Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

The power of bling at the Etchells Australian Championship

by John Curnow on 14 Nov 2013
Iris 3 , Peter McNeill, Etchells Worlds 2012, Sydney - Etchells Worlds 2012 Sydney Howard Wright /IMAGE Professional Photography © http://www.imagephoto.com.au
It is a long established fact that the Etchells always attract yachting’s best to their tight and well-organised events. At the 2013/14 Etchells Australian Championship, being run off the world famous Gold Coast, this is once again being totally ratified.

To be in the top ten, you need to have some serious bling attached to your name. A World Champion in this or other classes helps, as too a National or State title, having been an Olympian or living national heroes counts for a lot, as well as America’s Cup dignitary, let alone being an inshore or offshore legend. The former would include Peter ‘Polly’ McNeill and Matt Chew, the icon part is easy, it’s John Bertrand AO and Grant Simmer, where as the latter includes luminaries such as, Noel ‘Nitro’ Drennan, Mark ‘Squark’ Bradford, Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey and Class President and International Governor, Jake Gunther. A quick flick through the crew list highlights that it is not just the driver with these sorts of credentials, but many a crew member, as well.


Catching up with International Governor and former Etchells World Champion, Poly McNeill is always a delight. This morning, he commented, ‘We’re off to the boat now as there is no swimming allowed to clean the hull, due to a few concerns about Bull sharks. Accordingly, Bunnings is doing a great business in all manner of brooms and the like.’
‘Thus far it has been good. We have got boat speed, we’re getting off the line well and mixing it up with the top end. Happy to have a couple of bullets under our belt and we’ll keep them for use with those sharks’, said McNeill with characteristic good humour.

‘It is pretty bumpy, especially coming out of the Southport Bar, but flattens out a bit from there. The waves do require you to have to steer through, however. This morning the surf is almost rideable for those with a different water born device.’

‘There is a long way top go and heaps of racing yet, so we’ll just chip away and hopefully well be there at the end. Concentration is key to keep the boat moving. There are sets of three bad waves and it feels like you are stopping when they hit, so it will be a championship for the helmers. They’re not that huge, but certainly difficult and a bit nasty, especially on port tack as we head back out to sea’, said McNeill.


Another owner of a bullet is David Clark, the Australian Vice-President, International Governor and 2012 Australian Champion. He said, ‘Happy to be just chipping away – new boat and same team as 2012 when we won the Nationals at Pittwater. Andrew Smith is back on the main and former Olympian (Soling), Alan Smith is up the bow (no relation, BTW).’

‘It’s business as usual for us. We’ll keep on doing what we have been up to now and look at the scorecard soon enough. It’s great fun to mixing it with all those in the top ten, and the racing is really close!’


The offshore course allows for some spectacular viewing, whether you’re on the water or atop one of the many towers that adorn this part of the coast. The weather has smiled too and Hughie has allowed for gentle to fresh breezes to power this fleet of sailing’s best to haggle it out amongst themselves out on the track.

If it is a fleet of 70 or even just 30, you can be sure that in the Etchells you will need your sunglasses. Bling is everywhere, just like a trip to Las Vegas. So no matter who gets his years National title, the Etchells Class is certainly the winner. See http://www.etchells.org.au/ for more information.


InSunSport - NZWildwind 2016 660x82T Clewring One Design

Related Articles

Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug
Rio Olympics - Fourth gallery of images the fearsome Niteroi course
Fourth image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean Fourth image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean - sailing in 3-4 metre swells and 20kt plus winds. believe it or not the sea conditions were worse inshore as the fleet encountered the backwashed Atlantic rollers
Posted on 12 Aug
Rio 2016 - Third image gallery of 470's braving the Atlantic Ocean
Third image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean Third image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean - sailing in 3-4 metre swells and 20kt plus winds
Posted on 12 Aug
Gladwell's Line - The challenges of Guanbara Bay
The decision to run Medal Racing on the Pao de Acucer course, probably won't be remembered as one of the brightest The decision to run Medal Racing on the Pao de Acucer, probably won't be remembered as one of the brightest of the 2016 Sailing Olympics. Over shadowed by a 1300ft tall granite and quartz mountain in the shape of a sugarloaf, the bay suffers from dramatic windshifts, and huge variance in wind pressure.
Posted on 11 Aug
Rio 2016 - Fresher breezes expected inside and outside on Day 3
Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the fleet scheduled to race outside on the Atlantic Ocean course off Copacabana Beach, while the 470 Men and Women will race inside on Guananara Bay.
Posted on 10 Aug