Gosford Etchells Mix It With The Stars

CONGRATULATIONS to the Gosford sailors who competed in the National Etchells Championships hosted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club over a period of four days from January 12-15.

GSC representatives had fun mixing it with numerous national and world champions including winners Graeme Taylor, James Mayo and Steve Jarvin in Magpie (16 points), runners-up Ian Murray, Euan McNicol and Richard Allanson in Northern Havoc (19 points) and legend John Bertrand, Bill Browne and Jake Newman in Triad 2 (26 points).

It was a testing regatta with the sailors at times enduring heatwave temperatures and long waits for sailable breeze as competing weak fronts battled for supremacy. This resulted in only one race on the first day and none on another day, requiring earlier starts in a bid to catch up. Black flag starts were not uncommon and several boats paid the price scoring a BFD. In addition there was a sensational day of building breeze and swell culminating in an exhilarating works of 20 to 30 knots which unfortunately resulted in the final of three races that day being called off before the leaders hit the top mark. It was a fun flyer on the shy reach back to Pittwater when the fleet headed for home.

As is often the case consistency was the key factor to overall success. The red-hot first two placegetters did not win a single race, while Tango 2 (Chris Hampton, Mark Andrews and Sam Haines) enjoyed two wins but were sixth overall due to having to carry a tough final race result of 27 on their scorecard after an earlier 28 was dropped.  

Meanwhile the best performance from the Brisbane Water contingent was put in by Ivy, skippered by John Denton, crewed by Graeme Sheldon and Roy Leslie. The boys were happy to compete fiercely mid-fleet in most races, the best result a 23rd out of 45 entries and overall they finished 33rd. Ivy was hit by another competitor in the starting sequence of the last abandoned race, forcing them to seek assistance as they were taking on water. 

In the scorecard they were placed 7th in the masters division and fifth in the grand masters.

Gosford boat The Don, skippered by Don Wilson, with Justin Gurdol putting in the hard yards on the main and working hard on the spinnaker, and bowman Peter McIntosh, finished 43rd overall (13th masters) with the crew happy to see improvement from a 40th in race one to a 30th in the final race.

Another GSC member, Laser sailor Elyse Guevara-Rattay, was crewing aboard Whisper, which finished 27th overall.

Meanwhile, H20 Rat, skippered by Geoff Dilworth, crewed by Ian Bowie and Rod Pearson, fought gamely despite suffering from a difficult spinnaker wrap which forced them to retreat behind Barrenjoey headland to sort things out. All the newcomers at the Etchells nationals agreed it was a great experience which was far more challenging and demanding than the typical weekend racing on flat water. There was also a keen battle for the female helm honours, won by Jeanne-Claude Strong from Jill Connell.

For a link to Sailworld pics/report on the winners see: http://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Magpie-swoops-twice-at-Etchells-Australian-Championship/151095


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