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Update on the development of a Strategic Plan for our Australian Etchells Association

30 June 2017 Jill Connell



Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Following on from the members’ survey that was conducted last year, a project team has developed a draft strategic plan for our Australian Etchells Association (i.e. the IECAA or International Etchells Class Association of Australia). Developing the plan has taken substantially longer than we initially anticipated, due to the extensive nature of the discussions involved, focus on several more urgent IECAA priorities, such as resolving succession for the Etchells Class Measurer role, work commitments, family and other intervening commitments.

The plan is intended to be a substantial step forward, given that there has not been a documented strategic plan for many years. It is not intended to be perfect, and strategic plans should evolve as an organisation’s environment and circumstances change. The full plan will be available from on the members area of the IECAA website when the plan is finalised and ratified by the IECAA Executive Committee.

A summary of the draft the IECAA Strategic Plan 2017-2020:

1. Context

The purpose of the strategic plan is to provide strategic direction, including priorities, for the IECAA through to the 2020/21 IECAA year. The plan provides the overall direction and recommends that specific project groups be formed to develop detailed plans of action in specific areas, and/or to implement specific activities.

The strategic plan drew heavily on the results of the IECAA member survey results – thank you again to all members who completed the survey last year. The results of the survey are available in the members’ area of the IECAA website.

The project team included members from each of the four largest Etchells Fleets; two Etchells World Champions, who also provide expertise on Australian Sailing and/or finance; as well as two members of the Executive Committee. This team consisted of; -

  • Peter Coleman, Fleet Captain – Melbourne
  • Bruce Maloney, Fleet Captain - Swan River, during most of the plan’s development.
  • Noel Patterson, Fleet Captain - Brisbane
  • Mike Tyquin, Fleet Captain - Sydney
  • Jill Connell, Project Leader, IECAA Secretary, Sydney Fleet, and Pittwater Fleet
  • Andy Fethers, IECAA Assistant Secretary, Swan River Fleet, World Champion in Match Racing, and RC44, America’s Cup campaigns, professional sailor.
  • David Edwards, Olympian, World Champion (Etchells, Solings, Ynglings), GM Australian Sailing, Sydney Fleet.
  • Tom King OAM, Olympian, World Champion (Etchells, 470 and Mirror), Sydney Fleet.

All team members are contributing to this project on voluntary basis.

2. Situation Analysis

Includes membership statistics, key findings from the membership survey etc, etc. Please refer to the full plan when published

3. Vision for the Etchells Class in Australia:

“Sailors aspire to join and sail in the Etchells Class because it provides the best one-design keel boat racing in Australia, including high quality sailing, good sportsmanship, and enjoyable camaraderie.”

4. Mission for the International Etchells Association of Australia (IECAA):

The IECAA effectively manages the Etchells sailing class, which is the leading one-design keel boat sailing class in Australia.

5. Values

Sportsmanship and fair-play:

  1. Uphold the principles of sportsmanship and fair-play:
  2. Upholding the Racing Rules of Sailing, including (but not limited to) helping those in danger/distress; fair sailing; acceptance of the Racing Rules of Sailing; and taking the appropriate penalty if a rule is infringed.
  3. Upholding the Etchells class rules
  4. Sailing safely

Passion for one-design Etchells racing:

  1. Strive to achieve each team’s best performance in this relatively pure form of one-design keelboat sailing. i.e. it’s team sailing skills, not technology and gizmos that drive performance.
  2. Testing your team’s performance against the best many of the best sailors in the world

Encourage the depth of fleet:

  1. Enjoy one-design sailing across the depth of the fleet welcoming and encouraging sailors (from competent club to elite levels) to sail Etchells
  2. Recognising achievement and encouraging development at all levels across the depth of the Etchells Fleets
  3. Encouraging all levels of sailors to race against each other, and/or race on the same boat and/or to learn from each other
  4. Growing the Fleet by attracting more sailors
  5. Encourage sailors to develop their skills by sailing Etchells


  1. Enjoy a shared interest in sailing Etchells both on and off the water:
  2. Respecting competitors of all backgrounds, capabilities, genders, ages, ethnicity, professional/amateur status etc.
  3. Sharing learnings to help improve the Fleet and the level of racing.
  4. Developing camaraderie and friendships across the Fleet (local, national, international)
  5. Helping each other enjoy the whole experience associated with sailing Etchells.

Passion for the Etchells Class:

  1. The national and local Fleets uphold the above values while focusing on the best interest of their collective membership, including operating with transparency, integrity, and effective management disciplines.
  2. Members actively participate and volunteer to help ensure the Etchells Class is well managed and further developed.

6. Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)

A detailed SWOT analysis, which covers many aspects of the Associations activity, is included in the full strategic plan, which will be published shortly.

7. Strategic Imperatives and Lead Initiatives

The following table outlines the five strategic imperatives, and the lead initiatives within each. Supporting initiatives are outlined in the full strategic plan and provide more specific information of what needs to be done.

Strategic Imperative

Lead Initiatives

Effective Governance

  • Organisation structure and constitution
  • Effective administration
  • Sustainable financial model
  • Membership certification and technology
  • Strong international representation at Etchells Class decision forums (e.g. the International Governing Committee, and the International One-Design Technical Committee)
  • Succession planning


  • Leadership
  • Sportsmanship
  • Volunteering
  • Living the values (see point five)
  • Actively seek and appreciate member views

Class Development and Club Racing

  • Data and technology
  • Marketing and Communications (includes a recommendation to improve the
  • IECAA website)
  • Fleet development and Club engagement
  • Class rules advancements
  • Racing rules compliance

High Quality Regattas

  • Develop national calendar
  • Redefine class protocols for sanctioned events
  • Define major regatta requirements to promote high quality regattas
  • Introduce key regatta host club engagement plan and service level agreement
  • Racing rules compliance

Accessible True One-Design Boat

  • Appointment of Class Measurers
  • Define and implement measurement protocols
  • Review licensed builder succession and future relationship
  • Create vibrant second-hand market for Etchells boats

8. IECAA Objectives for 2017 to 2020

  • To return an operating surplus each year from financial year 2017/18 onwards
  • To increase membership numbers to 225 Full and 335 Associate members by end September 2018 (compared to 202 and 315 in 2015/16). And to retain membership of at least 210 Full and 320 Associate members on an ongoing basis.
  • To improve the weighted average response from 2.87 to 3+ on the survey question, “I am confident that the Etchells Association in Australia is doing a good job of understanding and catering to the interests of the Association’s members.”
  • To improve the weighted average response from 2.93 to 3+ on the survey question, “I am confident that the Etchells Association in Australia is keeping me well informed of development in the Class that affect me.”
  • To adopt and implement an updated constitution for the IECAA by end December 2018.

N.B. Further objectives are contained within the supporting initiatives section of the full strategic plan. A set of key performance indicators is also outlined in the detailed plan, with the intention that progress against these indicators is regularly, and transparently reported to members of the International Etchells Class Association of Australia.

Also included in the full plan is a high-level timetable for development and implementation of the recommended activities.

If you have any queries, comments, suggestions regarding this summary, please contact Jill Connell at

Jill Connell


International Etchells Class Association of Australia Inc.


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