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President's Report

30 August 2013 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

It was an interesting year with a lot of miles covered for the travellers, some great club racing at home and also'round the traps. The inaugural, Continental World Championship provided some great sailing and interesting moments for all those that made the journey. As Australian President, it warmed my heart to see such a great representation of Australian teams. We totalled eleven crews and carried ourselves well in what were, for most of us, very different conditions than we are used to. Congratulations to Peter McNeill as the best place Aussie in a very credible fifth. At the IGC meeting, we were also very well represented, with five Governors on hand. The IGC AGM was very productive, with a lot of new initiatives being discussed.

Our home regattas were also well attended, with good numbers at the Nationals, Mooloolaba and many regional regattas. This happened despite the need to travel off to Western Australia and ten of the normal winter attendees going OS to the Worlds... Michael Manford, Dean McAullay and Nicholas Gray won the Etchells Australian National Championship in WA. They sailed their new Pacesetter boat to a solid win over a highly competitive fleet, sailing in every possible combination of boat configuration. This was a great moment for the Australian Executive and many others, but especially Phil Smidmore, after all of us have put so much work into the production of the new boat and the revision of our build process. It is now laid down in stone, by way of a Nationals win, that the Australian boat is a highly competitive Etchells and should be the first consideration of any serious crew looking towards a new boat.

We had new State Champions in South Australia with Ian Dixon and crew, with NSW being won by Doug McGain, Gary Adshead and Michael O'Brien. The Victorian title went to Graeme Taylor, Noel Drennan, Steve Jarvin and Ben Morrison-Jack, with the WA champs going to Pete Chappell, Mike Hughes and David Castles. Mooloolaba yet again provided a new winner, so big congrats to Mark Thornburrow, Klade Hauschildt, Malcolm Page, and Simon Cooke. It was great to have Malcolm Page along at the event, as this really shows where the respect level sits in regards to Etchells. It seems that as soon as you win an Olympic Gold Medal or two for Australia, you then jump into an Etchells!! Well done to all, I can tell you these regattas are all hard fought and are never easy to win.

This season, your Australian Association has been busy with a lot of promotional ideas. I really hope that you all felt that the new coverage of some of the major regattas was up to today's expectations. We are working hard on improving our social media coverage and consequently now have a very active and exciting social media program. We are wanting to project our major events into the limelight, but please, if you are a social media user, don't hesitate to post anything relevant on the sites yourselves. The website has had a major freshen up, which has made it more accessible and easier to use. We have a major emphasis on news and events now, so check it out, as it's a great reference point.

Facebook has proven to be a great tool for about 800 users, with posts reaching out to over 2000 and up to 50,000 sailors worldwide. We are all working on linking any relevant Etchells news sources so that they can be accessed by a wide variety of platforms. It is a big ask to compete with the multi-million dollar media programs that push the AC etc. into the limelight, but rest assured that when we have had Australian events running, the sailing world knows about it. This brings me to an important point. If you have some interesting news, submit it, if you have some results, get'em up online, and if you have something coming up, put it on the Facebook page. Basically, please contribute if you can. We all need to be involved in this media push. This job cannot be left to the Australian Executive to maintain. Lets face it, we, the Executive, are just not that interesting!!! It is up to you all to make this happen so that we can continue for another 40 years!!!!!

Sunday the 4th of August marked the day that we drew attention to the fortieth year of Etchells in Australia. David Ritchard has did an enormous amount of work in organising and preparing an event to celebrate this milestone in our history. For this, I sincerely thank him and all those involved. The concept of bringing together all our Australian World Champions for a regatta is a first, and it gives us a great opportunity to honour many that have done so much for the Class and an even better opportunity to embrace and discuss the future of the class in Australia and the World. The afternoon event will be followed by a dinner at the beautiful Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.

This brings me to the news that after a lifetime of service, our International Measurer, Mr Denis Heywood, has decided to pass on the baton. He has, with out doubt, been one of the greatest contributors to the class over many, many years. Denis has attended every World Championship since his appointment and has worked tirelessly on a multitude of issues that have come up along the way. On behalf of all Etchells sailors, we thank him for his enormous contribution and wish him all the very, very best.

There are some very interesting ODTC items that will be up for voting later in the year. The following list contains some of the current ideas being discussed. Please note that these are only discussion items at this point, and none reflect rule changes, so please don't rush out and change anything until they are voted on and approved.

  1. A change to the fraculator rule to allow it to be secured to a deck eye behind the jib tack.
  2. An increase in the sectional size of the boom.
  3. Allow the use of vinylester resin for the fitting of the rudder skeg and the rudderpost to reduce cracking, only in the original construction.
  4. Allow the use of electric bilge pumps with class limits on total weight of the battery, pump and fittings.
  5. Allow the use of hiking pants.
  6. A new rule to allow the use of specific'GoPro' style cameras.
  7. Finalise the rule regarding the requirement of mechanical fasteners to any inspection ports installed in any watertight area.

The Nationals in Southport this year will be a new venue for many, and we hope that many of you can find your way up to the Gold Coast for what will be a great event. The facilities there are first class and there are some very keen folk who are truly intent on putting on a brilliant regatta. Put it on your program and we will see you there in November. Hopefully I will see most of you at the Nats! Please don't forget to also consider the Queensland States in October, which is a pretty nice precursor to the Nats and the Brisbane fleet always put on a wonderful event!

In closing I would like to congratulate the Brisbane fleet on their enormous growth this year. Many factors contribute to this, but mainly it's because a good bunch of friendly sailors going out and racing at a really high level. They also work hard at encouraging others to join in. Hats of to you all, my fellow Etchellians. We need more of it.

Once again, a big thank you to all my great friends in our class administration, right across Australia. Their tireless contributions and support is an ongoing inspiration to both myself and all the others that get involved in the class. Without all of their efforts, we simply would not have fantastic class that we all love.

See you all on the water
Jake Gunther
President International Etchells Class of Australia,


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