Veteran Etchells sailor Steve Jarvin, aka Mothy, is not sailing at this regatta, but told North Star skipper Michael Coxon a few days ago that looking at the fields it would be harder to win in Australasian Winter Championships in Mooloolaba this year than in the Worlds in Italy.
Now that might be a 'Mothism' but it is a measure of the quality of the fleet which is certainly of very high calibre across the board with multiple Etchells world champions and Olympic gold medallists.
With the winter weather conditions throwing up very variable conditions each year with great fleets fighting for supremacy, its little wonder that in the sixteen years of this event there have been sixteen different winners.
The first race on Day 1 of the Etchells Australasian Winter Titles started in 5 to 6 knots of breeze for the 38 boats in this 17th annual regatta. The course to the top mark, abeam Alexandra Headland, was to the southeast with a two nautical mile first leg length.
On the start line, Perfect Balance, skippered by Mark Bulka, was on the pin. The 1999 Etchells World Champion Cameron Miles on The Whole Way was next. The 2012 Etchells World Champion Tom King´s Iron Lotus, was the third boat up and was fast away. Then came Douglas McGain´s Cia well placed.
However his blistering start mid-line Dave Clark delivered the lead at the top mark, second was John Warlow, then Mark Thornburrow. John Bertrand was fifth. Matthew Chew next. Outside him was Tom King with Peter Merrington came through over taking boats.
The breeze was up a little, around 7 to 8 knots. Perfect blue skies. Heading down the run the fleet was remarkably close.
First at the bottom mark was Dave Clark, then Hong Kong sailor Mark Thornburrow, John Bertrand, John Warlow, Matthew Chew, next came Tom King followed by Peter Merrington.
All the expected top guys are where they should be after that fairly soft run and headed back up the course for their second beat.
Malcolm Blom, skippering On a Mission, retired at the first bottom mark possibly due to a gear issue.
At the top for the second time the fleet hoisted spinnakers, setting sail for home, David Clark was ahead of John Warlow with Mark Thornburrow about a length back. In fourth place was Matthew Chew followed by John Bertrand about a length and a half back and Tom King just half a length behind.
Conditions increased up to about 8 to 10 knots at the top mark. A perfect postcard sailing day at Mooloolaba.
Half way down the run Dave Clark was still holding a good lead. The group behind were battling hard and looking for position changes. Anyone out of the group of about ten boats, behind the leader, could take the balance of the podium places in this race.
Conditions at the bottom of the course towards the finish line were softer but it was a tight race.
Dave Clark took the gun then came Chew, Warlow, Thornburrow, Bertrand, Mark Bulka, Tom King, Peter Merrington, Cameron Miles and Stephen O'Rourke rounding out the top ten.
A light wind day but the forecast is it will get heavier over the next two days which will certainly give the fleet a bit of everything.
Race Two :
It was a clear start for Race two in 9 to 11 knots, a perfect sailing breeze. The course heading was again south east but a little more to the left. It was Course One which has an extra leg with the fleet finishing at the top mark.
John Bertrand had been coming up to the start fast almost over but he dipped back down to the line to avoid being over it early and was buried by the oncoming traffic..
At the top mark it was Gary Smith on Tusk just ahead of Cameron Miles on The Hole Way. A boat length back was John Wa low followed by Michael Coxon, Matthew Chew, Dirk Van Der Stuyf, Tom King, Mark Thornburrow then Ross Lloyd and Guyon Wilson.
John Bertrand was back in the bleachers after having that unhappy start.
Down the first run. It is a much closer fleet this time, bunched up.
John Warlow, Gary Smith, and Tom King went round the bottom mark to the right. On the left was Michael Coxon followed by Cameron Miles bringing his kite right to the mark then Matthew Chew on the left. Mark Thornburrow was next on the right.
Bertrand was clearly sailing what he hopes will be his drop, buried about 18th in the fleet half way through the race.
From the windward mark, the fleet headed down the run with John Warlow continued to lead, four lengths ahead of Mark Thornburrow. Another two boats lengths behind was Michael Coxon, with Tom King right on his stern. One boat length back was Cameron Miles. Gary Smith on Tusk, the boat that led at the first mark, was a further two boat lengths back. There was quite a big gap, of 8 to 10 boat lengths, to the rest of the fleet.
