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14 February 2017 John Curnow

Chris Hampton at the Nationals

"Chris Hampton at the Nationals"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

One of the best things about this gig is that I get to be in touch with all of you. True, some of you I know better than others, but it does not change the regard I have for all of you, and our great Class.

Several years ago now I started talking regularly with a quiet, almost reserved kind of guy. Looking at him, you could easily tell however that the still waters ran very, very deep. This sailor had the eye of the tiger all right!

It has been my great fortune to get to know him better over the time, and watch his results climb, as well. First he was knocking on the door of the top 10, then the top five. The in the last year he took out a major, then another. Inside that time he has also begun another journey. He is now a Governor, which is just terrific, seeing as he has only been sailing for around 12 years now.

He is Chris Hampton, and I asked him about his new role. “I was encouraged by Peter McNeill, and Anatole Masfen to put my name up for election as a Governor, followed by persuasive lobbying from David Ritchard. Having been in the Etchells Class for several years it was time to give something back.”

“I also saw the opportunity to improve decision making on some key issues and provide some direction. I am of course new to the role and only one of ten elected Governors so all about listening, conveying the views of skippers and crew and hopefully assist in steering the ship in the right direction.”

Another with whom I have had a few great chats of late is also a Governor, and probably more widely known. He’s our VP, David ‘Clarkey’ Clark. Effervescent as ever, he opened up our dialogue with, “The recent election of International Governors means we now have great representation with seven Aussie Governors (listed in the President’s Report), including our new Chair Grantham Kitto. This means our members here in Oz have no excuse in lending a Governor's ear to advance important issues!

“Bruce Nelson leads our One Design Technical Committee, but we have Aussies in Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey and I on the team, so if you have any One Design issues, then please consult with an ODTC member for a ruling. Also, don't forget the over-riding Class Rule in, ‘If these rules do not say you can, then you cannot!”

Moving on to equipment, Clarkey commented, “Our Australian suppliers, with Phil Smidmore at Pacesetter and John Denton at Whale Spar are both seeing unprecedented success and demand in terms of their supply of spars both here and overseas. No doubt this rides off the back of John Bertrand's victory at the Cowes Worlds with a Smidmore rig.”

As for racing, Clarkey stated, “In keeping with the times, and in addition to regular qualification within your fleet, it is now possible to qualify for the World Championships via a qualifying event, which is typically a national title. So don't think you are precluded from competing in a Worlds if for whatever reason you have not qualified via your fleet. i.e. there is now an alternative qualifying mechanism, and for specific details check out Section 7 of the Championship Rules at”

On a final note, Clarkey clarified a pre-regatta issue for us, “After a great degree of dissatisfaction with the weigh-in demands at the Cowes Worlds, the Governors have agreed to the more traditional pre and also mid-regatta weigh-ins for the San Francisco Worlds later this year. I am more than happy to field any questions on any of these, or other important issues. It’s all in the interests of continuing to promote and grow our terrific Class!”

So I might not have seen many of you of late, but I’m always here if you need to talk or work something up into an article. Thanks!

Rock on,
John Curnow

David Clark at the Nationals

"David Clark at the Nationals"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,


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