Heavy weather and king tides are about to hit Queensland’s Sunshine coast, but these tough conditions should ease in time for Friday morning’s start of the 16th ADCO Etchells Australasian Winter Championship.
Jake Gunther and co set to work uphill. - Etchells Entire Winter Series - Melbourne
Rod Jones, Mooloolaba on Oxygen - 2006 Audi Etchells Worlds
Right now sailors have started their pilgrimage to Mooloolaba, the Mecca of Etchells sailing in the Asia Pacific.
We spoke to Australian Etchells Class President Jake Gunther, the skipper of one of six Victorian boats, heading 1,980 kilometres north on the highways from Melbourne (Victoria) to Mooloolaba.
‘We are looking to the Mid-Winters as always. There is going to be a bit of swell left over from the extreme weather further south and it’s going to be a windy one so I reckon you need to pack your wellies.
‘A class field - 40 boats or a few more, not quite as big a fleet as normal but full of rock stars.
‘When you have first and second in the world, racing in the fleet then you have to be saying to yourself that it isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
‘Tom King (Olympic 2000 Sailing Gold Medallist) is obviously bringing an Olympic level of sailing to this fleet. Graeme Taylor, Dave Clarke, Damien King, there’s lots of extremely competitive players in this fleet.
‘There are lots of good sailors and the beautiful thing about Mooloolaba is that there seems to be a different winner each year and consequently, the winner is whose good on the day.
‘You have to really be on your game to win this regatta and actually we think it could be our time.
‘We beat Graeme Taylor (second in the Worlds), on a count back at the Victorian State Titles last year and we also beat Tom King at a regatta last year, so we know its a matter of putting it all together.'
‘We had a shocking Worlds and we are definitely owed a better regatta.
‘You wouldn’t go to one of these events unless you were a man of confidence, because you can come out the other side with nothing.
‘That's the hard part with Etchells. There’s just so much truth involved with these boats and you just can’t escape the truth.
‘If you are having a down regatta you are having a down regatta and if you are having an up one, then you are having an up one.
Heavier winds for last day of racing on Mooloolaba Bay - Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2010
‘As Etchells Class President I am thrilled to see 40 boats competing, after a big World Championship campaign in the middle of this winter, and in this current depressed economic climate where everybody is watching their pennies, I think it is a pretty impressive turnout.
‘We are seeing similar strength in the Club fleets too.
‘The Etchells class is certainly powering on.
‘But that’s what you’d expect of the ‘one design boat they sail in heaven’ concluded Gunther (with a straight face).
For documentation and entry lists go to www.mooetchells.yachting.org.au
Surfing at Mooloolaba Etchells Winter Nationals 2005
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