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The sum of all parts

3 April 2013 Phil Smidmore

AUS1402, Australian Championship winner

"AUS1402, Australian Championship winner"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Michael Manford's Australian Championship win in one of our new mould boats has certainly given me plenty of faith in the new product. In testing conditions, the boat (and crew) performed superbly. Michael's faith in the product allowed the crew to concentrate on the racing, without worrying about the boat.

The NSW State Championship was also held in very testing conditions and it was great to see the Pacesetter/Smidmore boat and mast combination coming through on top again.

I have just completed and shipped off a new Etchells to Italy for ex-pat, Jan Muysken, to sail in the upcoming Worlds. He'll be carrying the sail number UAE1400, and whilst a number of other classes have come and gone in the 40-plus years that Etchells have been around, that 1400 number is a remarkable testament to the Etchells Class.

The season immediately after a home World Championship is usually a bit quiet for us and that indeed was the case until January when business really picked up. We have had good business these past couple of months selling some masts, quite a few sets of new rigging, a number of halyards and sheets, as well as a new floor and console for a re-build in Brisbane. One spinnaker sheet we replaced was over 15 years old - pretty good lifespan and I think there are plenty out there older still.

With some new Class Rules now in operation, I am looking forward to seeing what ideas come forward, particularly for the mast ram set-ups now permissible and how they may be anchored. The anchoring of such levers or purchases has had me concerned since they were first spoken about. Class Rules are strict on laminates and whilst they do allow for some local reinforcing around fittings, these systems will need some considerable anchoring and I'm sure the measurer will soon be called upon to rule on the extent of such reinforcing.

They will also need some good strong blocks etc to withstand the loadings involved in a 1.6 tonne 60% ballast ratio keelboat. Remember that the existing chocks and puller systems are still legal, but the rule change does give more options for adjusting and holding the mast at the deck level. Please check with your measurer prior to installing any new device that requires anchor point strengthening.

I again displayed an Etchells at the RPAYC's Sail Expo and it attracted plenty of attention, but I believe the best way to promote Etchells comes from the current owners, especially those who by sailing each weekend and thereby continue to showcase the Etchells as the World's premier one design keelboat.

Good sailing.


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