News

NSW State Championship

One better...

3 February 2015 Author: John Curnow
Matt Whitnall, Christian Brook and Ant Elliott prior to a start in the Milson Silver Goblets

 Matt Whitnall, Christian Brook and Ant Elliott prior to a start in the Milson Silver Goblets
© Kylie Wilson - positiveimage.com.au

Their intention had been ultra clear. The crew of Yandoo XX were going to go one better in the 2015 iteration of the Milson Silver Goblets Regatta. On Saturday, January 31, a couple of bullets (first places) ensured that Jeanne-Claude Strong, Nev Wittey, Marcus Burke and Tiana Wittey did secure the prized win in the famous twilight regatta, which is hosted annually by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in Kirribilli.

Richard Hammond, Sydney Etchells Fleet Captain said at the conclusion of the series, "Once again the Milson Silver Goblets Regatta has again proven very popular with the Etchells and attracts some of Australia's leading sailors. Sydney Harbour certainly turned on a big range of conditions, with challenging wind strengths and directions. Nevertheless, the racing was excellent, with many opportunities to make gains or losses..."

"Congratulations go to Jeanne-Claude Strong and the crew of, Yandoo XX, who really shone in all conditions. Runners-up were Colin Beashel, Richie Allanson and Ed McCarthy. Beasho showed once again that he is as sharp as ever with very consistent results. Also, well done to, Umami, which is Matt Whitnall, Christian Brook and Ant Elliott, who finished in third place."

'The Goblets', as they're known, were not only as popular as ever, but closely fought too. Speaking afterwards, Richie Allanson from North Sails commented, "If Beasho is not the best sailor I have been on the water with, then he is very close to it. Sailing comes so naturally to him and he is such a delight to be out there with. Everybody on board needs to be in the boat race, just like it was for he and David Giles in the Star. They were on the same page and there was never a need to call a tack or a gybe. It is such a wonderful experience. He's not sailing as much as before, but seems to enjoy it, based on his smile-on-the-dial factor."

But now is the time to go one better, in terms of regatta anyway. The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron will host the Etchells NSW State Championship from Friday to Sunday this week. An immensely strong, 38-boat fleet will assemble on Jeanne-Claude's beloved Sydney Harbour. Following on from their win on the weekend and a 10th place at the recent Australian Championship in Adelaide, Strong said, "We were really happy to win the Goblets this year, because we had made a conscious effort to improve our results over the past few months. We did on and off water training. I have been going to the gym most days, and also swimming. Nev also has been doing a lot of gym work, Marcus is very fit, and Tiana is so active with the many sports she's involved in, so she's also super fit."

"Being at the presentation dinner last Saturday brought back a very strong memory of my husband, James. In spite of his own very high achievements in business, the arts and motor sports, he was nonetheless amazingly supportive of me when I asked Neville to teach me to sail for the 2004 Yngling World Championship. Those memories took me right back to the presentation dinner for those 2004 Worlds, when James was so proud of our win. So in a way, I feel that this win is dedicated to him!!!"

Strong added, "I know I must have driven Nev mad in this early period, as I wanted to be on the water seven days a week... He kept it down to five only. As I now teach friends the basics of sailing - my own course of sailing 101 (such as this is a halyard) - I know I must have been trying.

"I want to say how much I appreciate Nev's coaching and coaxing, his brilliant boat set up and tactics; also Marcus' constantly high crew work and trim and his most welcome equanimity; and Tiana's ever smiling face and can do attitude."

Strong finished by saying, "All I have to do is steer, and most of the time they even keep me dry!"

Brisbane Etchells Fleet Captain, John Warlow, together with Will Thomson and David Bull on, Land Rat, finished in seventh place in Adelaide. They were very, very, very happy with that effort from both themselves and the new boat (AUS1422). The days of celebration are now over and Warlow said of that regatta and this next impending championship, "It was one of the best Etchells presentations I can't remember! I think because it was a pleasant, low-key event, with some popular winners. No one seemed to want to go home."

