The Etchells Gold Coast Championship and Australasian Championship were sailed from the Southport Yacht Club from 28-29 and 28-30 May 2022 respectively.
Martin Hill, Julian Plante, Sean O’Rourke and Mathew Belcher sailing on Lisa Rose AUS1449 took both titles by one point over Cam Miles, Grant Crowle and David “Towers” Sampson on Tango AUS874.
After a lack of breeze and rough sea state forced day one to be abandoned, day two could not have been more different with a lack of swell and solid but shifty breeze from the north-west varying from 12-21 knots.
“The conditions for the sailors were very shifty with the breeze coming from the West to North-West throughout the day. We saw gusts of up to 21 knots, averaging 12 knots and shifts of up to 35 degrees at times” said Race Officer and Southport Yacht Club Sailing Operations Manager, Simon Turpin.
Race 1 was set at 295 degrees, with a windward work length of 1.1 nautical miles at an average of 12 knots.
AUS1435 Flying High skippered by JC Strong with Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Joel Beashel, won the start in the middle of the line directly to windward of AUS1449 Lisa Rose who went on to lead around the top mark.
Hill was never headed and went on to win the first race from AUS874 Tango and the team on AUS1435 Flying High.
Race 2 was also set at 295 degrees, but the Race Committee shortened up the course to 0.9nm to make sure races were completed in optimum time to ensure a series.
AUS1435 Flying High again won the start, this time at the pin, but again AUS1449 Lisa Rose took the lead by the top out of the left, and the final results were identical in the second to the first race of the series for the podium.
The breeze continued to swing left and also built, and the Race Committee adjusted the course to 270 degrees, and a 0.8nm beat for Race 3.
AUS874 Tango won the start at the pin, however, AUS1449 Lisa Rose again gained out of the left at the top of the beat and were first to round over AUS1291 and then AUS874 Tango.
Second and third at the top reversed on the second work, and we again saw Hill and Miles take the top two for the third time in a row.
Race 4 was set at 265 degrees to account for even more left in the breeze, at 0.75nm.
AUS874 Tango were the first to take a win from AUS1449 Lisa Rose, followed by AUS1433 Encore skippered by Mark Crier with Robbie Gibbs and Andy Fethers and AUS1435 Flying High.
The final race of the series was led by AUS874 from start to finish after a cracking pin end start, and Lisa Rose finished second which was just enough to give them the win in the Gold Coast Championship.
Day three for the Etchells Australasian Championship unfortunately saw no racing due to the Gale Force Wind Warning for the Gold Coast. With day two the only day where racing was feasible the result for the Etchells Australasian Championship also came down to the five races from Sunday 29 May.
“Can I just say thank you to Wayne and all of the SYC volunteers for putting on this regatta. We love the class and supporting it, so hopefully we will see you all at Brisbane in a few weeks to beat up on Martin [Hill]” said Cam Miles, skipper of AUS874 Tango, second placed overall, and winner of the Classic and Grand Masters divisions for the Gold Coast & Australasian Championships.
“We were trying a few things at this regatta, so we were happy with the result and where we are at as a team leading into the worlds in September” said Mat Belcher for AUS1449 Lisa Rose, winners of both the Gold Coast Championship and Australasian Championship.
Belcher is the most decorated Australian sailing Olympian, with two golds and a silver, and was the closing ceremony flag bearer in Tokyo.
“For me personally it was fantastic to be back at the SYC which is home for me, and to race offshore in one of my favourite classes on arguably one of the best race tracks in Australia” said Belcher of his home waters.
“Racing at Southport Yacht Club for the International Etchells Class is always popular on our beautiful ocean waters” echoed Simon Turpin.
“Etchells are one of the most exciting classes that offer perfect one design racing which attracts professional sailors from all over the world. It’s a privilege to have them racing at SYC throughout our sailing season and especially when hosting these major regattas.”
Follow Etchells Australia on Facebook to re-live the live action from this regatta, and to follow the class in future.
Race 1: https://fb.watch/djPhc02oPk/
Race 2: https://fb.watch/djPgGXtGYu/
Race 3: https://fb.watch/djPg1LRzVz/
Race 4: https://fb.watch/djPeH6OS5N/
Race 5: https://fb.watch/djPdL-2ziA/
AUS1433 Encore – Mark Crier, Robbie Gibbs and Andy Fethers
AUS1347 Fair Dinkum – Ben Leigh-Smith, Steve Shale, Jabin Crisp
AUS1435 Flying High – JC Strong
AUS1449 Lisa Rose – Martin Hill, Julian Plante, Sean O’Rourke, Mathew Belcher
AUS874 Tango – Cam Miles, Grant Crowle, David Sampson
AUS874 Tango – Cam Miles, Grant Crowle, David Sampson
This regatta would not have been possible without a fantastic group of sponsors; Harken, North Sails, Bosun’s Locker, and Whale Spars.
The media sponsor for this event, and a number of other Etchells Australia events this year is a major supporter of the class, HillPDA.
Next up for the Etchells is the Waterloo Winter Cup at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. For more information on all upcoming events head to www.etchells.org.au.