Musto Etchells Winter Championship - Melbourne’s Barry boys are heading to Mooloolaba in June, instead of America, to start their campaign towards the Etchells World Championship in Sydney in February 2012.
This year's Etchells World Championship in San Diego is scheduled at the same time as the June long-weekend Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship in Mooloolaba.
The Barry crew is one of several Australasian teams choosing to compete in Mooloolaba instead of making the trek across to America. Some of the other teams joining them are Mark Thornburrow and Ante Razmilovic from Hong Kong and Alastair Gair from New Zealand.
Barry's Simon Cunnington said Damien King and himself were looking forward to getting back into small boat racing, that is, Etchells. Since their third place at the Etchells Worlds in Ireland in August 2010 they have been focusing on big boat sailing. Cunnington raced aboard 2010 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race winner, Secret Men's Business. He then went on to compete in the Farr 40 World Championship 2011 on board Ivan Wheen's Sputnik. King also competed in the Farr 40 event on board Southern Star with John Calvert-Jones.
The Barry team's decision to remain in Australia this winter has everything to do with following a focused program towards Sydney 2012. 'We considered what was the best possible lead-up program to the Sydney World Championship and decided that an Australian-based campaign was probably more value. Then we decided that if we were going to do a local training campaign then we would have to do the mid-winters,' Cunnington said.
The team of Damien King (helm), Simon Cunnington (mainsheet), Andy Butler (tactician) and James Ware (bowman) have been together for the last two World Championships. They finished second in Melbourne in 2009 then third at the Worlds in 2010. In between they won the mid-winters in 2009 and placed second in the 2010 nationals.
Even though the Musto Winters offers the team the chance to get out of cold Melbourne and bring their family with them for a sunny long weekend, they are also planning a very serious attack on this year's winter title bringing their own boat up from Melbourne for the first time and talking up a 100 per cent effort on behalf of the four crew. 'At that time of year, for most people, it is a major down time in sailing. As we want to get the best possible racing in before the Sydney worlds it (Musto winters) is for us the number one event in Australia prior to the Sydney worlds.'
In a fleet of about 55 Etchells, the Barry boys are highly likely to again be on the podium in 2011.