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President's Report

25 June 2015 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

I'm just back in the country after sailing in Greece and feeling very refreshed! The only downside was that I missed what turned out to be a fantastic Mid-Winter regatta, but with the excellent coverage and media output, I could get a pretty good feel of what was happening from the other side of the planet.

Today's sailing audience is being treated to better and better levels of coverage and we are working consistently to keep the Etchells in Australia at the front edge of that requirement and on quite a limited budget. As online standards rise, we will rise with them!

The nice thing that has come with this medium is that it can be so effective and reach so far. What would be great is if all our members were part of this push and conscientiously shared and spread the word wherever and whenever they can. Whilst a team of professionals is par for the course at major events, it is the reach that can be improved by everyone if we simply share and spread the word across all the different media (FB, Twitter, Instagram etc).

The renaissance has begun with a really solid group of 44 boats competing in Mooloolaba for the title, and it was great to see the Yandoo XX team get up and take the crown. I'm not really surprised, as they have been very strong lately and especially so when it gets tricky.

My lack of surprise comes from me seeing them go out one Tuesday morning at about 8am on Sydney Harbour to train on their own. That's the sort of dedication that makes boats go faster and become tactically consistent. I remember thinking then that they were working hard on finding a little bit extra and sure enough they got up and won Mooloolaba. Well done.

With the season fast approaching it is time to make some plans and we are working to try and avoid any crossovers, so that we get maximum participation at events. This year's Nationals in Melbourne is shaping up to be something very special, so mark your calendars and organise the team. It will definitely be the one not to miss and there will be time to get the boats back from Hong Kong.

In my last report I touched on a few items about measurement etc. These matters are progressing and will be a topic of discussion at the IGC meeting in Hong Kong this November. We are all working toward the maintenance and improvement of the Class and the IGC is the group that is empowered to act on issues that the Class membership and subcommittees wish to pursue.

Whilst it may appear cumbersome and slow, it is this process of consideration that has kept the Class so relevant and the process has successfully maintained the Class to the point where 30-year-old boats are still pacing it with brand new boats. That just doesn't exist in other fleets.

For those of you that are new to Etchells, it is probably worth giving you a little run down on the way things work in the Class, as there is always discussion about change and the future.

As mentioned, a committee called the IGC governs the Class and this group of elected members make and investigate recommendations regarding the running of the Class, along with any changes to the Etchells Class Rules. These changes or new initiatives are voted on by the membership. Until the vote takes place, no changes are made. Some inconsequential matters are dealt with 'in house', but anything affecting the rules requires a vote from the membership. This group also advises on how rules should be applied and interpreted and generally keep the ship afloat on a wide range of matters.

The IGC recently approved some minor reshaping and modification to the Australian Mould, and this will be done in the near future. This project was initiated to bring the three working moulds 'closer together', and is also a step in the right direction. It must be understood that these boats are hand made and have working tolerances that reflect the manufacturing process. The racing fleet all over the world has come from several moulds over the years, and they all have minor and unavoidable differences. All the boats fit within the manufacturing tolerances when new and they are all Etchells if not altered. If we are to further refine this situation, then we need to work on bringing the boats even closer together than the tolerances allow. Once achieved, then uniformity can be improved and maintained across the whole fleet.

The new Australian boat has more than proved itself on the track and will go on doing so as more and more as owners move into these beautifully finished boats. If you are thinking of upgrading to a new boat please contact Phil Smidmore, as we are very keen to keep new boats coming into the fleet.

As always, I wish to thank all those hard working individuals that put in so much time and effort into the administration, as well as at regattas and in the clubs. Without you all none of this would be possible.

See you on the water,
Jake Gunther

President International Etchells Class of Australia


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