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Brisbane: If it was a renaissance

1 March 2015 John Warlow

15+ with sunshine, gentle but enough breeze and small waves  perfect!

"15+ with sunshine, gentle but enough breeze and small waves perfect!"

Photo by:
John Curnow

The Brisbane Fleet is once again on a growth spurt. We thought the last two years were awesome, but since the announcement that the 2018 World Championship is to be hosted by us, things have just gone nuts.

Whilst driving to the Adelaide Nationals, I had calls from two new owners that without warning, just went off and bought boats from interstate. In addition, a third new owner didn't even bother to call, he just went out and bought one and had it delivered to the hardstand!!! Normally we have a secret meeting and vet any newbies, this wanton desire to join our ranks just has to be accepted - I guess they're only human...

A very hearty welcome goes out to:

  • Laurie Woods, a previous Etchellian and owner that has once again seen the light after many years in the wilderness sailing Lasers by himself.
  • Peter Conde, who decided Laser sailing at his age just looked plain silly.
  • Barry Cuneo, a genuine newbie with a long sailing history and most recently a Melges 32 Worlds campaign under his belt. We expect Barry to apply the same effort to the Etchells, and we have confirmed his motorboat is perfectly suitable for starting all future Brisbane regatta's!

Is that it?

Not at all! In addition to the guys who have most recently jumped the fence, there are at least that many again still showing interest and we are still three and a half years out from the Worlds. Where will it go from here? The Brisbane fleet, in partnership with our club Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, are planning expansion of the Etchells hardstand and the addition of a second crane, our private clubhouse may be shortly after. Dave Healey is also thinking of adding a steakhouse wing, as he is now having to cook up so much steak at our fleet championship BBQs.

How's our national standard going? Not bad if you look at Matt Chew's Team XY exploits over the last 12 months. They won the mid-winter nats for the second time and then went on to place third and second, respectively, in the recent Australian and NSW Championships. Also, John Warlow's team with their new boat, Land Rat, have been making their presence felt at the National level, courtesy of some race wins and podium placings. In addition to these efforts, the general fleet standard is continuing to rise, especially with the flood of new blood entering the fray.

Exactly how big is our fleet now? I can confirm that we have 20 financial registered boats based on our most recent figures. We actually have almost 30 boats currently within our club grounds, some of which are refugees from South of the border.

We have been approached about providing a series of linking regattas to provide our southern brothers with a mid-year regatta circuit. The major regattas are locked in, the fill-in regattas will rely on our fleet volunteers and support from RQYS, so we are actively working on a hardstand subsidy for competing boats. The circuit program will commence with our fleet Championships on 2nd and 3rd May to be held in Brisbane, three weeks before Mooloolaba Winter Nationals in June, then our season restarts in late August and then finally QLD State Titles to be held at Southport in October, after which our boats will leave for the Hong Kong Worlds, etc. We are looking at some likely dates for two-day regattas to be held in Brisbane between the Winters and the QLD State titles, so shall keep everyone posted.

On the administration side of things, a bloodless coup has seen myself step down as fleet captain, David Healey retire as fleet secretary and CFO. Noel Patterson has regained the reins as Fleet Captain, Marty Sinclair is new Fleet secretary (his only complaint is having to sit on Patto's lap while taking dictation Patto's old school, you see) and Mike Atkinson is our new treasurer.

Our Worlds steering committee, lead by David Irvine, is working hard in the background. Our chief goal is to provide an attractive regatta package that will attract suitable sponsors to help run the event and mitigate the costs.

All in all Brisbane fleet is still going strong and has a great bunch of members enjoying the yachting.

John Warlow
Morals and Media
Brisbane Etchells

The now world famous David and Sue Healey BBQ. Awesome

"The now world famous David and Sue Healey BBQ. Awesome"

Photo by:
John Curnow


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