Now in its 17th year, the one design Etchells regatta sailed offshore at Mooloolaba on the Queensland´s Sunshine coast, over the June Long Weekend has proven to be one of the most successful events on the Asia Pacific calendar for this very competive sailing class.
Tom King (10) and Mark Thornburrow (11) - Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2012
A very high quality field of nearly 40 boats has gather for this year’s 2013 Etchells Australasian winter championships in Mooloolaba, with up to a dozen of the crews series contenders.
Tom King, Sydney Olympic 470 Gold Medalist, the 2012 Etchells World Champion is amongst the favourites. He won this event in 2011 and is looking for a historic second win. (In 16 years it’s never been won twice by the same skipper) but there are lots of talented sailors who want to spoil the party for King.
Amongst them is John Bertrand who has won an Etchells World Championship and six Australian Etchells title, he is still looking for his first win here.
Another with very strong claims is Hong Kong sailor Mark Thornburrow who has been amongst the leading contenders for the last four years and who has now taken steps to improve on his recent results.
A very serious campaigner Thornburrow has a boat in the Hong Kong fleet and a second one in Australia. He has been getting closer to the top of the podium and could certainly win in 2013.
He led into the final day of the 2010 event, only to stumble into fourth place. Last year he was a worthy second to Matthew Chew.
He believes this field is 'at least as good as the World’s in Italy’’ and is looking forward to enjoying a very tough battle.
This year Thornburrow has brought a Sailing Gun to the knife fight with double Olympic 470 Gold Medalist Malcom Page (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) on board.
Page commented today. ’This is my first real regatta in Etchells. A couple of years ago I helped Judd Smith, (the 2006 Etchells World Champion) from a coaching perspective, at the Melbourne worlds. It’s not an issue from a coaching point because you never get anything wrong.
But now I am jumping on board this weekend and I am looking forward to it.
’Obviously the quality of the fleet is always strong in Etchells, but at this regatta it is phenomenal and Mark’s track record is outstanding, so if our boat does not go well I know who they will be looking at.
‘The beauty of this class too is that is can attract all ages and sizes especially with the weight limit.
’You get three big guys or four little guys (like us) so it attracts a lot of different people from different age groups and different times of their lives and it is all about that competition isn’t it.
‘It doesn’t matter what the boat are if you are all racing the same boats he who is the best on the day will be the champion and that’s why we all do it.’
So a titanic battle ahead, with soft conditions for day one through to a good blow on Sunday.