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President's Report

27 July 2014 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

For those lucky enough to have been at the Newport Worlds, all I can say is well done and keep the pressure on! Congratulations to Bill Hardesty and crew of Stephanie Roble, Taylor Canfield and Marcus Eagan; our new World Champions. They sailed a very consistent series and even when they were deep, they found a way back to a keeper.

They were not extraordinarily fast, just never slow, and always smart. Nice Job. Having won three times now, Bill is deservedly earning his title as a 'legend' in the Class. The organising team did a fabulous job and it really was something special to be in Newport. The New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court was extraordinary and offered every conceivable hospitality to all the competitors, their families and friends. I was also very lucky to be able to visit the 44th street clubhouse in New York City. It was truly a very memorable experience.

It was a very tough event, with a lot of teams finding the sheer number of competitors very challenging. What was obvious, was that the teams that are able to do the big events in the US had an advantage and this is one of the reasons why we need to keep our local regatta attendances as high as possible. If you're a club sailor and are a bit fazed by heading of to a State, National or World championship, don't be! There is a race to be had at every level and the things that you learn at these events will improve your sailing out of sight.

We have a full and exciting program this coming season. It all kicks off with the Queensland States at RQYS from October 4 to 6. Things are going to get pretty hot up there, as the Brisbane Fleet have just been awarded the 2018 World Championships, so many will take this opportunity to sail on that fabulous race track. With the on-site hotel it makes the whole thing very easy. Congratulations are also in order for the bid team that travelled to Newport to secure the event. The two Davids did a great job and then did an even better job celebrating the victory, whilst enjoying the spectacle of the Worlds in one of the world's most iconic sailing locations.

We were very fortunate to have two sensational bids to decide from with the West Australians putting together a predictably very polished presentation. It was a tough decision, as both Fleets have an enormous pool of talent to draw on and both are more than capable of turning on an excellent event.

The National Championships in Adelaide will be a fantastic event on what is definitely one of the best racing waters in the world. It generally offers medium to fresh conditions in the sparkling blue waters off the beaches just south of the city. Sea breezes and great waves make this one of my favourite places to race Etchells. Book your accommodation and start generating those brownie points, you're going to need them.

Mooloolaba finally found a dual winner after all these years, 17 to be precise, so big congratulations to the Gen XY team. Looking over the results it was a great effort, with lots of very strong competitors and some challenging conditions. I'm sure with the granting of the Worlds to Brisbane, those boys will do everything they can to maintain their momentum.

A special thanks goes out to all the tireless work done by regatta organisers. We are well aware that the administration team has been putting pressure on these events. In an effort to maintain and improve we may have stepped on a few toes last season, but essentially we are all working for the same thing here and trying to help as much as we can.

The big change has been the emphasis on publicity, which is not cheap, but always needs to be factored into budgets etc. It is a new cost, but it is also an essential one. It is one thing to maintain or build existing fleet numbers, but to try to drag a fleet back from the position of most other one-design fleets is an almost impossible task. Our membership base is constantly under attack from all sorts of boats that are essentially dreaming of achieving what we have.

Etchells are the premier one-design fleet in Australia and with the right management we will remain so. Whilst on the subject, voting is coming up early next year, so please make sure you get your votes in when the time comes. We currently have a strong presence internationally and it is essential that we maintain this position. The IGC works hard to keep things rolling and a fair spread of input is very productive. They are a great team, with a lot of very talented and intelligent people involved. There is also a very strong international empathy running through the IGC at the moment and it is proving to be a great environment for progression and productivity. My sincere thanks go to Gary Gilbert, our International President for leading that team and to all the other committees and individuals throughout the world and Australia, who all work tirelessly to keep this sizable ship on track.

So with that said, get your winter maintenance done, organise your team and get planning. There is plenty of great sailboat racing on the horizon!!

See you all on the water


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