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Cronulla: Look out for dolphins!

17 December 2012 Jon Harris

Your bum may not look big in them, but there are a lot of transoms here, which is great

"Your bum may not look big in them, but there are a lot of transoms here, which is great"

Sailing on the ocean swells off the Cronulla beaches is champagne sailing at its best. Traffic free, with nothing but the occasional dolphin to look out for, we feel a little spoilt.

As the Etchells NSW States are going to be hosted by Cronulla Sailing Club from March 1 to 3, we will be able to share this sensation aspect with all our fellow competitors. So this is a big invitation to boats around the country to experience the best the East Coast has to offer. With a paucity of East Coast regattas this summer, we are hopeful of a big turn-up. Perfect weather has been ordered, along with classic Nor'easters and well shaped waves for exciting downwind surfing.

Since our last States in 2005, the Cronulla Sailing Clubhouse has gone through an amazing transformation. A complete rebuild adds a new upstairs level, with panoramic views across Gunnamatta Bay, and it is a great place to watch the sunsets. A new bar upstairs and a refurbished bar downstairs, mean you always have a bar close by. The old floating pontoons, known for delivering the occasional splinter to bare feet, have been replaced with new and larger floating docks and a dedicated lifting area for our boats.

The new clubhouse was built by members volunteering their time and materials, which was a wonderful show of members' support and resourcing. The Etchells hardstand area is maxed out, though we all say there's always room for one more. Plans have been submitted to council to substantially increase hardstand capacity, by the way.

Our fleet has grown to 13 this season, with two new boats, ICU owned by Ken Marslew moving on from a TS16, and Do Our Bums Look Big In This, which are our first all female crew. The latter is skippered by Christine Short, who has downsized from a TP52.

Every skipper at Cronulla remembers sailing Etchells for the first time and in particular trying to understand the complexities of tuning, and there's been no shortage of advice to get these newbies up to speed quickly, although it is probably a case of the blind leading the blind. Its great to see an all female crew mixing it with the fellers, and I wonder how many others all-girl crews are sailing Etchells across Australia?

We race two series during the season, pre-Christmas and post Christmas. These comprise mainly of two sprints each Saturday. The pre-Christmas series has produced some glorious sailing days with Steve O'Rourke's, Panther, and Paul and John Minter's, Crews Control, fighting it out for top spot. Everyone else is nipping at their heals. Mackay Marine (Dave Mackay), TISM (Gavin Condon) and Fatal Attraction (Rob Mann) all have new gear this season and we are expecting more upgrades before the State titles. Accordingly, we expect the post-Christmas series to really hot up.

Hope to see you all in March.

Certainly does look like great conditions for being in an Etchells

"Certainly does look like great conditions for being in an Etchells"


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