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Brisbane: 39 Boats

26 August 2018 Noel Paterson

Patto enjoying it!

"Patto enjoying it!"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Without a doubt, this past season has been the most active in the 42-year history of Etchells racing at RQYS.

It goes without saying that the catalyst for this is the imminent World Championships, to be held here this October. It has been great to see some old faces on the start line once again, and to see many new faces, some new to Etchells, become part of this fleet. Looking forward and analysing the content of the Fleet, I believe that, as always, the fleet will dip in numbers post Worlds, however with the current group of sailors, I think we are in good shape to go forward with good numbers after the event.

Brisbane Fleet currently boasts a membership of 163 Owners and Associates, and 39 paid up boats. This arguably puts us at the top of the list as the strongest individual Etchells club fleet in Australia. This is a far cry from the late nineties, when the fleet almost folded. It has been a slow constant growth since those days, however we are well and truly going against the world sailing trend of diminishing fleets, with constant pressure from other sports and activities.

It is a goal of the current Brisbane Fleet Executive to initiate a youth program in Etchells, similar to those already existing in other fleets in Australia, and internationally in the post Worlds period. It may take the current committee a little while to catch its’ breath after 2018, but we are committed to the project. For this to occur we need benefactors... just saying!

This past season has been a significant test for the Brisbane Etchells Executive, RQYS Sailing Administration and Volunteers. The season was long, testing in a range of areas, however rewarding, because of the experience gained and processes that have been utilised and installed to go forward. Not all experience comes from a positive result, so we have learned from our shortcomings as well.

David Irvine as Worlds Steering Committee Chairman will give separate report, however it was pleasing to see 30 entries for the Worlds Qualification Series, which lasted all season. I am pleased to say that Brisbane Fleet will have 21 boats sailing in the event, an absolute milestone for this fleet. The Worlds Steering Committee has been in effect for four years now, and we are still talking to each other, so I guess that is a good thing. We have come a long way in that time, and our commitment to make this the best the best worlds ever has not changed.

I would sincerely like to thank the owners and occupiers of marina berths on C and D row for vacating their berths for the period of the Pre-Worlds (QLD Championship), and the World Championships. Their actions show true club spirit, and these events would not be possible without their generosity and unselfishness. So thank you, very much.

I would like to congratulate David Turton on his second in the National Championships in Perth. David’s top ten finish has also opened up the 21st qualifier spot for the Worlds, so thanks Turts.

It was hard for the local boys to get a look in at the Queensland Championships, however congrats must go to Dave Clark and the Smiths in, The Cure, Graeme Taylor and the crew of, Magpie, as well as Jeanne-Claude Strong’s outfit in, Yandoo XX, for taking out the podium positions. The first Brisbane boat was Peter Conde, who was fourth with, Encore. Well done Peter and crew. The event attracted 37 entries.

Similarly, the Brisbane Fleet Championships in April attracted 34 entries, with the local boats performing much better. First again was Dave Clark in, The Cure, with Matt Chew in, Gen XY’, taking second place, and once again, Peter Conde third with, Encore. This Championship was also the culmination of the qualifying series for the Brisbane boats, and the end of a long hard summer of racing.

My sincere thanks as usual to my old mate, David Healey, who is a tireless worker for this Fleet, and whose dedication to the job at hand never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Marty Sinclair, Jason Hawkins, Kevin Molen, Jenny Cooper, David Irvine, Bradley Ginnivan, Peter White, Sue Healey, Sherona Healey, Terry Passey, Louise Davis, Nev Willis, and all of the others who have assisted in any way to give this Fleet go forward.

The Volunteer group at RQYS are an amazing group of people, and I would sincerely like to thank all of the group for the way they have taken on the challenges this past season. There is great camaraderie between the Volunteer group, and the Etchells at RQYS, and this is bound to continue in the future.

We have much to do in the next three months, and I know the whole team is up for the challenge.

Noel Paterson
Brisbane Etchells Fleet Captain


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