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President's Report

15 December 2013 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

Well it was always going to be interesting to see who would turn up for the 2013/14 Etchells National Championships. Whilst numbers were down, the regatta was a star-studded event, as the cream of the National fleet turned up to fight it out for the title. It was truly an amazing regatta, with the fleet moving around the course in a very tight bunch, basically one mistake and you were out!!!

The speed of the boats was astonishingly close, which was really great to see. Basically every different type of Etchells available throughout the world was in attendance and they all shared the chocolates. This was a fantastic endorsement of the'one design' integrity of the class. There is no doubt that the results at the end of the event reflected the true sailboat racing skill levels of the crews competing. My congratulations go to the winning teams and to all who attended, it was truly a wonderful regatta.

We chose Southport for the location, but had to move the event to November to accommodate the neap tides and the weather. The Gold Coast fleet, with the help of the Southport Yacht club did a superb job with the event and together they have really put this regatta site on the map. My sincere thanks go to all those that worked very hard to put this event together. Having personally run many events, I know how much work goes into a national title and they all excelled. We should all be excited by the idea of having more events on the Gold Coast.

As an incentive, the National body provided a travel assistance program to those travelling to the Nationals, and I am pleased to say we had a great response to this idea. The Melbourne fleet also contributed to their travelling fleet members. This may be a good thing for all fleets to do, if they are in a good cash position. Participation in interstate events should be encouraged, as it showcases the fleet so well. The events get great press and the events become the talking point of most sailors conversations, so naturally potential members migrate towards our Etchells.... and then of course we all win. Sounds good to me!

So what's next?? The South Australian and the Brisbane fleets have just concluded their State titles, but there is still plenty of action ahead. Check out the website for the full calendar and event details.

The Sydney fleet have been working hard to encourage'out-of-towners' to come to Sydney in late January for the Milson Silver Goblets regatta. I'm working on making it for this one, as it is truly a classic Etchells event and the Sydney fleet always turn on a great event. Next is the NSW States Championship on Brisbane Waters in Gosford. The racetrack is challenging and will provide for some very exciting racing, so start planning and lets get some serious numbers on the course. I have done several regattas at Gosford and they have always been well-run and very much worth the trip.

Metung is deep in preparation for the Vic States, which will follow in March. The Gippsland Lakes are a beautiful group of lakes about three hours from Melbourne and the same closer to Sydney. They are a favourite holiday location and have tons of good accommodation to choose from and some fine eateries too. The last State Championship that was run there was sensational and I am looking forward to making the trip again.

For those wanting to experience the West, the WA State Championships are the weekend after the Vics. Paul assures me it will be 12 to 15 knots and 28 degrees every day. I'm pretty sure if your keen to go West, then there will be some boats available to charter or loan. It is a very special part of the country and those Westies sure know how to sail Etchells!

So there it is. Your sailing season planned and all you have to do is organise your skippers and crews, maybe a few brownie points and off you go.

The Nationals have set the pace, set the level of competition and once again cemented our class as the only true one design keelboat racing with any serious level of participation in Australia. Yes, sure, there are other'one hit wonder' designs, but if you are looking for the real competition, not just one or two mug hunters and some also-rans, then the Etchells continue to be the only real option. Check out the Sydney Hobart on Boxing Day, if it's not won by a bunch of Etchells sailors playing on big boats, I will be very surprised!

We are the competition. Etchells are the tough school that provides the level of racing that the best sailors in the country need, if they want to go on excelling at the sport at any level. Etchells are also the only real training ground for anyone that aspires to excel in one design keelboat racing, which I'm sure we all do. So please enjoy the season and hopefully I will see you at the majors!

Running and administering this class is a huge job and my sincere thanks go out to all the National Executive and all the Fleet Captains, Secretaries and Treasurers that all donate their time tirelessly to keep this amazing ship sailing. It takes a lot of dedication and tenacity from a lot of very good people and I thank you all. That thanks definitely extends to all our fleets and friends worldwide.

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


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