Conditions softened on the last upwind leg, and there was a left hand shift. Mark Thornburrow made big gains and it was very tight between Tom King and Cameron Miles. Michael Coxon tacked just on the line to take second place, 10 lengths behind Thornborrow then there was only a length back to King and then John Warlow.
Warlow, who led round the last top mark, went right when the rest of the leading group gained on the left. Matthew Chew, last year's winner in fifth place.
Mark Thornburrow, who was second overall in this regatta in 2012 leads the series, with a 5,1 result, followed by John Warlow with a 3-4 Matthew Chew 2-5 , Dave Clark on 9,1 Tom King with 7,3 and Michael Coxon with 11,2 next.
Dockside Thornburrow was smiling but reserved as always. 'Very pleased with today, but there are two days to go.
His newest recruit, double Olympic Gold Medallist Malcolm Page was happy to talk.
'We had two good starts and that makes the job much easier and we had a play with the front guys. I think we were more comfortable second race than we were in the first race, with the four of us.
'Its two races in of six and it is a competitive fleet and what a great start. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
'The left paid in the end. On the average. There were some moments the right came back and in that second race we managed to grab one of them on a second work from the right and get back. Generally the breeze did on the average go left all day. Typical southern hemisphere thing.'
Dave Clark was a happy skipper too 'Yes a good start and just got some good wind information from the guys and nailed the first couple of shifts and I guess when you are out front you can play the shifts as you want to so it just extended so that was nice.
'In the second race I just had a terrible start so we had to dig our way out and we were quite pleased with ourselves the way we dug out. Early days. It was really good fun.
'Thornburrow is going to be hard to beat though. He has got some smarts on board and he is going to be tough. It's good. '
It was a day of 'could have been' for Brisbane Etchells fleet captain John Warlow. They had two great starts and were second and the top mark in both races, they took a third in the first race and were leading only to be on the wrong side of a shift on the last beat, diving from first to fourth. Warlow commented 'Very happy with the day. We have been working a lot on this boat so with the light air performance we are really pleased with it. '
Tom King, the current Etchells World Champion summed up ´There is not much in it. I reckon the top seven or eight boats in the fleet are as tightly bunched as I have ever seen them. We are not out of the hunt but we have a bit of work to do if we want to stay at the front. Thornburrow and his crew sailed nicely today. They were going pretty quick. It was good fun racing and that is what is why we all come to Mooloolaba. '
Provisional Results overall for Day 1:
1st,36,AUS 864,Racer X,Mark Thornburrow,Simon Cooke, Klade Hauschildt, Malcolm Page,4.0,1.0,5.0,5.0
3rd,28,AUS 892,Le Grande Coq,John Warlow,Bradley Ginnivan, Stephen Peel,3.0,4.0,7.0,7.0
2nd,07,AUS 864,Gen XY,Matthew Chew,Ashley Deeks, Brian Donovan, Paul Wyatt,2.0,5.0,7.0,7.0
5th,01,AUS 925,Iron Lotus,Tom King,David Edwards, Ivan Wheen, Owen McMahon,7.0,3.0,10.0,10.0
4th,15,AUS 876,Fifteen,David Clark,Tim Clark, Andrew Smith,1.0,9.0,10.0,10.0