"David Bull was a last minute call up for Adelaide when Mick Patrick, who we had been training with us all season, was unfortunately not able to attend. Bully was always dialled in for this regatta. However, as of now, he has had a complete Nationals campaign as a warm up, so should hit the ground running this time. So yes, we are looking forward to NSW States after some pretty encouraging performances at the Etchells Australian Championship with the new boat."

Warlow then added, "I think the NSW regatta will actually be a bit tougher, as there will be more boats competing, including some of the very top crews, who had not gone over to Adelaide. I like sailing on Sydney Harbour. My last regatta there was 2005 Australian Championships, where we managed a fifth place! Right now we are still learning the new boat, so we shall see what we see..."

Another Queensland outfit is Gen XY, which are Matt Chew, Ash Deeks, Brian Donovan and Bill Cuneo. They were third at the recent Australian Championships in Adelaide. Gen XY had been leading and were keen to get their maiden National title, but it did not come to pass and they were gracious in defeat, but obviously a little shaken. They are a keen and seriously talented outfit, so it was not long before they had dusted themselves off and now the reigning Queensland State Champions are going to be in Sydney and you could bet they will be more than fired up. Great fun to be around, full of laughs and dedicated to their sport, these wonderful sailors will mean business and no doubt be looking to go two better than Adelaide.

Chew commented, "The first Etchells regatta I ever did was the 2005 Australian Championships, which were on the Harbour. I did the bow - I'm not a very good bowman! It's going to be a pretty crazy weekend and we're expecting to be sailing in a lot of gas, as the fleet will all be aiming at the same headland! Should be fun and can't wait to get amongst it all again."

It is completely true that virtually any of the crews could win this title and are focussed on doing so. Just look at North Sydney Station who will trade the unavailable Colin Beashel for another America's Cup legend, Iain Murray. Murray has been out a bit lately with both Michael Coxon and Steve Jarvin. Last year's winners, at a very soaked Gosford, were Graeme Taylor with Steve Jarvin and Grant Simmer. This time it will be Taylor, Jarvin and James Mayo. The latter is a former Etchells World Champion with Cameron Miles and Andrew Palfrey.

So perhaps the best way to describe the anticipation and desire to go racing is best summed up by Etchells Governor, David Clark, who said, "My ankle has recovered (broken) and all fit for the Etchells NSW State Championship. Having missed Adelaide, we are fired up for this one! Having said that, however, our expectations are modest, for we are yet to sail as a team. Fifteen+ will be me, Sean O'Rourke, Mark Langford and Nic Douglass. We will use this event to springboard us into the Victorian State Championship and then the Mooloolaba Mid-Winters. Really looking forward to a great fleet, with some real depth in rivals!"

Alas, it would seem nothing is better than THE One Design, Etchells. This weekend on Sydney Harbour is bound to be colourful in all meanings of the term. To begin your Etchells journey and gather all the necessary information on the 2015 NSW Etchells State Championship, see etchells.org.au/states-nsw/.

Hiking uphill with Yandoo XX (12)

 Hiking uphill with Yandoo XX (12)
© Kylie Wilson - positiveimage.com.au

Colin Beashel, Richie Allanson and Ed McCarthy on North Sydney Station

 Colin Beashel, Richie Allanson and Ed McCarthy on North Sydney Station
© Kylie Wilson - positiveimage.com.au

Busy times at the hitch mark with Yandoo XX in the foreground

 Busy times at the hitch mark with Yandoo XX in the foreground
© Kylie Wilson - positiveimage.com.au

A very very very happy team, Land Rat AUS1422, 7th at the Nationals

 A very very very happy team, Land Rat AUS1422, 7th at the Nationals
© Kylie Wilson - positiveimage.com.au

Bill Cuneo, Ash Deeks, Matt Chew in disguise and Brian Donovan with the Qld State trophy

 Bill Cuneo, Ash Deeks, Matt Chew in disguise and Brian Donovan with the Qld State trophy
© John Curnow

Hard at work on board 15+

 Hard at work on board 15+
© John Curnow



Etchells Sydney