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President's Report

8 December 2009 Noel Paterson

Australian President, Noel Paterson

"Australian President, Noel Paterson"

I am sure in the mid-sixties when Skip Etchells designed the boat we now sail he would have had longevity for his new class high on his wish list, apart from winning the design competition for which it was built.

History now tells us he was on the money in designing, not only a beautiful looking boat which has stood the test of time, but also a design which lends itself perfectly to the one-design displacement principle for which it was intended. We are now forty-four years down the Etchells track and the class could certainly be described as 'mature'.

I was having the obligatory beer with a group of Etchells sailors after racing in the recent Queensland titles in Mooloolaba and was asked the question 'how long do you think the Class has got left to run?' This promoted a relatively serious discussion among the half or so dozen sailors present and the unanimous feeling was that at this point in time there was no horizon for the Etchells class in sight.

The advances in technology and design always puts pressure on establishment, however it is how we embrace these advances that is the key. Etchells cannot embrace every new idea as it comes along, however it is important to filter out the ones which will be of real benefit to the class and move forward with that selection process. Members should remember that to change a class rule could take up to two years and that due process should be followed. There is no room for impatience in that process.

The class has made it to this point due to careful nurturing by the administrators of Etchells by people who have genuinely cared for it and the culture which has been created over the years. That is not to say that there have not been mistakes made because there have, and no doubt decisions will be made in the future which do not have the full support of the members. The bottom line is that we still have an excellent brand and a highly marketable product which still captures the imagination of those outside our ranks.

There is a veritable smorgasbord of Etchells sailing in the next four months with State Championships still to be decided in four states and the National Championships in January at Lake Macquarie. There are also the stand alone regattas such as the East Gippsland Championship, the Brisbane Fleet championship, The Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta and the Newcastle Easter Regatta hosted by the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.
Information on all these regattas is available on the national Etchells class website.

Noel Paterson
President IECA


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