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Champion returns to take the Queensland State title

8 December 2011 Noel Paterson

Good second place for Matthew Chew and co

"Good second place for Matthew Chew and co"

Photo by:
Tracey Johnstone

The 2011 Etchells Queensland State Championship was held over two days, October 29 and 30. Raced on the waters to the East of Green Island, it was a six-race format, with the one drop allowed.

The series attracted 13 yachts from four Fleets. This regatta also doubled as the major component of the Qualification Series for the 2012 World Championship in Sydney. The Fleet is allowed to send 23% of it's paid-up boats, which in the case of Brisbane Fleet, equates to five boats and six boats had entered the series.

The Brisbane Fleet has a dubious record when it comes to holding major events, as 'Hughie' has not always played ball, delivering some pretty ordinary sailing conditions in the past. Hughie was obviously trying to make amends for past wrongs, as he provided two glorious sunny days with winds ranging from 5-12 knots, NNW to NNE ...... how good is this? As such, the platform was set for great tactical racing with a significant and predominantly outgoing tide occurring, which kept all of the punters guessing.

This series saw the re-emergence of the nucleus of the 2009 World Championship winning crew. Matt Chew has recently purchased AUS 864, renamed it 'GEN XY' and is ready for a serious tilt at the 2012 Worlds. Defending State Champion, Vaughan Prentice in 'Funky Cold Medina', was having none of this and resolved to go about his business.

Race One was sailed in a 5-7 knot breeze, with an imminent change of tide being the overriding factor in the tactics. The tide did not in fact turn on the course until the second race, which had a few competitors second guessing. Prentice laid a solid platform for his series with a convincing win in this race, with David Healey in 'Rapscallion' second and Chew, third.

Race Two saw the emergence of David Rose, in 'This Will Make Her Scream', as a serious contender. It was a great win in the 5-7 knot breeze and Rosie had the youngest crew in the regatta, with his daughter Taylor-Jane as crew and Josh Torpy on the bow. Second was 'GEN XY' with 'Rapscallion' in third.

With a second podium finish in two races, Healey was looking good. A swab of Healey's crew was called for by the other competitors after racing, but was subsequently denied by officials.

Race Three saw the consistent, generally light Northerly breeze remain. Prentice firmed up his chances with his second win of the day. Chew was second and Craig Coulsen in 'Trumpcard' placed third. After three heats, it was Prentice on six points, Chew on seven and then Rosie on thirteen. The bar talk at the BBQ that night, reflected what a great day it was on the water, with some divine assistance from Hughie.

Sunday saw more of the same perfect conditions experienced on the previous day and that set the stage set for some great racing. Rosie came out of the blocks in Race Four and did not look like losing. With a slight speed advantage, 'TWMHS' was on fire and definitely throwing down the gauntlet. Prentice was second with Patto in 'Waterloo Bay', third. Waterloo Bay was the only boat in the Fleet with a pension card, by the way.

The breeze remained fairly consistent in strength and direction for heat five and Rosie once again exploited his speed advantage and slick crew work, to get the big win. Funky was second and Trevor Martin in 'Three Ring Circus' was third. Three bullets to Rosie; who could stop them now?

Prentice at this stage had not had a bad result and could afford a bad one, which he could drop. Rosie had to come no better than third for Prentice to successfully defend his title. Solution, to hold Rosie up at the start and drive him back into the fleet. Prentice held Rosie up on the non-starting side of the committee boat, while the fleet sailed away after the gun. Result; Rosie was seventh and Prentice ninth, so it was job done. Vaughanie, with crew of Darren Hutchison, Mark Bradford and Stacey Jackson had successfully defended their title. Mat Chew was in second and David Rose placed third.

The Brisbane Etchells Fleet would sincerely like to thank Race Officer, Louise Davis, her glamorous assistants and all of the volunteers associated with this regatta, for a great display of race management, all home grown and doing it the way it should be done.

The Brisbane Etchells Fleet is in growth mode with ten to twelve boats consistently on the water, so all of you closet Etchells owners, now is the time!

Noel Paterson
Brisbane Fleet Captain

Full Results

Returning Champion, Vaughan Prentice (AUS 1347), with Trevor Martin (AUS 852)

"Returning Champion, Vaughan Prentice (AUS 1347), with Trevor Martin (AUS 852)"

Photo by:
Tracey Johnstone


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