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Southern Spars - North Technology

Etchells Worlds 2012 - Sail-World interviews some of the key players

by www.sail-world.com on 26 Feb 2012
Winners are Grinners - Tom King and his Iron Lotus crew - 2012tchells Worlds © Ingrid Abery http://www.ingridabery.com
After the last race of the Etchells Worlds 2012 Sail-World.com interviewed the top four place getters dockside at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron - Tom King (Iron Lotus), Graeme Taylor (Magpie), John Bertrand (Triad) and Jud Smith (Roulette), as well as 2010 Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby (Triad).

Tom King (Iron Lotus), the Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold medallist, winner of the 2011 Mooloolaba Etchells Mid-Winter series and 2012 Etchells World Champion .

‘In the last race ourselves and our main rival Graeme Taylor (GT) had a clean start. GT was just up to windward of us. We were just trying to stay near him the whole way.

‘We managed to get a little left of him, get into the left shift on the first work and so we went round the top mark with him and the strategy from there was just to stick with GT and let him sail where he wanted to go. Because he was racing for second place in the regatta and we didn’t want to interfere with that. We had a nice last work and got the boat going quickly and finally got him just before the line.

‘We had been really fast downwind the whole event, but there were certainly patches there today when GT was a bit quicker than us.


‘The crew work on our boat was really, really good. Dave Edwards has now won an Yngling Worlds, Soling Worlds and an Etchells Worlds. He sailed in the Sydney Olympics in the Soling.

‘Dave has done an amazing job putting the boat together and looking after it and he is a fantastic guy to sail with.
‘Owen (McMahon) and I sailed together in the 1996 Olympics in the 470. We sailed together for six or seven years back then and did pretty well at an international level so it’s nice to be back with him in a boat. It has taken us a week or so to get the mojo back again but it worked really well this week.

‘Ivan (Wheen) has had the expectations of three Olympians to live up to so he’s done well. He’s done a fantastic job and worked his butt off all week, sailing really clean.

‘Overall it was a great fleet. I think there are probably half a dozen guys or a dozen guys out there that, if they had had the breaks would have won the championship.

‘Things didn’t go our way at the Nationals and we were still getting our act sorted. This week everything fell into place and when you are sailing like that it feels like you can’t do anything wrong. Wherever you go the wind shifts and it’s nice when it’s like that.

Graeme Taylor (Magpie) was smiling dockside. ‘Tom and his crew sailed magnificently; they did not let us get away in the final race.

‘We needed to have a glamour race and they needed to have a shocker. We realised after they had a good start that was not going to happen and if we battled with them John Bertrand might slide past us, because we knew he’d sail up through the fleet, he always does, so we decided to consolidate our second.

‘A gold medallist and a brace of Olympians – the quality showed. Tom and I sailed against each other as kids. He was a Mirror guru back then and he just agreed with me that winning the Etchells Worlds was even better than winning the Mirror Worlds. (Tom did that in 1991.)


‘This was a very enjoyable regatta. The on water management was good, the weather was excellent and we had fun on the boat.

‘Another semester at the ‘Mothy’ School of Etchells. I first sailed with Mothy ‘Steve Jarvin’ at the 2006 Worlds with Mark (Squark) Bradford. Back then he said ‘I am going impart 20 years of Etchells experience in two weeks so get ready’ and six years later he is still trying to teach me. Of course Grant Simmer (Grunter) is a fantastic sailor, and its a joy to sail with him and I am learning all the time.

‘We had starting problems during the Nationals so Rob Brown came to our aid, coaching us with drills initially, then across the board. That was a very positive development.

‘We did not win this time, we had our chances and so we have to keep going. ‘Mothy’s’ wife keeps saying ‘we are going to Italy (next world championship) she has been looking for an excuse - so that’s it!’

John Bertrand (Triad). ‘Absolutely happy to come third in such a great fleet. The competition was red hot out there. The regatta went together very well.


I must say the Wilson brothers and the Race Management who put the regatta together out on the water, were absolutely superb. We couldn’t have asked for better sailing conditions.

‘We had our chances, we were leading with two races to go but then we had a few poor starts. Today we were second row and we paid the penalty but we made a strong comeback obviously. It’s just the way it goes.

‘Dave Clark (Fifteen) was only one point behind us. He had a great second half regatta, very strong. He had communications very well sorted and sailed very well.

‘What a really strong regatta that was for Tom King and his crew. It clearly came together for him at the right time and the results showed. They were very impressive.

‘And GT, Mothy and Grunter were on fire.

‘Terrific stuff. To have 20 boats going the same speed out there, red hot. The class is alive and well!’

Jud Smith (USA - Roulette). ‘We blew the start and went the wrong way but we dug out of it ok. It was a regatta of two halves for us, we were fine until the last two days. (leading the regatta) But we did not have our heads around the north-easter sea breeze at all. ‘It’s a nice place to sail –it is different.’



Tom Slingsby, tactician for John Bertrand . ‘We had our opportunity yesterday and then we moved to the regatta lead before the last race yesterday, then a bad bad start it was game over for us really.

‘You can see why Tom King won an Olympic gold medal. He is just so solid and whenever he was caught back he took enough risk and each time he guessed or picked the right side, so when he was deep he pulled straight back and was really impressive.

‘Today GT did well. They got off the line a bit better. We actually drew level with them half way up and we called them through to cross us and I was really hoping he would go through and not tack on us because it was a really good lane. Very smartly then decided to steal that lane and send us out to a worse one. We got very close to him at the last beat but we had to get two boats in between us, which was a bit too hard.’

The next Etchells World Championship is being staged in Rosignano Solvay, Italy. Racing will commence with the practice race on June 9 2013 and continue until June 15. The regatta will been organized by the Italian Association of International Etchells Class (Associazione Italiana Classe Internazionale Etchells) at the Yacht Club Cala de’ Medici.

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