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President Noel Paterson's January 09 report

11 February 2009 Noel Paterson

Australian President, Noel Paterson

"Australian President, Noel Paterson"

Racing resumed in earnest after the Christmas break with the running of the 2009 Commonwealth Bank Etchells National Championship at the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron in January. The Championship attracted forty - four entries from all six mainland states and was a huge success both on and off the water. It is significant to note this regatta was so well supported bearing in mind the six week separation from the World Championship in Melbourne in March. The Regatta was as relaxed on land as it was serious on water, which is I guess a great formula for any regatta. RSAYS needs to be congratulated for conducting a virtually flawless Championship on a great stretch of water supported by a very energetic Race Management team, the smiling faces of the staff ashore were a bonus.

My congratulations to the 2009 Australian Etchells Champions, John Bertrand, Ben Ainslie and Andrew Palfrey. It is obvious that John is serious in his quest to win the World Championship having recently acquired a new boat and the services of two highly talented Olympic sailors in Ben and Andrew. It is a pleasure to have triple Gold medallist Ben Ainslie sailing in the Etchells, an arms length away from a quick 'g'day' or a bit of advice.

The Etchells Class is about to embark on campaign throughout '09 to market the class to the yachting fraternity through the hard copy and electronic media. You will notice the Etchells brand in Australian Sailing, Yachting Monthly, Offshore and the Sailworld website. The message of the campaign is simple. The Etchells class is raced regularly in 15 fleets throughout Australia, it has a rock solid administration and a strict set of one design rules. The reality is that yes, the class has it's 'rock stars' however the predominance of the fleet is made up of good, average sailors. The difference is that these sailors are being fed high level competition at a much higher rate than other classes, the result is you improve at a faster rate. You don't have to be 'rock star' to sail Etchells but you do need to be competitive. The Etchells is a cheap class at entry level and you do not have to spend a fortune to get into a competitive boat. There is a abundance of second hand boats available and our National builder 'Pacesetter Yachts' is building boats of the highest quality.

The Australian Etchells website has had a makeover recently as you would have noticed whilst drilling down to this report. We have tried to make the site more user friendly and will continue to make innovative changes to the site as required, our Webmaster Kylie Wilson has been more than supportive and tolerant of my demands. The first of the quarterly electronic newsletters will appear on this site in February, these will come from the pen of our newly appointed publicist and human dynamo, Tracey Johnstone.

The 2009 Audi Etchells World Championship is being sailed from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club Melbourne from the 5th - 14th March and has attracted 80 entries to date. There are 18 International entries with the best Etchells sailors in the world in attendance. This will be a series not to be missed if you are in the area or near a computer, RBYC always puts on a great regatta and this one will not be any different.

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