QLD State Championship
23 September 2014
Sailing is more than a sport. Quite literally, it is more than a pastime, too. It certainly is a passion, but maybe, just maybe, it can best be described as therapy. Stresses seem to disappear around boats and the ones that arrive as a result of being close to a vessel do appear to get solved somewhat smartly, due mainly to the captive audience nature of the people around.
Yes. That calming force has no doubt been responsible for people taking on things they hitherto thought impossible, or swore they would never approach again. Just look at the price of used wet weather gear in Hobart before New Year's Day and right after a bad run South.
One man who has really enjoyed his therapy of late, is Noel 'Patto' Paterson. The former Etchells Australia President and Elected International Governor has been recuperating whilst renovating his Etchells, Waterloo Bay. She took to the water over the weekend, after a small, but salubrious affair and the results indicate he will be there or thereabouts when the first race of the LJ Hooker 2014 Etchells Queensland State Championship begins on October 4.
Talking about the cathartic nature of the huge job he undertook, Patto said, "The boat had been a construction site until 1815hrs on Friday night. I have been the well and truly 'busy', more like frantic, but the restoration has been a bit of therapy for me over the past three months as I build back up to full health. I could not wait to get on board that boat and go racing."
Patto then added, "We did hold a low-key ceremony, with my other half Donna doing the Champers thing. I actually put a drill through the bottom of the hull (the first time ever for me ) during all the work, so I left it there for the last month to purge me of the guilt for being so careless. We sailed with it still in place on Saturday and got a second and a third place!" Time will tell if this added appendage not only meets the eye of the Measurer, but stays for the championship proper.
Now whether it is in his Finn or beloved Etchells, Brisbane Etchells Fleet Captain, John Warlow, loves his on water therapy. A lot of the family have also been similarly afflicted, but we won't be seeing any bumps and grinds on the track this time. Warlow explains, "My daughter, Genevieve, is doing her exams for her law degree and wont come out of hiding until she is done."
"However, I have managed to get her significant other, Jimmy Chillman, to sail bow with me this weekend. Jimmy is with Quantum sails and provides me with exceptional service and repairs to my sails, because he knows what is good for him. Jimmy sailed with Bertrand in a Mid-winter Australasian Championship a few years back and is very accomplished yachtie. Some people think that I have always needed a lawyer and a sail maker in the family, but I don't know what they are talking about..."
A very proud Warlow also added, "The newest Pacesetter Etchells from Phil Smidmore is coming to Brisbane. Designated AUS 1422, this officially makes it the newest boat in the world."
Someone who has taken to the Etchells therapy like vinylester resin that has completely gone off, is Jill Connell. Jill is yet another Interstater to benefit from the stupendous hospitality of the Queenslanders. She's been lucky enough to secure the use of David Healey's old boat, AUS 1144, which is currently for sale due to the arrival of his new one.
Over the last year or so, and under the tutelage of sailing luminaries like Wade 'Bubs' Morgan and Peter 'Billy' Merrington, Jill has gone from crew on a racing yacht, to driver of her own One Design keelboat. "I'm just so lucky to be sailing with Bubs and Billy!!! Of course I also really appreciate being able to borrow David's boat for the regatta, as well. I'm so looking forward to the regatta and I know we all are keen to be part of the LJ Hooker 2014 Etchells Queensland State Championship."
"Wade is coaching me in the Etchells. We are focused on an ongoing training program; a step by step campaign working towards improving my sailing, and then over time, achieving some longer term goals. This event will be an opportunity to gain more regatta experience. The coaching has already made a substantial difference, with lots more to learn, which is all part of the Etchells appeal. Pete has also been fabulous with helping me to get started in Etchells sailing. Racing with two such elite sailors will be an amazing experience", Connell commented. So we can take it that this "...really will be even better than retail therapy!" And indeed those are Jill's own words.
Sound like you might need some additional therapy? Come join in. There'll be plenty of sun, water, fun, excitement and legendary hospitality on offer at the LJ Hooker Etchells Queensland State Championships. These are to be held over the weekend of the 4 to 6 October 2014. See etchellsbrisbane.com or etchells.org.au for all the key information and to book in for that all-important first test of the season.