Drag out the sunnies and dust off the boardies, it’s time to head north to Mooloolaba for the Etchells Australasian Winter Championship.
The 18th annual Etchells Winters is being held from 5th to 8th June 2014.
Online entries close in just two weeks, on the 30th May.
Brisbane’s Mark Bradford is calling the Etchells Winters a 'perfectly timed event' for him as he prepares to head to Newport, Rhode Island, for the 2014 Etchells World Championship which starts on the 21st June.
He has recently passed up a whole lot of yachting to concentrate on the Etchells and while the big Black Jack is in the shed getting modified for the next Hobart.
'We’ve got a bit of training in Mooloolaba on the two weekends before the regatta. We then plan to get to the mid-Winters on the Wednesday so we have a couple of good days sailing before the event. We are going to step it up a bit for the mid-winters.
'I will test some sails in Mooloolaba. Simon Gorman is in the middle for me in Mooloolaba and then he tags out for Brad Butterworth for the Worlds.
'This is my 10th Worlds so I have a reasonable handle on how to lead up to it. When you go overseas, if you get there too early, by the time the main event is on you are pretty run out especially with finances and all the other pressures you have in your life.
'The good thing this year is we can do the preparation in Australia in a good fleet and skip the pre-Worlds stuff in America, then go straight into the event. Normally you can’t do that because the only stuff on before the regatta is the lead up races at the event. We are pretty lucky this year with the timing of the mid-Winters.
'We get to sail at home in a comfortable environment where it’s not super expensive and where we will get all wind conditions, and it’s going to bumpy like the Worlds. It should be a pretty good lead up for us,' Bradford said.
Lake Macquarie’s Paul Garaty is another one who is using the Etchells Winters as a warm up for his Worlds campaign. He will race in Mooloolaba with Dean Blachford and Gary Boyd, then on the way to the international airport, collect Michael Coxon’s trimmer, Richie Allanson, and head over to Rhode Island.
There is plenty of other talent heading north this year. Previous winners Mornington’s Graeme Taylor, Brisbane’s Matt Chew and Sydney’s Tom King will be back on the start line.
North Sails Michael Coxon is also heading to Mooloolaba and bringing with him the North Sails sponsored mid-fleet prize.
Big boat winning skipper, Roger Hickman, wouldn’t miss Mooloolaba for quids. He’s leaving his Wild Rose crew in Sydney to finish off the Cruising Yacht Club’s Sydney Harbour cold winter series and heading up to where the warm sun shines. Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2014