by Mandy McEvoy
As a displaced Etchells sailor, (sadly a fractured lower vertebrae in a recent sailing accident keeping me from racing) I decided to spend this weekend Volunteering with Royal Brighton Yacht Club (RBYC) Race Management team for the International Etchells 2011 Victorian State Championships.
Etchells States 2011, Day Three - International Etchells 2011 Victorian State Championships
We sailors of all shapes and sizes turn up, rig up and tune up - whether it be in Twilights, Club Racing or Regatta’s but there is a whole host of dedicated, passionate and supportive people behind the scenes that really do 'make it happen'.
From the tower/ base to the rescue boats to those accompanying the PRO on Race Committee boat everyone has an important and varied role to play in hosting racing – week in week out. This is a small dedication to them all...
Those I had the pleasure of meeting over the weekend’s Regatta had wonderful and varied Sailing experiences to share and certainly have one thing in common - a love of being on the water (just as well as the vast majority are (unpaid) Volunteers) . I met Sailing 'identities', a few reprobates and some folk entirely new to Sailing but all with something important to contribute to the running of a smooth Regatta, ensuring competitors both good and fair racing.
Most of our activities during Competition proper included feeding information on wind direction and velocity (zig - zagging across the bay to do so) back to the PRO to set the course then lay and retrieve Course marks and recording race results – all requiring great concentration and some physical effort. But so much work goes into a Regatta before we get to even crane our boats into the water, especially in One- Design with strict weigh- in, registration and measuring compliance requirements.
Speaking of racing – (and acknowledging a great summary has already been written by John Curnow on the final day’s racing - so no need to repeat it )- it was, as expected a tight tussle, made even more so by the light conditions, coming down to the wire in the sixth and final race and as usual consistency pays off . We all know in One- Design racing you don’t have to win races to place accordingly but you need to rank consistently in the Top five odd. The 2011 Victorian State Champions – Jack’s Hut didn’t actually win a race but they were never far from the action and sailed a tremendous Regatta to beat reigning World and current Australian Champion John Bertrand on Triad. Third place to the Mornington Boys – led by Graeme Taylor on Magpie. All three placed in the Top five at our recent Etchells Nationals, sailed on Corio Bay, Geelong in early January.
Consistent and consistently good – these boys are all winners to me!
For Jack’s Hut Skipper Noel 'Nitro' Brennan it is a return to the podium, last winning the State Title in 1994/5 but more recently the Australian Championships in 2001/2 and when not racing Etchells is competing internationally and locally in a host of varied classes and boats both in and off shore.
Noel was ably assisted by Ben Morrison- Jack, another passionate One- Design and off shore sailor- infamous for being one of a pair to kite surf across Bass Strait in 2009 – an epic 260km voyage. Accompanying Victorians Noel and Ben was New South Welshman, Peter Herrington – rounding out the winning crew of diversely talented professional yachtsman and great Sailing Ambassadors.
I am always quick to salute the Race Committee from the water but I certainly respect their patient preparation and long days helping us enjoy our time on the water. Let’s face it without them – there would be no racing!
Important to remind ourselves of that every now and again and remember thank them accordingly ... Even better, novice or professional - walk a day in their shoes for a full appreciation of their important contribution to our sport and like me, you may even learn a thing or two – taking the good and not so good practises witnessed into personal account out on the 'racetrack' next time.