GEN XY (AUS 864) helmed by Matthew Chew may just be the boat to beat at the impending Etchells World Championship being staged in Sydney next week. Representing Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, the GEN XY team placed a credible sixth overall in the Australian Championship which concluded on Tuesday, proving to the more experienced Etchells ‘old boys’ that they can mix it with the best of them.
Helmsman Matthew Chew is no stranger to the ferocity of competition in the class, with already one Etchells World Championship title under his belt, when he crewed for Jason Muir in the 2009 Worlds held in Melbourne.
Mainsheet hand Adrian Finglas holds a wealth of experience, previously winning no less than nine National championships in various classes of dinghies - not to mention his involvement as a Trimmer in Americas Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns.
Trimmer Paul Wyatt also featured in the 2009 Etchells worlds winning crew and is a four time National champion in various dinghy and keelboat classes.
Tactician and bowman Darren ‘ Twirler’ Jones may bring to the table the longest list of accomplishments. Holding five World championship titles from Farr 30s to Farr 40s and Swan 45s, a host of Australian, American and European keelboat titles, as well as involvement in numerous Sydney/Hobart, Transpac and Americas Cup races, ‘Twirler’ is no stranger to the pointy end of a tough fleet.
The formidable team admit that they haven’t been sailing together all that long – with the Zhik Etchells Nationals being their first major regatta as a crew. Apart from the Qld State titles and the NSW Etchells championship where they finished fourth, training days for the team have been few and far between. And it showed – in the first race of the Nationals where the team placed 28th. After a bad start they found themselves deep, but managed to work their way back up the fleet.
For the rest of the regatta they managed to average around fourth and fifth place in the vastly competitive fleet, where just about everyone seemed to be going up and down the scoreboard like yo-yos. Finishing in sixth place overall, the GEN XY team agrees that the Zhik Etchells Nationals were a good warm-up event.
'It definitely took the Nationals to smooth out the crew-work on our boat and get our own job descriptions defined' said ‘Twirler’. 'Our team will only get better as the Worlds progress. Being a relatively new crew, our goal will be to finish in the top 15 boats every race – then hopefully when it comes down to the last few races we will be in with a chance.'
The GEN XY team are not overly concerned about weather conditions for the forthcoming Championship – citing that they would be happy with wind speeds of anywhere between zero to 25 knots. With the World Championships planned to be held in the Manly Circle off North Head, sea conditions will be similar to those experienced during the Nationals, which were held outside Pittwater.
'Potentially if we can get off the line well in each race, we will be able to get ourselves into a good position by mid-regatta, by then our crew work should be more defined and we should really hit our straps. There are just so many close rivals in this fleet – anyone of about 15 boats has the ability to win the Worlds.'
The team have a few days to prepare and train before the World Championships officially commence with an invitation race on Sunday 19th February. The first race of the nine-race series kicks off on Monday.
2012 Etchells World Championship event website: http://www.etchellsworlds2012.org/worlds/
Full results from the Zhik Etchells Australian Championship: http://www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/39647/overall_1.html
More on the GEN XY crew profile at Darren Jones Yachting: http://www.darrentwirlerjones.com/