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President's Report

13 November 2015 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

All locked and loaded. Ready to roll and the summer is kicking off with bang. Queensland states are the first regatta in what will be a bumper season. We continue to see increased participation rates across the country, and I'm pretty sure that will give us some solid numbers at all our events through the season. Saturday October 3rd saw a quality fleet race from the beautiful Southport Yacht Club for the Queensland State title.

The Hong Kong Worlds are looming up very quickly and Australia will be well represented with 14 teams sailing in the 45-boat fleet. There are some great teams going, so with a bit of luck we may have another World title coming home to Australia! I have sent my boat over and look forward to lining up against so many excellent Etchells sailors.

The camaraderie at these events is unique, which is just one thing that makes them such a special experience. It is very encouraging to see some teams making their first overseas foray. These events are very doable and not as daunting as they first seem. If there are any of you that would like to race overseas, but are unsure, just ask, there are many in the fleets that have plenty of experience that they all are happy to share.

The West Australians have the Syd Corser in mid-November, which is always a pivotal event on their calendar. It was a great honour for me to meet Mr Syd Corser AM OBE after a speech I made at the Perth Worlds. It was nice to put a face to a man that is well known for his achievements, his compassion, and his wisdom.

On a very sad note, last Thursday saw the passing of one of the most loved figures inside the Etchells family. Wayne Dixon lost his long battle with cancer with his three girls by his side – his wife Cassie and daughters, Connie and Haley.

Wayne was a tireless contributor to the Class and loved by all. He was a wonderful individual that saw the good in everyone. As a sailor, he won the Sydney Hobart race with Lou Abrahams aboard Challenge II and was also a 50-year member of Royal Brighton YC. He was a great competitor in the Etchells class and has had many, many successes over the 30 or so years sailing our Class. I always saw him as a great sailor with a terrific wind sense and a very fine man.

Many, many people will sadly miss him. Eight bells, my friend.

The preparations for the 2016 Nationals in Melbourne have been extensive, as we expect to see a very big turnout. I seem to be fielding calls on a daily basis from those that are planning to come and need a few tips, well here’s the goss…

60 boats! 62 in 2008, so it is very doable also.

Port Philip! One of the best tracks in the world… a bay big enough to run 50 events at once!

The Wilson Brothers! The best Race Officers on the planet!!

Royal Brighton Yacht Club! Three cranes, all-wind protection for a floating marina, café, beautiful bar and terrific facilities.

Melbourne! One of the most cultured cities in the world. Food, art, music, sport and a million other experiences. Bring the family. Bring your partner. They will love you more for it!

And that’s just the first half.

Our sport may not be the number one for spectators or the TV, but we are not spectators, we are competitors. Fact is sailing is not about spectators, the joy is in participating in the game, not watching it on the couch.

Plan ahead, get your team on song and get out on the water. And, if you want to take it to the next level, pack up the boat and hit the road. There are so many really high quality events that a team of very driven individuals work tirelessly to put on. Take advantage of what we have, you wont regret it.

See you on the water,

Jake Gunther

President International Etchells Class of Australia,




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