Australasian Winter Championship

North Sails head North to Mooloolaba

29 April 2017 Author: John Curnow
The late Roger Hickman has been a previous winner of a North Sails jib

 The late Roger Hickman has been a previous winner of a North Sails jib
© John Curnow

Since the announcement of Line 7 as the naming rights sponsor for the 2017 Etchells Australasian Championship there has been a 80% increase in entries already. No doubt the notion of cool regatta shirts, as well as the ubiquitous on and off the water activities Mooloolaba is synonymous for, has everyone inspired.

Now the regatta will once again have one of North Sails prized jibs as a feature prize. There are new guidelines as to how it will be won, and effectively, unless you are on the podium, your final result will not affect your chances of winning the coveted jib. It could in fact enhance your odds.

Michael Coxon from North Sails explained, “We are certainly keen to be part of it all and will be there with the jib for the lucky crew. We will nominate three places across the entire fleet from each race and put them all in the draw. With up to seven races, that means there could be up to 21 potential winners!”

“As for rules it is pretty simple. You can only have the one ticket per boat, you cannot finish the regatta on the podium, and very importantly, you must be at the presentation to win. No doubt this will keep everyone guessing until the end and build even more early interest in this well-known regatta.” As we saw in the opening line, Coxon actually has a point. He will also be there first hand to deliver the prize, as he is sailing with David Dunn on, Great White Hunter (AUS1401).

Right then, early bird entry for the 21st running of the event, and the opportunity to save money, closes on May 5. This of course means the actual dates of June 8-11 are only just around the corner! Get onto it via!the Mooloolaba Yacht Club website!new. Given that it is usually a 40+boat fleet, you might then look into accommodation, with the Newport Apartments always a popular choice. Do use the magic ‘Etchells’ word when making your booking, however.

One person who has won the Line 7 Etchells Australasian Championship as both crew and driver is Graeme Taylor. As the reigning Australian Champions on Magpie, Taylor said, “We sure are going. It will be Steve Jarvin, James Mayo and I. Haven't been there for three years, so we’re looking forward to some great racing in the sun!!”

James Mayo added, “This is an important regatta, as we are on our road to the 2018 World Championships. We would love to be doing a lot more sailing, but we have other commitments outside, so if we can minimise the mistakes and sail well as a team, then the results normally take care of themselves.”

He has been at many a regatta, including the Worlds at Cowes last year, but could well be best known for running the hugely successful 2016 Australian Championship at Brighton. He is Peter Coleman from Shouda Gone Left (Wayne), and he said of Mooloolaba, “We had a couple of years off, but made our comeback for the last two years. It is a kind of a ‘must do’ regatta, as it’s just fantastic to catch up with friends in the Etchells Class from all over the country.”

“It is a big effort for everyone to be there, which makes it even more fun when everyone gets together... Oh, I expect the sailing is good for two of the three days as well. So even if you do not want to sail, there are a lot of things to do in lovely Mooloolaba.... They make both the social and sailing side so great. See you all there!”

As a class, Etchells always have plenty of World Champion, Olympic, America’s Cup and Round the World sailors on hand. Peter McNeill certainly fits that bill, and it seems his crew does as well! “Yes, we will be at Mooloolaba for the Etchells Australasian Winter Championship again this year, for sure. David Gleadhill, my long-time middleman, can’t make it this timer, so I have 2004 49er Class Olympian, Gary Boyd taking his place. Former 505 World Champion, Dean Blatchford, will be the bowman. We are all from Lake Macquarie and have sailed together before, so fingers crossed we can put in a good showing.”

In closing, event organiser, Trevor Martin said, “It is great to see North sails coming on board once again supporting this fantastic event, and making sure that all Etchells sailors have a chance of using their magnificent sails. Everyone can be the new owner of the jib from North Sails, and that is just terrific, for it sits well with the whole inclusion aspect that the Class and this regatta are so famous for.”

So enter now via or follow the links from for the greatest One Design Class in the region.