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President's Report

5 April 2011 Noel Paterson

Australian President, Noel Paterson

"Australian President, Noel Paterson"

It has been a busy start to the year, with the Nationals, New South Wales and Victorian titles all being decided since January. Details of those events are available on the Etchells Australian website, however I would like to congratulate John Bertrand, along with his crew of Grant Simmer and Andrew Palfrey, for their win at the Nationals. I believe this makes three Nationals in a row for John and as the reigning World Champion, one could say he is not having a bad run at all. I know he is proud of his National hat trick and rightfully so!

There have been some important changes to the scheduling of coming events during the coming 2011-12 season, which I feel I should highlight. Firstly, the dates of the 2012 World Championship at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (RSYS) have been changed to run from Friday February 17 until Saturday February 25. In the original format, RSYS was to have conducted the Nationals just prior to Worlds. However, RSYS wishes to concentrate solely on the Worlds and after consultation, the 2012 Nationals will now be held at Pittwater from February 10 to 14, inclusive.

The New South Wales State Championship will now be held at Pittwater prior to Christmas, on November 17 to 20, 2011, inclusive. Southport will run the Queensland State Championship on November 5 and 6, 2011.

It has been a long road, however the new mould is almost complete with the first boat due to see the light of day by the end of May. Ian Crisp from Melbourne has ordered the first hull and is keen to take delivery. Phil Smidmore and the team at Innovation Composites in Nowra have done a fantastic job getting the project to this stage and I must say, that at no point has the quality of what we have been compromised by the pressure of just getting it done. There is more on the new build elsewhere in this publication, so I will not steal any more thunder.

The 'Online Payment System' for membership is working extremely well and we have had great feedback on the ease with which a sailor can become a member or renew a membership. It is, however, still up to the local Fleet Executives to ensure the status of helmsmen and crews within their Fleet, with regard to membership. Fleet Executives are able to access their Fleet database by first registering their status with our Webmaster, Kylie Wilson, and from that point that status is recognised each time they log on through the 'Members Area' on the National website. The Fleet database is current, up to minute information and easily accessed by Fleet Captains and Execs. There are still sailors out there regularly sailing in Etchells Fleets who have not paid their dues, this is hardly fair to the majority, who do the right thing and support the Class.

An unfortunate event occurred at the recent Brisbane Fleet Championship on which I feel I must comment. An Etchells was in the process of being hauled out following the event, when its lifting strops failed and the boat crashed to the concrete and ended up on it's side. This is something that no Etchells owner wants to have happen or even witness. To see a beautiful boat lying on her side, with her back broken, certainly stirred some feelings in me, which I did not even know were there. The important thing is nobody was hurt. However, if the boat rolled the other way things would have been a lot different. This is a valuable lesson for us all, so as to make sure our personal lifting strops are in good condition and furthermore, tested. I for one admit to being complacent in this regard, however I intend to replace my aging lifting gear, just in case. That brings me to trailers ............ maybe another time.

Enjoy the rest of the season.


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