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New, but very recognisable face in the top job...

6 October 2011 John Curnow

Jake and crew very much hard at work

"Jake and crew very much hard at work"

Photo by:
Alex McKinnon

Although he barely needs any introduction, we welcome Jake Gunther to the top job in Australia.

Jake is very much a cross the whole Etchells thing, seeing as he is the Treasurer for his home Melbourne Fleet, One Design Technical Committee Member, one of the Governors of International Association and now the President of the Australian Association.

It is very much a good time to sit down with the man and unfold a bit of all that history and knowledge, so that's just what occurred in Melbourne, recently. Jake has been involved with Etchells since 1992 and "...done a lot of events".

I love the boat, love the class and love what the class has given me back, too. I put in, that's what I like to do with things I'm involved in, but I really have got a lot back from Etchells. One of the main things would be my sailing self-esteem, which has mainly been derived from successes in the Etchells class."

As you can tell from the number of roles his has, just in the Etchells alone, Jake talks the talk, but more importantly, walks the walk. "For sure I have had aspirations for this job for a while and having been the Vice President for three years I got to work closely with Noel, which really was fantastic. One of the most exciting things about the Australian Association is that it has some wonderful people with great skills involved in running the class."

Of the Etchells themselves, Jake says, "I started off as an average sailor and some might say I'm still there, but certainly I have enjoyed what the boat has offered. There is fantastic racing at all levels, from the Club stuff on Saturdays to the Nationals or competing at World Championships overseas. It really has been a unique opportunity to hone my sailing skills over the last 20 years."

Jake's plans for the class are to ensure it continues to move forward and upward. "We'd definitely like to see the maintenance of this class as the premier One Design racing keelboat both here in Australia and other parts of the world. We are certainly moving forward in these somewhat gloomy and dark economic times. Three new boats have or are coming out from the builder since we built the new mould. There is good accessibility with well-presented boats for sale at reasonable prices. As a result, 30-somethings are coming in, even 20-somethings, both of which are really good for us. They revitalise and refresh the class in general and they are also seeing some good regatta results."

"Also, the keelboat guys continue to come in to the fray. 50 and 60 footers with fifteen plus crewmembers are just not as viable as two of their mates in an Etchells. This also happened in New Zealand a few years ago too, where the 50ft+ vessels became the cruisers and the Etchells were their choice of weapon for racing. This occurrence really is very good for the class, overall", commented Jake.

As he started to think about being on the water again himself, Jake pointed out, "We have a couple of good years coming up, especially next year with the Worlds being held in Sydney. This is really fantastic for us to have again and you see all the qualifiers that are going on presently. Here, in the middle of a Melbourne Winter's Wednesday night, we have half a dozen or so crews all two-boating, rabbit starting and doing all the things that make this journey a whole lot of fun. I look forward to seeing a lot of everybody as these next years go by."

Fighting all the way to the finish

"Fighting all the way to the finish"

Photo by:
Alex McKinnon


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