It’s been last minute jitters around the hardstand at the Etchells World Championship 2012 after the race management team briefed the competitors on how they intend making this the best regatta the sailors have attended.
Registration details are almost completed, the teams have been weighed-in, there are just a few more headsails to be measured and all boats lifted in before the cut off time of 4pm.
Most teams have their paperwork in order and have headed out to participate in this afternoon’s practice race. The race will give the competitors and race management the opportunity to check out their gear and perhaps settle some of those last minute jitters.
The pond looks strangely quiet this afternoon, but only for a brief time.
Many of the skippers including USA’s Jud Smith plan to start the race, do a few legs and then peel off and continue their last minute training. John Bertrand and his crew though have chosen to stay ashore enjoying some peaceful time with his wife Rasa.
In charge of on-water operations is International Race Officer and Chair of the ISAF Race Management Sub-committee, Ross Wilson. He is being assisted by the host club’s Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Race Director, Rob Ridley, and Wilson’s brother Kevin who will be on the top mark boat. Wilson advised that with nine races in the program, 'we intend running a couple of races on the first day, a couple of races on the second day and then we will see what happens from there on in. If everything goes well, the plan is to 2/2/1/2/1/1,' Wilson said.
In this morning’s briefing Wilson notified the competitors that a copy of the race management policies for this championship would be available. Several key points were raised from this document including the race management team wanting a 'consistent breeze across the water. It’s got to be more than five knots across and it will be on the average over a five minute period from a drifting boat.'
Wilson also said the Signal Boat will be in the centre of line with about 500 metres on either side, making it longer than the start line used at the recent Australian Championship. He also noted that Mark 4, the rounding gate at the bottom mark, will be up the leg a bit above the start line.
'Try to stay behind the line. Try to get an idea where the line is because if you do have a Black Flag it will destroy your regatta from day one or day two. We will use a Black Flag if we think the line is fair, the wind is fair, but everyone wants to go early,' was a timely reminder from Wilson.
Racing commences tomorrow, Monday 20 February, with the first Warning Signal at 1200 hours.
The event is being hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.
Etchells Worlds 2012 website