Garmin Etchells NSW Championship goes International

Tight racing on Brisbane Waters – Bound to be more of this during the 2014 Championship. - Garmin 2014 Etchells NSW Championship
The US Marines are famous for their mantra, adapt, improvise and conquer. Representing the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club at the Garmin 2014 Etchells NSW Championship will be Mark Thornburrow, Simon Cooke, Mike Huang and a certain Olympic Gold Medallist and now Chairman of the ISAF Athletes’ Commission, Malcolm Page.

Their path to the impending State title was certainly a case of adapting, improvising and only time will tell if this multiple winning outfit can go on to conquer, as well. Mark explains, 'We are very happy to be able to get most of the team together for the Garmin 2014 Etchells NSW Championship, an event we had not planned to sail.'

'When Nev Willis from the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron was approaching Sydney on the way to Metung (Gippsland, Victoria) our trailer bearings broke. So he left my boat, ‘Racer X’, with Phil Smidmore. We looked at the entry list, with all the good people entered already, and decided we just could not miss it. We are sure it will be a great regatta.'

With that wonderful segue provided by Mark, it was time to see what Phil Smidmore and his Pacesetter Yachts have been up to. 'There has been an increase in our Etchells work these past couple of weeks. I have just supplied Lake Macquarie’s Noel Bagnall with a new mast and have new masts for Gary Smith and Matt McCann to come, whilst Mark Thornburrow’s well travelled ‘Racer X’ is getting a new road trailer.'

'We have been having some strong winds in Sydney these past few weeks, including a windy Milson Goblets Series, which is always good for business. Part of that fleet found their pumps needed some TLC and there has been a general call for our usual good sellers, such as tapered sheets and halyards. I’m looking forward to the series, as you are never sure what is next on a tight racecourse like Brisbane Waters', the accomplished Smidmore said.

The Notice of Race and online entry are available from Garmin have put a few of their ‘Quatix’ watches up as an added incentive, which will ensure there is even more energy put in to getting the proverbial bullets or always finishing in the first five. Alas, with Etchells, it is not simply all about the top ten. Tight racing is always guaranteed, whether it is between first and second or 30th and 31st. By way of example, North Sails place a brand new jib up for grabs for the mid-fleet winner. It is another terrific prize and very much sought after, as well.

Greg Eddy and the crew of ‘Mr Ed’ during the 2009 State Championship. - Garmin 2014 Etchells NSW Championship

With plenty of time left to enter before the deadline of February 12, and now is not really near the usual last minute rush to do so, there are already 31 boats set to line up for this sensational inshore regatta. The regatta chairman, Don Wilson, has attended many, many Etchells events and is supremely positioned to know both what you need to have in place and what it takes from your team to hold the kind of event the One Design class is so famous for.

Don, who will also be out there racing, said, 'Two weeks out and we already have 31 entries including one international and five interstate entries for what is shaping up as an awesome regatta. Our PRO, Peter Walsh, and his team are ready to put on a great set of races, which is what the Etchells are all about.'

'A new innovation is the use of the Code Flag U, instead of the dreaded Black Flag. If there is an infringement and the fleet is returned under General Recall, then the boats can line up again, which is a great way to keep everybody racing.'

'Gosford Sailing Club is ready to welcome our visitors with our great facilities, friendly atmosphere, as well as daily hardstand sausage sizzle and drinks. We’re pulling out all stops to put on a tremendous regatta.'

'We’re focused on sailing here at the GSC. From learn to sail, to junior and senior dinghy classes, and then on to match racing, inshore and offshore yachts, including the Gosford to Lord Howe Category One blue water event, we’re deeply involved in the sport. The club always provides a warm welcome for visitors to the many events it hosts. GSC is all set to provide a memorable event for the elite of one design sailing by hosting the Garmin International Etchells Class 2014 New South Wales State Championships', Wilson said.

For this event, entries are capped at 45, which could well see some disappointment for crews not moving quickly enough. After a series of Etchells events run offshore, moving inshore and to challenging waters at that, will see a lot of terrific sailing being conducted. Therefore. It’s never too late to adapt, improvise and perhaps even conquer, yourself. The Notice of Race and online entry are available from, so be sure to get set for the best in One Design out of the charming Gosford Sailing Club on Brisbane Waters.

Grant Robson will be out there with ‘Pointless’ again, but not with Tom Slingsby on board. - Garmin 2014 Etchells NSW Championship