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Etchells Owner Survey

12 May 2020 Niesje Hees

Niesje Hees - I play online Scrabble, and my brother in Canada is a more serious Scrabble player, so I got him to mock up these two Scrabble boards

"Niesje Hees - I play online Scrabble, and my brother in Canada is a more serious Scrabble player, so I got him to mock up these two Scrabble boards"

The Executive of the Australian Association has been considering how best to support local fleets on the easing of restrictions. However, even before the COVID-19 lockdown, there was considerable discussion on how to best to promote the class, whilst also meeting the changing needs of members.

In late January, owners were invited to participate in a simple survey specific to regatta sailing. The results provided the Executive with valuable feedback, some of which supported changes to the running of the 2020 Victorian State Championship.

The response rate was very good for this type of survey (approximately 45% of participants responded). Whilst there were some differing views, as one would expect, there was also the strong emergence of consistent themes across the board.

Below are some of the key outcomes.

Coaching

Most agreed that dedicated coaching for Corinthian participants at the Australian Nationals was a great initiative, with ongoing support for its continuation at major regattas.

Inclusivity

While some Corinthians suggested a reluctance to participate in major events due to the increasing number of professionals, it was recognised that the ongoing increased participation of professionals at regattas is invaluable to the continuing growth of the class.

Moreover, coaching was seen as a good initiative to assist with increasing the skill level of Corinthians, as well as a greater focus being given to ensuring more enjoyable racing throughout the entire fleet.

At the Victorian State Championship, the shorter, multiple race format appeared to be popular with Corinthians and professionals alike. The Executive will continue to explore ways of ensuring regattas are a positive experience for everyone. Consideration is currently being given to mid-week mini regattas, a national regatta series (as seen with the TP52s for instance), teams and match racing.

Race Management

It was interesting to receive considerable feedback concerning race management. Many respondents asked for greater flexibility in starting times (e.g. to take advantage of the best weather conditions), as well as reducing the time in between races. There is a groundswell of support for short course racing.

Regattas cost and duration (time and cost commitment)

There were several respondents advocating trying to reign in entry costs. This is less easily achieved in view of the cost of running events often being outside the direct control of the class. However, at the 2020 Victorian State Championship, with a view to saving cost, racing was certainly prioritised while shore-based activities were reduced. For instance, a more traditional large prize giving made way for a simplified lower cost option.

Next steps

All of this input will be supplemented with consultation with your Fleet Captains over the coming months, to assist in determining the way forward, both out of COVID-19, and further into the future. We all hope to be sailing again very soon!

Niesje Hees

IECCA Secretary

Niesje Hees out sailing her Etchells

"Niesje Hees out sailing her Etchells"

Photo by:
John Curnow









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