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President Noel Paterson's Annual Report to the AGM

2 August 2009 Noel Paterson

Australian President, Noel Paterson

"Australian President, Noel Paterson"

It has been a pleasure to be part of the Etchells fraternity for the past twelve months with many high profile regattas conducted by highly motivated host Fleets providing outstanding levels of race management both on and off the water. The bottom line is the Etchells class is about quality racing and this past season has provided just that. My congratulations to all host Fleets who have embraced the 'spirit' of Etchells to go that extra yard to provide good quality race management and the Etchells membership for providing the camaraderie to complete the equation.

My congratulations to John Bertrand and his crew of Ben Ainslie and Andrew Palfrey on their convincing win in the Australian Championship in Adelaide in January. The win was due to a polished performance by a very professional crew going about their business. The minor placings were filled by Alastair Gair and Mark Bulka. I cannot mention this championship without commenting on Wayne Knill and his team at RSAYS who ran a fantastic, friendly regatta.

The World Championship at Royal Brighton YC in March was a much anticipated regatta with a fleet of eighty-five boats enjoying the racing under challenging conditions. Congratulations to Jason Muir and his team of Matthew Chew, Paul Wyatt and Bucky Smith for taking home the 'holy grail'. Jason won the regatta with a limited build-up and a race to spare. Joining Jason on the podium was second placegetters Damien King and crew, and John Bertrand and crew who placed third. Running a World Championship is a mammoth task and I must take my hat off to Jake Gunther, Amanda Coates and all the volunteers at RBYC for conducting a superb regatta.

Over the last 12 months the National Executive has endeavoured to improve communication with the members of the association to add further value to their membership. The Australian website has been totally overhauled with a new look and content as of last January. It is hoped that the website now provides a vehicle through which up-to-date information can now be sourced easily by members and public enquiry. Non-members can now make an enquiry on the 'Enquiry' page which can be found under 'Get into Etchells' heading on the home page. The website, being a point of engagement with our brand, also presents the class in a modern and well-organised light and positions it strongly in yachting as an exciting and active class. My thanks to our webmaster, Kylie Wilson, for her efforts during the past 12 months. The website is a credit to her and a fine example of her skills.

Earlier this year a quarterly newsletter was introduced. The newsletter goes out in eNews form to all members on our database; this is why it is so important that we have each member's correct email address. At the same time, the newsletter is posted on the website and can initially be found under 'Breaking News' and thereafter under the 'News' heading. The content supplied by the Fleets to date has been excellent and I would encourage all Fleets to continue to support it in the future.

David Richard and Kylie Wilson have been working on an online payment system which we hope to have up and running this year. This will add the convenience factor for the membership and will have the added bonus of ensuring that our records are up to date at any one time. The Etchells Newsletter will benefit from this example.

At the last AGM it was agreed that the Etchells brand be pushed to the fore by way of advertising. You will have noticed advertising in Australian Sailing, Australian Yachting and on the net on the Sail-World site, driving the 'Capture the Spirit' theme. My thanks to Nic Cox from the Adelaide Fleet, for his significant contribution in formulating this campaign. Subsequent to the last AGM Tracey Johnstone was employed as our publicist and Tracey has been doing a great job with the newsletter and various editorial content as required. Traceydots the i's and crosses the t's which is always a good thing.

On an international level, congratulations to Bill Steel on his election last January to the position of Chairman of International Governors (IGC). Bill is a fine Chairman and it is nice to have an Australian once again in that role.

Ian Kingsford Smith was bestowed, at the Melbourne Worlds, the honour of having a perpetual trophy named after him for presentation at future World Championships. Ian's contribution at the national and international level is legendary and this lasting tribute seems very fitting for a person who has done and is still doing so much for the class.

The year 2009 finds the Australian Etchells class in a very enviable financial position with strong on-water participation and important administrative and communication projects to complete to carry us into the future.

My thanks to the other members of the Executive - Ian Kingsford Smith, David Ritchard, David Healey and Jervis Tilley - for their tireless support in keeping this association moving forward.

Happy Etchelling
Noel Paterson
President, IEC Australia


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