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President's Report

22 March 2012 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

Wow what a season that was!

We had Worlds, Nationals and a heap of other fantastic regattas in-between. It was a memorable one - that's for sure. Huge congratulations to those who won the events, but even bigger congratulations to those who took part in what was one of the most intense build-ups that I have witnessed in twenty years of Etchells sailing. Sure there are some broken hearts and sure, some teams didn't perform as well as expected, but we all had an amazing season of really serious one design racing. And that's what we are here for! The Etchells class once again proved that if you want the real deal, then no other fleet is even close to providing the level we offer.

My sincere thanks go out to all those who provided their enormous effort and contribution that went into the running and coordinating of this year's regattas. In particular, the World's team need to be congratulated on what can only be described as a superb job. As I said in my short and succinct speech at the prize giving, there were doubters, but they were all proved undeniably wrong, as the event ran like clockwork and the racing was second to none. I must say, the tow was always a nice part of the day, as either it offered a moment to reflect or a moment to be amazed and entertained by incredible goings on within the Harbour.

I'm going to take this opportunity to cover a point that seems to come up, time and time again in the Etchells and one that I am forever being cornered on - the cost of events to competitors.

I want to start by saying that times have changed. For example, many years ago Yacht Clubs hardly even paid council rates, let alone professional office, yard and on-water staff. Now days, it would be education for all if some took the time to have a look at the club balance sheet and realize that they are not very profitable organisations and there are enormous expenses involved in the maintenance of clubhouses, yards and boats.

On top of those costs, regatta sailors are full of very high expectations, which include hats, tees, free beer, free food, presentation nights, trophies, the best on water management, safety boats, tow boats, International Juries, insurances, up to date, online data... the list simply goes on and on and on...

The simple maths makes it even clearer. The 2009 Melbourne Worlds cost nearly quarter of a million dollars to run, no money was wasted and all was spent with a lot of consideration. The World's in Perth were more and Sydney's were slightly less. The competitor's entry fees accounted for half of the cost in Melbourne's case. The rest was contributed by other sources, after an enormous effort by volunteer's to secure cash sponsorship. So the fact is, typically in the case of a World's, half of the event is paid for with entry fees, the other half is a gift to the competitors from the Organising Committee.

If you don't believe me, get involved sometime and I am sure it will all become clear. Oh. By the way, next time you go to an event, don't forget to thank the organisers.

The next big event is Mooloolaba, which has been enjoying some very visible promotion. It is great for the class and as a result, I'm sure it will be very well attended. As usual, there will be some brilliant racing and hey, a Queensland holiday in the middle of a Melbourne winter... I plan on going and will definitely be taking a relaxed attitude with me.

See you on the water
Jake Gunther


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