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President Noel Paterson's June 09 report

17 June 2009 Noel Paterson

Australian President, Noel Paterson

"Australian President, Noel Paterson"

It is interesting to see how some groups of people react to situations when unwanted circumstances are thrust upon them. The Mooloolaba Etchells Fleet has just hosted the thirteenth annual Etchells Australian Winter Championship, traditionally run over the Queen's birthday long weekend in June.

The regatta was a huge success with 55 Etchells attending, which is one more than last year. The big difference was that the regatta was not held at the Mooloolaba Yacht Club, but rather at the Wharf complex (a major event sponsor) at the other end of the street. The MYC has been in a bitter dispute with the Mooloolaba Marina Company for some years now and without elaborating, the whole process has been taxing for all involved and a yachting tragedy by any standards. The Mooloolaba Fleet has been doing it tough for years however they have not given up and are surely a model for all of us to follow.

The Etchells Fleet is very strong in Australia and with people like this in our midst it's not hard to see why.

The bar talk prior to this regatta was that the event may be doomed and some other fleets were ready to put their hands up to run a regatta over the same weekend to fill the void. I am here to tell you that this event is firmly entrenched in Mooloolaba. The Mooloolaba Fleet would run the regatta out of a tin shed on a vacant block before they would let it leave Mooloolaba.

My congratulations to Trevor Martin, Tracey Johnstone, Arthur Hodge and their great group of volunteers for coming up with the goods. My congratulations to Damien King and his crew for a fine win proving that their second in the Worlds was no fluke, and also to Mark Johnson and Alistair Gair for keeping them honest.

Onto class administration news. Changes on the national class website this month has seen the inclusion of an enquiry page (http://etchells.org.au/getintoetchells/default.asp). People interested in joining a Fleet can now complete the enquiry form which will then be forwarded to the Fleet Captain of the selected fleet.

The National Executive has for some time now discussed the possibility of online payment of subscriptions to the Etchells Association. This is finally becoming a reality and will hopefully be up and running for the coming season for the fees which fall due at the end of September. This has many benefits for the Association and also provides the convenience factor for existing and new members who will be able to simply go to the Australian website and renew or join the Etchells Association. There will be further information in the September edition of this Newsletter and information will also be available on the website.

I have spoken to several members who are not receiving this newsletter online. If you are one of those or know of a member in the same situation please contact Kylie Wilson our webmaster, whose details appear in this publication and also on the website, with an email address.

Kylie is also in the process of looking at options for the creation of a member's forum on the website. We hope to have this up and running in the near future. The National Executive is committed to improving communication to all of the membership and I hope we are improving the standard in that regard.

You may have noticed increased activity in advertising and editorial publication in Australian Sailing, Sail-World.com, Australian Yachting and Offshore for everything Etchells. This will continue until the end of the year at least, in an effort to create greater awareness of the class. It may be a perfect opportunity for Fleets to run 'Come and Try' days or the like on the back of this marketing campaign.

Happy Etchelling
Noel Paterson
President









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