Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club will conduct both the Etchells class NSW State and National championships in the lead up to the World Championship in Sydney in 2012.
The Etchells NSW State Championship will be held 17 to 20 November 2011. The Notice of Race and online entry system are now available on the event website. Racing in the championship will be over three days with eight races scheduled.
The Etchells National Championship will then be held 11 to 14 February 2012.
As the course area for both championships will be on the Palm Beach circle giving competitors the ample opportunity to practice open water racing similar to the course area for the Sydney worlds, the Pittwater Fleet expects a large number of Australian and overseas Etchells sailors will compete in the State championship and then store their boats at Pittwater between the events.
British sailor Laurence Mead, winner of Cowes Week 2011 and ninth in the 2009 Melbourne worlds, is one overseas competitor planning to have his boat and team at Pittwater well before the nationals. New Zealand’s Lindsay Kennedy is also planning to compete in the State titles as part of his team’s preparation for the 2012 worlds.
World and defending national champion, Australian John Bertrand, will bring his boat north to Sydney early to utilise the facilities at Pittwater for an extended pre-World training and competition program.
State Championship PRO, Stephen Merrington, said 'the club is offering owners a great storage rate of $500 for the period between the States and Nationals. We have completed a lot of work on the car park area adjacent to the Etchells hardstand to allow for boats staying over to remain fully rigged. The fleet will also be organising some coaching days with the details soon to be posted to the event website.'
With about 50 boats expected on the water for both events, Merrington has called together a strong race management team. 'The team has been running Etchells racing for about five years.
'I am the PRO for the States and will also be on board for the nationals. On the mark boat will be national race officer, Ted Anderson. On the pin boat will be another national race officer, Mitch Watkins. We have a team with experience in running races out on the Palm Beach circle.
'On the protest committee we will have in the chair Steve Hatch, an international juror.'
State Championship PRO Stephen Merrington enjoying working on the Airlie Beach Regatta before heading back south for the summer Etchells racing season -
'We are really looking forward to this event. The club is right behind it and we are pulling out all stops to make these Etchells events very successful.'
As the course area is approximately 1.5 nautical miles due east off Barrenjoey lighthouse, a good number of tow boats will be ready to assist entrants to reach the course area and return. With a fully-equipped ship chandlery and sail repair facilities on site at the club visiting Etchells sailors will have their equipment needs met.
The Notice of Race and Online Entry is available from the event website http://www.rpayc.com.au/etchells-states