. Perhaps even the weather God’s heard of the issues. For whilst there has been a lot of concern over whether there would be enough breeze to complete a series of seven races, and every model had dire looking predictions, the second day of racing in the 2019 Etchells Australian Championship got two absolutely glamorous races in to take the overall tally to five. Importantly, this now brings in the drop to the equation, but we’ll come to all of that in a minute.

Magpie goes of to test the wind before ht start of Race Four today.

You see, just before it was all so, so good, and even the tide decided to be nice and gentle with everyone again today, you needed to have a sit down, and wait to chat with Patience. You see, she had come to catch up with her sister, Prudence, who ruled yesterday, when three races were completed and set the scene. Well done to PRO Louise Davis and her Race Management team, and their smiles today were just about as big as those of the competitors.

So with a little bit of waiting time done ashore, soon it was time to be towed out to the course. A little more waiting eschewed, not much, but the breeze wanted to go right a tad, and eventually 050 degrees held sway, and six knots got dialled in. It remained in the Nor’east zone all day, perhaps having a wee look further right, and built all day too. It settled in for a classic 12 to 15 knots by the end of the third work in the second race, and 0.75m sheep in the paddock (waves) were sliced by the Etchells oh-so-effortlessly. Perhaps that constant cooling from the harsh sun is what also had so many smiles on display.

Lisa Rose and those blue PFDs. In third place presently.

If it was all so good, then why would you want to sit it out? It’s true, but the U Flag once again claimed some victims. As for the racing, well it was intense as usual, and many did well. Some of those in turn were very happy, for they had not done so well yesterday, and thus after meeting with Prudence and Patience, were looking for some redemption.

Triad was one boat to kick on from yesterday, and how! Kirwan Robb, with Darren Jones, Hugo Allison and Sam Tiedermann took out Race Four, which was the first of the day. I asked Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones if he’d been putting the snake oil in the water bottles, “Maybe a little bit of beginners luck. It is awesome to get a race win in a Championship such as this, with the kinds of sailors who are here. The depth of quality sailor is unbelievable. It is even more exciting seeing as we only got into the boat a few days ago now.”

Gen XY are the overnight leaders with just two races left to coplete.
Gen XY are the overnight leaders with just two races left to coplete.

As for the win, Twirler said, “We have had a plan for each race, and we stuck to it. I think that has been a strong point of our sailing here. We have ticked it off, and it has played out well for us. We’re going OK, the boat’s OK, and even though we are not special in any particular area, and given how new the team is, I think we are putting together a nice set up. It has been a great event for us, when you think about it all.”

Winning Race Five in a commanding first to last post performance was the local outfit, Gen XY. As a result, they are also the overnight clubhouse leaders, with a slender one-point margin over last night’s victors, Havoc. Matt Chew is sailing with long-term crew Brian Donovan, Ben Vercoe, and for this regatta, Laser ace, Mitch Kennedy. A jovial Chew spoke ashore, “We’ll be going well if we can keep that 8th place as our drop. We had a bad start in that first race, and caught up really well to be fourth in the end, which is always encouraging.” As for their performance in the stronger breeze, Chew simply stated, “We don’t have any secrets, and I think we probably do better in the really light stuff. We were lit up in that last one, and makes for a really good day. Two more to come from here, and if we can deliver under pressure like we did today, then we will be really happy.”

Corinthian leader, Animal House (AUS 832) with Tango (Chris Hampton, Sam Haines and Charlie Cumbley) to weather of them.
Corinthian leader, Animal House (AUS 832) with Tango (Chris Hampton, Sam Haines and Charlie Cumbley) to weather of them.

Doing well overall too is, Animal House, from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth. Dirk Van Der Struyf is one elated skipper. Regrettably his normal crew could not make it, as they had expired all the leave and brownie points in the World Championship campaign, but Dirk has gelled well with his replacements from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club in Victoria. Tonight, together with Ben O’Brien and James Hannah they can be justly proud of being the Corinthian leader in 11th place overall, and five points clear of their nearest rival, Land Rat.

Van Der Struyf would say of it all, “Thank you. It is a nice feeling. Despite being a fill-in crew, which makes it challenging for the first few races, we are doing well. Our plan has been to keep it simple, and we certainly went for that today. I think another aspect is that we have kept it clean, and this really counts in an event like this.”

“We have not started well in any of the races to date, but the boat is going quickly, and this has allowed us to pick a few shifts, and wiggle our way out of trouble from time to time. We are happy because we are consistent (two 9s, a 12, and a 6 so far), and not had any blowouts, or rigs falling etc, etc. It is nice to be out here and sailing in beautiful conditions. We particularly liked the stronger conditions of this afternoon, and had the boat pushing along. Being in the top ten for that race was great, as the rarefied airs are kinder to you, and it is easier to get around the course. Being deeper than that is much, much harder, I can tell you!”

Lisa Rose and those blue PFDs. In third place presently.

Showing that consistency may well be some sort of family member with Patience and Prudence today, was Lisa Rose. Martin Hill, Julian Plante, Mat Belcher and Sean O’Rourke collected a third and a seventh place today to see them be in third place overall for the evening. Clearly there is some enviable talent on board, but the smiling ninjas, and reigning World Champs, seem to be very much eying off the top position, and are only seven points astern of Gen XY.

Hill commented once back ashore, “A great day’s sailing out there; so wonderful we could have done two more races! We had speed in the lighter conditions, and just have to find some more in the stronger stuff.” In the end, all I can say is, look out for the blue PFDs!

Racing continues tomorrow from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly, with timing and number of races to be determined based on the weather. There are just two more races to be completed, and it is still very tight on the scoreboard. Please keep and eye on Facebook and the fleet website for updates.




More information at: – including live video from on the water


Image Name Caption © Holder
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_GenXY_1069.jpg Gen XY are the overnight leaders with just two races left to coplete. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_Havoc_1072.jpg Havoc, Iain Murray, Colin Beashel, and Richie Allanson are just one point off the leaders. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_TumbaRumba_1076.jpg Simone Wood, Thomas Quigley, Adam Lavis, and Samantha Costin are part of the RQYS Youth Development Programme and loving their Etchells experience. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_Magpie_1083.jpg Magpie goes of to test the wind before ht start of Race Four today. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_LisaRose_1095.jpg Lisa Rose and those blue PFDs. In third place presently. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_AnimalHouse_1105.jpg Corinthian leader, Animal House (AUS 832) with Tango (Chris Hampton, Sam Haines and Charlie Cumbley) to weather of them. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_IrisV_1118.jpg Peter McNeill, Kain Sinclair and Dean Blatchford on Iris V at the hitch mark. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_1435_1120.jpg Kate Deveraux on the brace on 1435, with Jeanne-Claude helming, Seve Jarvin on the main, and Marcus Burke getting the spinnaker ready for launch. John Curnow
2019_EtchellsNats_D2_Just2Funny_1129.jpg Just 2 Funny, James Hodgson, Trevor Martin, and Stuart Kennedy, getting the spinnaker set. John Curnow



November 25, 2018 Jenny Cooper0

The 2019 Australian Championships will be held from Sunday 13 – Friday 18 January hosted by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.  The regatta will consist of two days of registration, one weigh in and a practice race on and seven races over 4 days.  There will be two social functions – the Welcome event on Monday January 14 and the Prize Giving on Friday January 2018. Entries have been open for a while so sign up now to book your place on the start line amongst some of the toughest competition in the class.

Click here to enter now!


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