by Bernie Kaaks
The site that became the face of Australian sailing during the recent ISAF world championships will be the venue for the Etchells nationals, with Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Fremantle Annex being the regatta headquarters. The same course was also used during the last Etchells World Championship held in WA, and always brings the promise of big sea breezes, challenging wave conditions and exciting racing.
Ray Smith had a good day near the front of the fleet after a solid start - Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Opening Day
Renowned for attracting the cream of Australia’s yachting talent, the Etchells class is probably one of the toughest in which to win a title. In last year’s national championship, winner David Clarke claimed the title with just one win from seven races, whilst Jud Smith and Julian Plante, who filled the minor placings, did so by virtue of their consistency, for neither won an individual race.
In the world championship that followed the story was much the same. Tom King won the series with one heat win from nine races, as did the placegetters . Only Victorian champion Noel Drennan and Jud Smith managed two wins apiece, but both finished outside the podium placings.
Early interest in the WA based national championship has been encouraging, with champion John Bertrand headlining the list of entries. Joining Bertrand are Queenslanders Dave Healy and winter series champion Matt Chew, Victorian class chairman Jake Gunther, Hong Kong based Mark Thornburrow and New South Welshman Peter McNeil, all lining up to take on local champions like Peter Chappell, Mark Lovelady, Michael Manford and Skip Lissiman.
With the round of Club opening days behind us, it is time to get down to serious business, so the Swan River Etchells fleets can be expected to attract good numbers and fierce competition.
Organisers encourage would-be competitors to start getting their entries in soon.
Further information is available on the event website http://www.etchells.org.au/nationals/
Kim Jeffrey's Wot Ever seems well named, sporting the choice of three sail numbers. - Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Opening Day
Smith still among the leaders on the first downhill leg. - Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club Opening Day