In the world of One Design racing, the competition doesn’t get any tougher than in the Etchells class.
Winter Champions, Tom King and his crew of David Edwards, Owen McMahon and Ivan Wheen all smiles on Iron Lotus - Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2011
Just ask the top players who have recently competed in the 2012 Wold Championship, but still have the taste for hard competition as they head north for the 16th ADCO Etchells Australasian Winter Championship.
The iconic winter regatta, unlike most Etchells Championship that normally move from venue to venue every year, is run every year, same place same time for the last 15 years.
The 16th ADCO Etchells Australasian Winter Championship, organised by the Mooloolaba Etchells Fleet, is being sailed from seventh to 10th June 2012.
The winter sailing conditions each June long weekend are often very tricky. A wide range of offshore sea states and wind strength challenge the sailors and as the 2008 winner Graeme Taylor explains, luck is certainly needed to win this regatta.
And amazingly no one has been lucky twice. In the 15 regattas, there have been 15 different winners
It’s a prestigious list of winners is Dave Rose (1997), Russell Coutts (1998), Ian Johnston (1999), Julian Plante (2000), Michael Coxon (2001), Mark Bradford (2002), Cameron Appleton (2003), Grant Wharington (2004), Rob Brown (2005), Cameron Miles (2006), Skip Lissiman (2007), Graeme Taylor (2008), Damien King (2009), Alastair Gair (2010) and Tom King (2011).
Event Manager Tracey Johnstone said ‘The 2012 winner will have to earn the title. Once again we have a very high quality fleet with Olympians, World Champions and America’s Cup sailors, from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
‘It’s a superb field. To start with we have Tom King the 2000 Olympic Gold medallist in the 470 class, current Etchells world champion and defending winters champion. Then there is Graeme Taylor the NSW class State champion and second in the worlds, and David Clarke who is the current national champion and fourth in the worlds.
‘Then add in Colin Beashel, five-time Olympian and two time class world champion, Peter McNeil the 2004 class world champion, Mathew Chew and Bucky Smith from the 2009 class world championship team and the highly regarded Mark Thornburrow from Hong Kong.
‘While the previous winner skippers will be very focussed on winning the Winters again, there are plenty of others who fully intend on making their mark and want to see a 16th new winner.’
Last year’s winning team, Iron Lotus skippered by Tom King, now the 2012 Etchells World Champion are obviously in hot form. This morning King commented. ‘Last year at the Midwinters we had quite a bit of luck and managed to win, but then got better as the season went on. We then strung together our best ever regatta to win the World Championship in Sydney. Back in Mooloolaba we are looking to make history.'
Among the tall timber aiming to hold King out is Taylor, who after coming second in the 2012 World Championship is again looking to top his rival.
'I guess in most regattas we have been rarely outside the top five in recent times. ‘I believe we need to put in a solid regatta as we always do and see how it falls.
‘Mooloolaba can be a tricky place to sail at this time of the year so once again we might prefer to be lucky than good!'
For documentation and entry lists go to www.mooetchells.yachting.org.au
Rob Kothe (Media Director) - Phone +61418441359
Hi-res images available upon request.