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Brisbane: Adding to the fleet through 'Come and Try' Etchells initiative

25 August 2009 Noel Paterson

A perfect light-air day for Come & Try sailors

"A perfect light-air day for Come & Try sailors"

Photo by:
David Healey

During the off season Brisbane Fleet has embraced the national push to introduce new members to its numbers by running two 'Come and Try' days to date with a third to happen at the end of August.

The first C&T day was held on 11 July and the second on 15 August. The next date is set for 29 August.

The Fleet has hosted numbers of between 18 and 21 prospective Etchells sailors with a further 18 booked for the third C&T day. Interestingly, a third day was not planned, but was necessary due to over subscription.

We advertised the C&T days as follows -
The weekly Brisbane Fleet Newsletter;
The National Etchells site by drilling down to the Brisbane Fleet site;
The RQYS weekly newsletter; and
A significant computer generated eye-catching poster on the RQ notice board

The format for each day was very simple -
1100 - Meet on hardstand
1200 -- Leave harbour
Short sail then three or four short windward/return races
1500 -- Back to harbour
Free BBQ and obligatory beer (thanks to our sponsors, North Sails Brisbane).

Each boat had one or two experienced sailors aboard and then carried two to three guests. We used eight boats the first day and ten on the second.

Our current owners and their crews were great and only too happy to assist. The guests were on the boat the whole time and there was no offloading to a power boat or to the dock.

Prior to these C&T days a list was made of all of the dormant or seldom sailed Etchells on the hardstand. Every owner of those vessels was telephoned to establish the status of each yacht by asking the hard questions -
Are you ever going to sail it or do you just want to hug it ?
Are you interested in selling it/how much ?
Are you interested in chartering it ?

It was amazing to see the reaction of those owners once having the no-nonsense hard word put on them about their tearful, frustrated boat. Most wanted to sell, but were too busy or whatever to take the next step, they just needed to be pushed.

The results so far of our C&T days -
Congratulations to Peter Cziel the new owner of 'Arunga''
Congratulations to Ken Waller the new owner of 'Yep'
Congratulations to Jack/John Sweep the new owner of 'Love Sex Intelligence'
Congratulations to Phil Harvey the new season charterer of 'Critical Path'

All of these people are new to Etchells and we now have four extra boats doing something they haven't done for a long time; going sailing.

The overall experience has been good for the Brisbane Fleet. There has been a feeling of coming together for the good of the fleet/class which can only be good.

The future looks bright.
Noel Paterson


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