There is definitely something catching about winter Etchells racing off Mooloolaba with many of the Australasian region’s best one-design sailors already talking up this year’s June long-weekend regatta.
It might be due to the warm weather, easy access to the course, great parties at end of each race day and plenty of accommodation choices that brings the sailors back. Or it could be the chance to shake off the winter blues with some good racing and a chance to catch up inter-state sailing mates thrown in. It certainly is due to the brilliant competition with a fleet of 50 or more boats boasting America’s Cup, World Champion and Olympian sailors pitting their skills against some very determined and highly successful weekend warriors.
It’s been 14 consecutive years that these sailors have made the trip to Mooloolaba for the June long weekend event and throughout those years not one winning skipper has been able to defend their winter title. That statistic surely speaks loudly of the high level of competition experienced in this event and the opportunity it presents to any of the Etchells skippers. The winning skippers have been Alistair Gair (NZ), Damien King (VIC), Graeme Taylor (VIC), Skip Lissiman (WA), Cameron Miles (NSW), Rob Brown (NSW), Grant Wharington (VIC), Cameron Appleton (NZ), Mark Bradford (QLD), Michael Coxon (NSW), Julian Plante (NSW), Ian Johnson (VIC), Russell Coutts (NZ) and David Rose (QLD).
Interestingly, national Etchells champion for the last three years, John Bertrand, has never won a winter title. He came close in 2004 with a second, but never a first.
Winner of the first 2011 entry prize, Sydney’s Doug Flynn, is returning to Mooloolaba to compete in the Musto Etchells Winters as part of his campaign towards racing the Etchells Worlds in Sydney in February 2012. 'I had originally planned to do the Worlds in San Diego, but Mooloolaba is logistically massively easier and the conditions are likely to be closer to the Sydney 2012 experience than San Diego will be. We hope to compete in Sydney and sailing in the offshore swell and true breeze off Mooloolaba should help.
'We enjoyed the event last year, but were disappointed with our performance so maybe we can do better this year. It was also a great event to be doing in the middle of the year when you are starting to feel starved of sailing. We entered early to commit and start the rest of our planning for the event.'
The Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2011 Notice of Race, entry form and online entry system is now available on the event website www.mooetchells.yachting.org.au
The Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship 2011 is sponsored by Musto Australasia, Events Queensland, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Newport Apartments, The Wharf Tavern, Sun Air Bus Services, Sail-World.com, PropertyToday.net.au and The Wharf Mooloolaba.