Etchells Australasian Winter Championships - Hong Kong based sailor Mark Thornburrow today became the 17th winner of this iconic event. Mark Thornburrow was grinning dockside, ‘Very pleased with this result. I have a very good crew and we went the right way. Klade Hauschildt on the bow, is a Mooloolaba local, at University here. Malcolm Page, with us for a month because Bucky Smith couldn’t make it. Bucky has done a lot of work on the boat. If he hadn’t done that we wouldn’t be going as fast as we are now. This is Simon Cooke´s fourth regatta with me. ‘I really enjoy the Australian Etchells scene. It’s good racing and it is close to Hong Kong. It’s just an overnight flight so it’s easy to get to. Europe is too hard and the States is way too hard. ‘So now we have got the curse, we are one of seventeen who can never win the event again. So it’s almost not worth coming back again. ‘There were three other winners in the mix coming up to the last race, so it seems they had no chance and now we have got the same curse but we will live with that. ‘We had a good lead early and then we covered Chewy at the second beat so we lost first place but we didn’t care, we just secured our position. Malcolm is a brilliant tactician. He can read the wind amazingly well. Very calm. Very quiet and a lot of fun sailing with him.’ Malcom Page commented, ‘Getting on to a boat that performs well consistently with the knowledge that they had it certainly made my job a lot easier. Obviously we had a little hiccup yesterday with the black flag but we knew that we didn’t have room for error but we were still in the mix when the drop came in with today´s fifth race. ‘We had good speed all week so that made the tactics. Sure we went the way we thought but we didn’t have to throw the dice so to speak. Even that first race that was abandoned we were leading at the top mark as well. To come out and do it again just proved that we were sailing well as a team. ‘Mathew Chew sailed well and of course Tom King is no slouch either. We gave Chewy a bit of grief on the first work towards the top then Tom I believe hit the top mark and had to do a turn, which gave us a little bit of breathing space which is good from our perspective. ‘I guess when it comes to the tactics side of things to me it was like the 470´s light wind style of tactics. Strong wind in a 470 is more like sailing a skiff. It’s about going fast and going to the right side but in light wind in a 470 it was about the inches and the metres and taking the gains when you can get them and that was very much like Etchells sailing. ‘Coming down the runs I started to see some 470 fun. What an incredible thing to get those boats up and planing today. It was hell of a ride. It beats Lunar Park any day.‘ Matthew Chew – ‘Our goal was to be top three and we were pretty happy with our second overall. ‘Thornburrow dominated us all day today. Even in the race that was called off. He was first and we were second when it got called off. They kicked us right in the actual race and it looked like it might work for a while. But got another left hander and they came back ahead of us. ‘Then at the bottom of the square run we were second again behind them, we had good downwind and we took a bit of a risk on the next uphill and they covered us hard and we dropped back a couple of spots. It’s just the way the game goes.’ Tom King. ‘Pleased with third. Mark and his team were sailing a level above us all this time. They sailed a really nice regatta. They deserved to win.’ Michael Coxon, ‘A great regatta. Today we had another bad start. I would say we were mid fleet round the first mark and finished sixth so we were going like a rocket so we were more than happy. ‘I have got to hand it to Mark and his team. He sailed well every day in all conditions. The deserved winners of the regatta and it keeps it all open again for an 18th new winner next year. John Bertrand: ‘Another great day. It wasn’t a cruising grounds that’s for sure. Big seas upwind and downhill terrific rides. Massive shifts. Cloud affected. Rain affected. We were getting thirty degree shifts out there. It was hard work for young players and for old players as well, including me. ‘Thornburrow deserved to win. He was second last year and he was very good over in the nationals in Fremantle in January, Malcolm wouldn’t have hurt either. He is very cool and knows his way around the place. A good result and a good team won it that’s for sure. ‘It is just a beautiful regatta to be involved in and the competition is terrific. That’s the bottom line. It is always very hard to win a regatta like this.’ A remarkable event with a very high quality field. Amazing considering there are 13 Australian crews competing at the Etchells Worlds in Italy next Week. And so the 18th event on the June Long weekend 2014, with a 50 boat fleet likely. Will there be an 18th new winner or will someone break the curse?
Mark Thornborrow - Etchells Australasian Winter Titles 2013