6th,20,AUS 940,North Star,Michael Coxon,Richard Allanson, Christian Brook,11.0,2.0,13.0,13.0
8th,24,AUS 1306,The Hole Way,Cameron Miles,Grant Crowle, David Simpson,9.0,6.0,15.0,15.0
7th,10,AUS 1383,Triad,John Bertrand,Bill Browne, Jake Newman,5.0,10.0,15.0,15.0
9th,04,AUS 1088,Sun Tzu,Roger Hickman,Kim Ketelby, Daniel Morrow,Daniel Williams,13.0,8.0,21.0,21.0
10th,29,AUS 1387,Perfect Balance,Mark Bulka,David Eickmeyer, Steve Young,6.0,16.0,22.0,22.0
11th,31,AUS 1362,The Doctor,Ross Lloyd,Matthew Turner, Peter Williams,12.0,14.0,26.0,26.0
12th,30,AUS 883,Tusk,Gary Smith,Michael McAullay, Christopher Percy,20.0,7.0,27.0,27.0
13th,35,AUS 1254,Odyssey,Peter Merrington,Murray Gordon, Ian MacKillop,8.0,20.0,28.0,28.0
14th,33,AUS 1384,Panther,Stephen O'Rouke,Steven Backhouse, Burke Melia,10.0,19.0,29.0,29.0
15th,11,AUS 1244,Ciao,Douglas McGain,Gary Adshead, David Turton,17.0,13.0,30.0,30.0
16th,03,AUS 832,Animal House,Dirk Van Der Struyf,Mark Lovelady, Raymond Smith,19.0,12.0,31.0,31.0
17th,05,AUS 868,Yandoo XX,Jeanne-Claude Strong,Marcus Burke, Neville Wittey, Tiana Wittey,21.0,11.0,32.0,32.0
18th,26,AUS 1338,Critical Balance,Paul Garaty,Paul Morrish, Gregory Torpy,15.0,17.0,32.0,32.0
19th,08,AUS 1318,Adolescence,Steve Billingham,James Arnold, William Lewis,16.0,21.0,37.0,37.0
21st,32,AUS 1219,Carabella IV,Matthew McCann,Nicola Bradley, William Canty, Andrew Parkes,18.0,23.0,41.0,41.0
20th,38,AUS 1392,this will make her scream,David Rose,Alexander Gough, Josh Torpy,23.0,18.0,41.0,41.0
22nd,23,AUS 1052,Resurgent,Chris Rabbidge,Stephen Carrick, Grahame Prosser,14.0,31.0,45.0,45.0
23rd,06,AUS 1024,Voodoo Spirit,Guyon Wilson,Darren Mahoney, James Wilson,31.0,15.0,46.0,46.0
24th,25,AUS 994,Crews Control,Paul Minter,John Minter, Glen Thomson,22.0,25.0,47.0,47.0
25th,16,AUS 885,The Boat that Rocked,James Chilman,Steve Girdis Andrew Triggel, Tim Robba,25.0,24.0,49.0,49.0
26th,34,AUS 1162,TL2,Chris Green,Glenn Ferguson, Richard Stephens,26.0,27.0,53.0,53.0
27th,12,AUS 1288,Good Vibes,Robert Holm,Robert Davis, Leo Rodriguez,33.0,22.0,55.0,55.0
28th,09,AUS 1332,8 P,s,Ian Anderson,Robin Braendler, Joshua Willis,24.0,32.0,56.0,56.0
29th,37,AUS 1245,3 Gone Missing,Todd Trevillion,Anthony Banek, Mark McWilliams,27.0,30.0,57.0,57.0
30th,17,AUS1128,Surprise,Ryan Fisk,Christopher Adams, Matthew Fisk,30.0,28.0,58.0,58.0
31st,14,AUS 1146,Mojo,Barry Barnes,Paul Barnes, Simon Ellis,35.0,26.0,61.0,61.0
32nd,27,AUS 249,Blinky,Peter Stewart,Martin Sinclair, David Smith,28.0,34.0,62.0,62.0
33rd,22,AUS 756,Etchellence,Grant Hudson,Steven Cressey, Dean Horton, Angus Rankin,34.0,29.0,63.0,63.0
34th,21,AUS 856,Waterloo Bay,Trevor Martin,Charles Piggott, Taylor-Jane Rose,29.0,35.0,64.0,64.0
35th,13,AUS1365,Jungle Drum,Patrick Largier,Gerard Kelly,Stephen Toms,32.0,36.0,68.0,68.0
36th,18,AUS 731,Betelgeuse,Gregory Forgan-Smith,Michael Austen, Bruce Pitt,37.0,33.0,70.0,70.0
37th,02,AUS 852,Ronin,Gordon Weise,Kevin Molen, Will Thompson,36.0,37.0,73.0,73.0
38th,19,AUS 651,On A Mission,Malcolm Blom,Iain Davidson, Jack Tattersall,39.0 DNF,38.0 DNC,77.0,77.0
by Mooloolaba Etchells Winter Australasian Media
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8:40 AM Fri 7 Jun 2013GMT
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2013 Etchells Winter Australasian Championships - Mooloolaba
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