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Swan River: Cheers and thanks, mate

22 October 2014 John Curnow

Paul happy preparing WA States presentations

"Paul happy preparing WA States presentations"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Paul Reiffer stated, "A few weeks ago, I advised the Swan River Etchells Fleet that I was relinquishing the role of Swan River Etchells fleet Captain. I have enjoyed my friendship and association with many of you for a number of years at our annual AGM's and then at the accompanying dinner afterwards, as well as at Etchells events."

"Since my first Etchells AGM, when it was stated that the Swan River fleet was a bunch of cowboys, I have endeavoured to ensure that the operations of the Swan River Fleet and its activities met the requirements of IECA. In doing this, I have very much appreciated the advice and help of Jake Gunther, David Healey, Ian Kingsford Smith and David Ritchard."

"I must make a special mention of the contribution of Kylie Wilson in support of the Swan River fleet with the development of our new website, publicity for our events, notably States and the 2013 Australian Etchells Championship and as photographer, mark rounding recorder and as a valuable source of advice on a range of issues. Kylie, thank you."

"I will not be deserting the Swan River fleet, as I will be out on the water on the start boat next Saturday for the first of the Metropolitan Series and other events in the future. Several of the fleet are chasing crews (how unusual), so that is also a possibility. However, since the flares self ignited last summer on, Iceberg AUS 737, scorching the deck and my five best sails, I had been thinking that it was time. I advertised Iceberg for free on Gumtree Thursday a week ago and the ad had 1200 hits in two days!!! Colin Jorgensen took possession last Saturday. Colin hopes to restore the yacht with the help of his sons, so hopefully it will be back on active sailing duty in the near future. Colin towed the yacht to FSC behind his Thomascraft 53, and in exiting the moles at the mouth of the Swan River and traversing the waters to the FSC, I reckon he set a new water speed record for an Etchells", Reiffer went on to add.

"In the meantime, Bruce Maloney has been elected Swan River Fleet Captain and Brad Sheridan will resume the Measurement duties. Thank you to you all and I wish the Etchells Fleets throughout Australia every success in the forthcoming season and that the class will continue to grow."

So if the boat got 1200 hits on Gumtree, it should not be of any surprise that the compliments of the man and his service were just as quick and far more profuse. First to respond was Jake Gunther, who said, "Thank you for your letter and all your generous contributions over the past years. It has always been a pleasure working with you, and yes, you certainly have kept up the standard."

"It is sad that that unfortunate incident with the flares has been the catalyst for your moving on, but somehow between the words it sounds as though you will be maintaining an interest in the Etchells Fleet."

"Your gesture of passing the boat on to Colin is a wonderful thing to have done and I am sure that in doing so, you have prompted and encouraged a new member to the fleet. A very thoughtful move."

Gunther finished by saying, "We all wish you the very best Paul and hope that if we can be of assistance in any way to you that you will not hesitate to call. Sincerely, all the very best."

David Healey stated, "I can only reiterate Jakes' words. Thanks for all you have done for the Swan River Fleet. It has been great working with you." The truly delightful Ian Kingsford Smith said of Paul, "As a past Governor of the IECA, I would like to thank you for your contribution over the years as the Swan River Fleet Captain. I would also like to thank you for your letter and the comments you made."

"I wish you all the best in the future and I hope you enjoy whatever role you choose in race management. I can assure you there is life after competitive sailing. After a lifetime as a competitor, I am enjoying my role as a race official and putting something back into the sport I have been involved in for so many years."

Paul was certainly very chuffed with all of his comments and it seems he'll be around sailing a bit with his 'old Thursday afternoon crew'. They choose their weapon based on the wind strength, which seems very sensible indeed. He'll also continue to refurbish Reefknot, an S20. Other duties will be mark laying and race management, along with being the custodian of the immense and interesting history - in his own words, "...recording that Laurie Connell won the first race brought back memories of more 'exciting' times in the West."

Having never personally met Paul, I can now say that I do look forward to it, for you get the impression that he is one you describe as a true Gentleman. His final statement to Jake is a fair mark of the man. "Thank you for your kind words. I have appreciated working with a true professional and wish you all the best for the future. If I can be of any assistance to Etchells Australia, do not hesitate to let me know, as I have enjoyed the involvement."

So it certainly seems fitting then that the last word goes to one Paul singled out for deserved praise; our very own Kylie Wilson. "It's been an absolute pleasure working with you on all things Etchells. You will be deeply missed as part of the team. Thank you for your kind words. I very much appreciate the mention. Happy sailing! And I'll look forward to reading your history reports!

Yes, he does *all* the jobs! And happy to do it.

"Yes, he does *all* the jobs! And happy to do it."

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


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