Australasian Winter Championship

Superb talent line-up with more to enter

10 May 2016 Author: Tracey Johnston

© Teri Dodds

2016 Etchells Australasian Championship - The list of entries to date indicates the 20th anniversary of the Evans Long Etchells Australasian Championship is going to be another year of outstanding competition for the annual event.

At the close of Early Bird entries there are 35 teams from across Australia and New Zealand.

The sailors are drawn from the broad spectrum of sailing classes and competitions, all together to pursue excellence in a pure one-design class.

Weekend warriors alongside national and world champions, World Match Racing Tour competitors, America’s Cup sailors past and recent, and Olympic champions past and future, will mix it up on the open-water course off Mooloolaba from June 9 to 12, 2016.

Mooloolaba Yacht Club event organising chair Trevor Martin says there are few of the top sailors missing from the entry list. “But then, there is still time for some of them to enter with another month to go before the racing starts,” Martin added.

Yachting Australia’s Performance Director, Peter Conde, who is in Rio visiting the Olympic sailing competition site at the moment, has somehow found the time within his incredibly busy schedule to grab the June weekend to get back on the water in among many of his sailing friends.

On the Mooloolaba race course with Conde, but racing with different skippers, will be Australian Sailing Squad members, Angus Galloway from the 470 class and Mitch Kennedy from the Laser standard class.

Galloway will be racing with Brisbane Fleet’s Bill Cuneo. They first raced together when they campaigned a Sharpie in 2012. “He hasn’t sailed an Etchells before,” Cuneo said.

Galloway and crew Joshua Dawson only recently finished their 2016 Olympic campaign.

“He is going to have some time off from the 470. It’s still his focus so this is a bit of a fill-in. He did think twice about sailing anything else but a 470. At least it (the Etchells) somehow is aligned with what he is doing, being a one-design class, so he can develop his strategy and tactical skills,” Cuneo added.

Kennedy will be racing with fellow Mooloolaba sailors, David Turton and his brother Andy. It’s a new combination for Turton who has previously only raced against Kennedy.

The Under-21 Laser class world champion has just competed in the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France, and has the Laser World Championship ahead of him before he heads back to Mooloolaba in time for the Australasians.

Kennedy expects the Etchells racing to be tight and “super tactical”.

“Hopefully Mooloolaba gives us some epic conditions with big wind and waves.

“I haven't done a heap of sailing on crewed boats so understanding my role within the team will be important and having Turton and the other boys to bounce ideas between will be a nice change,” Kennedy said.

On Fifteen, a crew tweak is about the only change skipper David Clark says he has done as the previous national champion prepares to battle for the Australasian’s trophy, which is a title that has so far eluded him.

This year he returns for the second time with a four-man crew which includes Mark Langford and Sean O’Rourke. “The reconfiguration to a four-up team is relatively new thing for me,” Clark said.

That team finished third in the Australian Championship in Melbourne in January.

“I feel pretty strong coming off the nationals. We thought we may have under-performed a little there. We were risk adverse going into that event so we thought third was a good result. That result was probably not a decent reflection on how strong we felt,” Clark added.

Since the national championship Clark’s team hasn’t done any racing. They will come to Mooloolaba refreshed and with the advantage of O’Rourke’s knowledge of his old home-town racing venue.

While the Fifteen team are off the water O’Rourke is racing with the World Match Racing Tour’s KA Match. He is in Copenhagen this week competing on the M32s in the Copenhagen Match Race. From there he will be back in Australia to visit Mooloolaba and work with the MYC’s Youth Development Squad ahead of the June regatta.

Entries to the 20th Evans Long Etchells Australasian Championship close on June 3, 2016.

The Notice of Race and online entry can be found at

© Teri Dodds

© Teri Dodds