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Cronulla: Big boat owners eye off Etchells

28 June 2010 Steve O'Rourke

When you can get a collection of sailors this large and of this calibre together, why wouldn't you want to be part of Etchells racing?

"When you can get a collection of sailors this large and of this calibre together, why wouldn't you want to be part of Etchells racing?"

Several, local big boat owners are now looking hard at our Cronulla Etchells scene, no doubt realising the value of close racing, limited crew sizes, along with reasonable purchase and operating costs.

For those who haven't experienced Cronulla's sailing area, after an easy launching, you head South, down Gunnamatta Bay for a mile, turn left for half a mile, go through the channel and you are on the race course. It's all done in about 20 minutes.

Generally we sail two or three short, four leg races in ocean conditions, which can be choppy. In conditions over 15knots, there is also a ground swell and waves and in very heavy weather, we use the more sheltered area in the mouth of Port Hacking.

The clubs' hardstand and launching facility is second to none, with a new crane recently installed. The club is also close to opening its new upstairs premises, which had previously been delayed due to inadequate Sydney Water piping (Fire Protection).

In recent years, a limited liquor licence was acquired and the club's deck area is a very popular night-spot in Cronulla, on Friday evenings.

We did have an experience during the season when a crewmember was unable to be picked up after five or six passes. Fortunately, he was a strong swimmer and made his way to a local jetty. In different circumstances, a poor swimmer with no PFD would have been in real trouble.

Others will no doubt comment favourably on the recent Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship. I can only recommend you don't miss it next year. For us Aussies, it is simply the best value regatta there is going around.

The Minter boys, though very thorough with their equipment, were held up for a day on their return from Mooloolaba due to wheel bearing failure. The axle subsequently failed too, despite the fact that a mechanic had recently checked it all.

The message here is to ensure the mechanic does not pre-load the bearings, but allows end-float, when locking castellated nut.

Steve O'Rourke
Fleet Captain - Cronulla


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