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President's Report

9 February 2016 Jake Gunther

Australian President, Jake Gunther

"Australian President, Jake Gunther"

Whist Melbourne was typically unpredictable, it did provide the backdrop for the most important one design regatta of the season. 48 highly competitive teams fronted up to race for our national crown and all those that attended witnessed a brilliant display both on and off the water.

The fleet is blessed to have such a strong association with The Wilson family, and as usual they provided racetracks and fleet management par-excellence. On two occasions we had 40 knots threaten the fleet, but on both, just as the last boat was safely tied up, the wind hit and we all just nodded in appreciation. It was uncanny how accurately they managed the racing.

My congratulations go to GT, Richie and James. Excellent work.

The Fleet moved on to the Goblets where Martin Hill put his name firmly on the trophy. Next up is the NSW States up at Lake Macquarie. As they say, ‘you gotta be in it to win it’, so get your team organised and lets make this a fantastic event. In relation to those travelling, if you have a trailer or need to loan/hire one, use our Facebook page to place your offer or request and let all the responses flow in.

I have been touting this year as the year that Etchells have a renaissance and that is exactly what is going on: - bigger and bigger numbers at the events, better and better race management, along with more and more publicity to get the word out that Etchells are the strongest force in one design Keelboat racing in Australia.

During the Melbourne Nationals we held a well-attended forum for any interested members to ask whatever they whished to of the administration. It was a great thing to do and attracted a lot of serious members that posed some great questions. One of the more pertinent points that we spent a fair bit of time discussing was the work of the ODTC, and the new templates that are being used to bring greater uniformity to the Class. For those that didn’t attend, the facts are as follows:

  • We have developed, approved and intend to rely on one new template and a tool used to measure the half radius point in the keel garboard and the leading edge radius from an athwart ships perspective where the keel meets the hull.
  • We will be producing templates for each builder and this will curtail any increase or decrease in the entry radius at the top of the keel.
  • We used these tools in Hong Kong and in most cases keels were all ok, in some cases minor changes were needed to create uniformity.
  • In one case, as the keel had been altered, a fairly significant job was performed on the keel to get it to comply with all the templates.

In addition to these points it is worth checking out these additional items from the forum:

I personally think all the good work that has been done is fantastic. It has stopped dead in its tracks any alterations and the never-ending desire to create a longer and longer keel root. Gone are the braggers who claimed to have knowledge of alterations and improvements. We now have factual hard data that is accurate to 1/10th of a millimetre.

The funny thing about all this is those that claimed to have all this knowledge never once produced any useable or reliable data to support their suspicions and accusations. Now we have data and it is very quantifiable in regard to what has been done to alter boats throughout their lives.

Please, no more accusation and bar talk, just facts. Let’s get on with sailing the boats. As a result of all of this recent effort, we very much have a handle on it all and so, please feel confident that the class is in a very good place right now!

In regard to local production, Phil will spend February on the mould and we will be back in full production in March. It has been a long time coming, but a very necessary part of a process that will keep the class strong for many years to come.

Some of you may have heard about the fire in the UK. Many Etchells were lost and some Australian boats too. A very sad day, but under the guidance and resolve of David Franks, the UK Fleet and David Heritage, it seems that the show will go on without missing a beat.

When we sat in that Governors meeting a few years ago and decided to grant the Worlds to Cowes, I knew that it would get the fleet going again and with this setback it has re-affirmed my thoughts ten fold. They should all get Knighthoods!!

Our hearts go out to those that have lost boats, but in particular David Heritage who has been hit the hardest in all this. David is friend, a great sailor and a very hard working boat builder that has done an enormous amount for the Etchells class. We all wish him and his family the very best.

A new initiative from the Australian Administration this year will see the addition of a promotional levy on regattas to try to offset the serious cost of getting the events out to the media in an effective way. We have seen growth in the class that has come from good solid promotion and we don’t intend to stop this program. We just need to put a system in place so that we can continue to fund and manage it. Details can be found on in the Members Area, Association Info page.

I personally wish you all a great season and once again would like to thank all those that have contributed so much to our great one design class.

See you on the water,

Jake Gunther


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