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You could see how happy he was, and just knew he was going to win it!

30 June 2017 Michael Coxon

Michael Coxon, a delighted Mark Kennedy and Trevor Martin with that North Sails jib!

"Michael Coxon, a delighted Mark Kennedy and Trevor Martin with that North Sails jib!"

Photo by:
Alex McKinnon

Please take a look at the picture of Mark Kennedy winning the North Sails jib at the 2017 Line 7 Etchells Australasian Championship. He was thrilled. Being up there, announcing that local boat, Mojo, had won our $2000 jib, and then seeing him come forward was one of those great moments in our sport. The appreciation on his face was priceless!

Now the full story is as intriguing as Mojo were joyous with their prize. It was Mark’s fist time as Skipper on an Etchells, and just the second time he had been on one, with the first as a bowman for the World Championship that was held at Mooloolaba. Kennedy said, “I had a good feeling after coming 15th in the last race. We’re going to win this! I was thrilled when it happened.”

Of course, the draw consisted of those who had come 15th, 25th and 35th in each of the seven races, but you had to be there at presentation to collect the North Sails jib. If not, you lost it, and another name was drawn. Kennedy was there, but majority owner and mainsheet hand, Simon Ellis, and bowman, Lincoln Dews were not, so many indicate that they owe him big time. “Well I know own the headsail too”, quipped Kennedy.

“It was a last minute call up from Simon”, said the three-time Grand Masters World Champion in the Laser Radial. “We were so underweight. We had four lined up, but ended up 65kg underdone for the whole regatta! Lincoln is couple of kilos lighter than me and Simon is barely 80kg. I might have the taste for it now, as we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a fantastic regatta, and one that really appealed to me. Only inches in it, just like the Laser.”

“I love the way the Etchells point. We kept our nose clean for the whole regatta, and that is another highlight. Our aim was to find clear air and do our own thing, so we just stuck to that. You know, we could get serious out of this - to a degree – so we’ll talk about”, Kennedy said.

It is also interesting to note that Mark is Mitch Kennedy’s Dad. Mitch is one of our top 3 Laser sailors in Australia, which puts him in the top ten worldwide, and was with event organiser, Trevor Martin, on Just Too Funny. Martin also had another young gun on board in, James Hodgeson, and they had some stellar efforts, with a third place in Race Four being chief amongst them.

Kennedy Snr was born in New Zealand, and sailed P Class, Moths and Cherubs before moving onto big boats, where he raced a lot into the Pacific islands, as well as some cruising. A two-handed race landed him in Sydney from Noumea, where he got involved with the CYCA and joined the Southern Cross team with Sir Jim Hardy and Hugh Treharne. “I remember her well. She was the last boat with a masthead rig and bloopers etc. I found Mooloolaba after a race from Sydney, and have not moved on, teaching the kids to sail in Sabots, then I joined Mitch in the Laser.”

Looking at the whole fleet you see also that the results for North Sails were truly outstanding. We were exclusive on board the boats that held positions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, plus North Sails made the spinnakers on the 5th place, Fifteen+. It is a pretty emphatic statement of what we can do. Please call the office on 02 9998 8500 to talk Etchells with me.

It is important to note that the regatta also had 10 former Etchells World Champions as either Skipper or crew, and additionally, in many other classes too. Equally, there were Olympic Gold Medallists, Volvo Ocean Race veterans, and usually an America’s Cup star or two. Mooloolaba must have had 20-30% of the sailors fall into one of those categories. Presently, both Tom Slingsby and Glenn Ashby are involved in AC35, and they have both sailed with John Bertrand in the Etchells before, with Slingsby being there for the 2010 World title.

Finally, well done to the Mooloolaba Yacht Club on running a wonderful 21st edition of this now entrenched regatta in the Etchells calendar. If you have never done it, you should. It is terrific from on shore to off, and I thank David Dunn and Andrew Howe for having me on, Great White Hunter.

Michael Coxon

North Sails


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