Presidents Report

12 February 2018

Welcome to the mid-season Newsletter. Since last publishing we have seen our members compete in the San Francisco Worlds, the Australian Nationals, two state championships and at the time of writing Geelong Sail Week, not to mention the most important Club events. Participation numbers have been encouraging and from all reports the conduct of the racing has been of the very highest order.

We have witnessed the extraordinary performance of Graeme Taylor and his crew of James Mayo and Mothy Jarvin/Richie Allanson. Following their win in Mooloolaba, they have scored a second in the SF Worlds with the result going down to the last race. They have followed that with a second in the Queensland State Titles, and came away with a convincing win in the Australian Championship.

That event fabulously conducted by Swan River Fleet in Fremantle saw 32 competitors complete eight races with excellent racing. Second was Brisbane sailor, David Turton, followed by Michael Manford. Turton, returning to Etchells sailing, towed his new Pacesetter over taking the scenic route. When I caught up with him he was at Albany to which one local remarked that he had to be lost.

Two State Championships have been conducted so far. Queensland (39 competitors) saw David Clark with Ray Smith edge out GT. South Australia conducted a small regatta with four competitors and saw Mark Roberts take the event. We also saw the return of David Royle, former President of our Association who has taken over the reins of that State’s Fleet. I am sure we will see a regeneration of interest leading up to their scheduled conducting of the Nationals next year.

The Festival of Sail Geelong has hosted an Etchells Fleet seeing nine competitors on the water with Rod Hagebols (Fleet Captain) in the lead.

The conduct of each of these events requires a vast number of dedicated volunteers and the Association expresses our thanks to each and every one for the valuable and continuing input.

Returning to the 2017 Worlds, and Australia registered eleven competitors in the 51-boat Fleet. As mentioned, GT and gang followed winner Steve Benjamin into second place. Martin Hill, a relatively newcomer to Etchells sailing, finished sixth in what was a very tough regatta.

Our worldwide Etchells members have also received some recent accolades with Steve Benjamin winning US Champion of Champions the week after the Worlds, and recently Peter Duncan, a major contributor to the work of the Etchells World Fleet, being awarded US Rolex Male Sailor of the Year.

Brisbane Fleet is working hard on their plans for the 2018 World Championship to be held 18 - 27 October 2018 at Royal Queensland. The entry allocation has been set at 33%. For the first time, the 2017-2018 Australian Championship has been nominated as a qualifying event as set out in Appendix A, Clause 7. This means that the top ten boats in the Nationals, should they so elect, may use that event as their qualifying series, given that all other issues are in accordance with the rules.

Some Fleets are in the middle of their qualifiers, and others are yet to start. Looking at the membership stats, 198 skippers are enrolled along with 280 Associates. That is a disappointing number in a year we have a home Worlds. I encourage Fleet Captains to ensure all competitors are paid up, both skippers and associates.

In December I emailed all members advising of a Variation Approval issued to us by Australian Sailing. The essence of which is that, in all Class events, we no longer have to use anchors as documented in the Special Regs. We may use the anchors as set out in the Class Rules. The Australian Association require all Fleets and in the conduct of sanctioned events to apply this variation, and hence we move one more step toward one design. Please encourage your Club and your auditors to be aware of this matter and to adopt it in all of your racing.

Shortly we will have the NSW then Victorian State Titles - get your boats out and compete, they will be stellar events.

Finally, I repeat my plea mentioned in the last newsletter. The proper conduct of the affairs of the Association requires active executive participants. Clark, Healey and Fethers are doing a great job. We need more help and support. Please give it favourable consideration and be in touch to get on board.

All the best for the remainder of the season and into the future.

David Ritchard
President IECAA.