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The Land Rat does China – Etchells on tour…

9 February 2016 John Warlow

Team Landrat up the front at the Nationals

"Team Landrat up the front at the Nationals"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Three weeks on campaign in Hong Kong are now behind us. I will miss our luxurious, no expense spared accommodation in Wanchai. And no we didn’t see any bar girls.

Apparently you can’t trust the website photos when choosing a luxury suite, and I swear I did book the most expensive accommodation I could find ?. As Team Leader, it was agreed I was able to have a whole wardrobe to myself, whereas Mick Patrick and Will Thompson would share their wardrobe together. Sorry, wardrobe in Chinese means ‘best special’ luxury suite. Oh well, at least we didn’t have a room party every night.

Our world odyssey was well supported with our team mates, Gen XY, joining the tour, as well as Barry Deeks and Arthur Gough, the world’s most dedicated Etchells volunteers, and tour Life Coach and Brisbane Fleet Captain, Noel Patterson, coming along for moral support.

RQ also contributed to our planning for the Brisbane 2018 Etchells Worlds by sending our Marine Operations Manager, Richard Matterson, over to have a look at the regatta management and the support offered by the host club, Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. Richard was actually seconded to the Jury at short notice, due to a jury member not being able to attend, so could not have got closer to proceedings. Well done Richard.

The regatta seemed to be spread all over China, the regatta admin, measuring and official functions were run out of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club at Kowloon (central Hong Kong). The sailing area at Clearwater Bay was an hour’s boat tow away (at a cost of $200hkd each way), an hour’s bus ride (free), or a forty minute taxi ride ($200hkd).

Our typical day was leave hotel at 6am, walk 25 minutes to the yacht club, have an hour bus ride to the boats, have a really bad breakfast at Clearwater Bay (Tongue Roll with lots and lots of tomato sauce was the most edible item on the hot menu), leave the dock at 9.30, sail ‘til 4.00, wait two hours for the bus, have an hour bus ride back to the yacht club, arrive around 7.30pm, have dinner anywhere that looked good on the 25 minute walk back to the hotel (there were plenty of good options), then stop of at the Rum Bar, ‘til Will couldn’t talk very well, and in bed by 9pm. Then do it all again the next day…

It was actually more fun than it sounds, the bus trips home were a captive audience for the forty or so competitors and also the ten Cartons of Peroni beer provided by the regatta sponsors after each race.

The actual racing was very challenging, with the Nine Pins race track producing some very nasty refracted wave patterns in any weather. Our heaviest race was only 18kts, but the sea state was worse than a bad day at Mooloolaba. Thank goodness for the new electric pumps, it sucked if you didn’t have them (sorry, I had to slip that one in).

A weird tide sweep occasionally gave a huge advantage on one side of the race track, but never seemed to be there when we were, or for that matter for some of the locals that we were relying on to lead the way in strange waters. Apparently, “it is never like this here”, is valid in this part of the world, as well.

The Yanks were clear winners at the regatta with a solid one-two result. Aussies came in third with GT from Melbourne (with Grunter and Mothy on board) pulling together a great regatta on the last day. Fellow RQ team, Gen XY, could have held onto fourth on the last day, but unfortunately dropped back to a-still-great result of seventh. Team Land Rat had been improving through the series with some top tens, and going into the last day in 16th place, but notably the second Corinthian team (non professionals). We did however end up with a bad day and finished in 19th, which is still a great result in the scheme of things.

The entire tour has been a logistical mission for the teams that travelled. Both boats were shipped in September and at the time of writing in December still had not arrived back in Brisbane.

Did we have a good time and would we go again? Of course we would. It has been a great tour and plenty learned that would not have been possible if we had stayed home.

Where do go from here? On the road of course, Melbourne Nationals are only four weeks away in January, then NSW States in February - the fun just keeps coming.

John Warlow

Team Land Rat

AUS 1422

What a city! Team Landrat and Patto

"What a city! Team Landrat and Patto"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


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