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Geelong: look to harness the Festival of Sails

14 February 2017 Rod Hagebols

Voodoo Spirit, (Helm) Guyon Wilson, (Middle) Ben Ramage, (Bow) Alastair Lee

"Voodoo Spirit, (Helm) Guyon Wilson, (Middle) Ben Ramage, (Bow) Alastair Lee"

Photo by:
Tom Smeaton

The Geelong Etchells fleet has been working hard to encourage current class members, along with new potential sailors to join the sailing fun over the Summer months. The Geelong fleet faces many challenges, as do lots of other fleets around the World.

The biggest issue for the first part of the season was the weather, we couldn’t manage to get a Saturday where the wind was suitable for racing - one extreme to the other. Yet despite the weather, we have had some good racing in mostly light winds.

My wife Mandy and I purchased Gary Sheard’s, Wicked, AUS1123. We came out of the box strong and won the first race. However the old sailing Sea Dog, Guyon Wilson, has been undefeated ever since. I am not sure what program he is on, but we have been watching his team closely to see what special techniques they might be employing. There seems to be a lot of beer involved.

In an effort to get new people into the class and get more exposure, the Geelong Fleet has deployed some ‘Come Try’ days, as well as a North Sails clinic provided by Sam Haines. The North’s Clinic was extremely helpful to the local sailors. Sam gave some special insights to the Etchells latest tuning, and set ups for most conditions.

We have also got our Etchells Geelong Facebook page up and running, which is a good tool for giving the class some exposure on social media. Over the Xmas and January period the Royal Geelong YC goes into ‘Festival of Sails’ mode, so we don’t get much sailing in until early February. It would be great if we could get an Etchells class at the next Festival of Sails, if it didn’t clash with Nationals. Something we might look into…

Some of the Geelong fleet are looking to head across the Bay to Royal Brighton YC for the Victorian State Titles. Hopefully we can get a good squad to go, and give the locals in Melbourne a run for their money. Worlds Qualifiers start in two weeks, so we are looking forward to that too. That about sums up our season so far. Summer seems to have finally arrived here in Geelong, so we should get some good racing in for the last part of the season.

Geelong Fleet Captain
Rod Hagebols


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