Back to news

10 out of 10

9 February 2016 Michael Coxon

Magpie leading the Hong Kong pack

"Magpie leading the Hong Kong pack"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

This season has offered the Australian Etchells sailors great regatta competition, both locally and overseas, with even more to come. Following the recent World Championship in Hong Kong and then Australian Championships in Melbourne, I have had a debriefed with Graeme ‘GT’ Taylor who sailed, Magpie, to impressive Third and First places, respectively.

I also spoke with some of his fellow crewmembers, including Grant Simmer (Worlds) and Richie Allanson (Australians), who shared with me their lessons learned and secrets to adapting to the varying regatta conditions for the necessary speed to finish on the podium.

In Hong Kong, 100% North Sails equipped Etchells finished 10 out of the top 10. In Melbourne our success continued with North’s winning the regatta and filling seven out of the top 10. This level of consistency demonstrates the versatility of our sails in a very varied range of conditions. GT used the same sails in both regattas.

In Hong Kong the boys reported wind ranges from 8 through to 18 knots TWS, with the race track proving a challenge due to offshore type conditions that included big swells and lumpy seas.

In contrast, Melbourne was sailed out of RBYC and offered an inshore track sailed in 6 to 25 knots TWS. This included Northerlies and Easterlies with dead flat water, to the traditional Sou’wester and the renowned Port Phillip chop.

At the Worlds, the large swells presented softer pressure in the wave troughs compared with the wave tops, which proved a challenge to both the helmsperson and trimmers alike. The natural approach was to encourage twist in these conditions, however the Magpie crew found that they were left short of power in the troughs with the soft twisted set up.

They changed to a firm mainsail trim, which put more pressure on accurate helming, however proved to provide the best upwind VMG, thereby allowing Magpie to hold their lane and stay in phase with the shifts.

In Melbourne, GT had a new, yet very experienced crew in Richie Allanson (who sailed the Worlds with Noel Drennan) and James Mayo. Having shared their Hong Kong trim experiences, GT and Richie were definitely on the same page, despite the different conditions and successfully trialled the firmer main trim at the Australian Championship.

Richie, who often sails on my Etchells reported their trim averaged firmer on the main and softer on the jib than what we have been using. Accordingly, I tested this during the Milson Silver Goblets Regatta on Sydney Harbour last week, collecting bullets in two of the races.

As the Victorian and NSW Championships are around the corner, please give me a call if you would like to discuss in more detail…

Happy sailing,


Michael Coxon

North Sails Australia

Northern Havoc lined up for a nice finish at the Goblets

"Northern Havoc lined up for a nice finish at the Goblets"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


Have you received the newsletter via email?

The eNews is sent to all Association members. If you've missed out on it, send your current email address to Kylie Wilson, the webmaster.

Publication Schedule - Submit a Story

Would you like to submit a story, or know when to expect your next eNewsletter?

Submission Due Dates:
1 July 2018
1 October 2018
1 December 2018
1 February 2019

Stories & questions to John Curnow.