The 2019 Etchells Brisbane Fleet Championships have been run and won last weekend. Of note is the 6th place team, sailing Rogue, of Mitchell Miller, Lachlan Prentice, Samantha Costin and Cooper Richmond. These four sailors make up the initial Youth Team from Etchells Brisbane.
From great things, better things follow. From all reports and competitors feedback, the 2018 Etchells Worlds was a fantastic regatta, organised by Etchells Brisbane and hosted by Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, so it is great to see this as a legacy project. With the support of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Etchells Brisbane has secured a boat (Rogue AUS 1130), courtesy of long time Fleet member and supporter Hume Campbell (of Riverside Marine fame). With the foresight and energy of the Etchells Brisbane executive, lead by Fleet Captain Noel Paterson, Greg Kemp has been appointed Boat Captain and the skipper and crew established. The requirements to make the team are simple; be 25 or under and have the drive and commitment to succeed. To this end, Noel Paterson said “it was great to witness all four sailors preparing and polishing the boat in preparation for the Fleet Championships last weekend. With our support the kids can go as far as their commitment and drive will take them. This is not a free ride so we look for those youth that are able to commit fully to the program. At this stage it would be great to see them compete in the Australasian Championships in Mooloolaba in June. We are putting that together now, so watch this space.”
Greg Kemp, as Boat Captain, is enthusiastic for the venture, and not just on the short term. Greg was an invaluable part of the 2018 Etchells Worlds team, playing a crucial role in boat measurement. Greg is also an Etchells owner and active member of the Etchells Brisbane Fleet said “Looking for youth between 17 – 24 years old who have sufficient sailing experience to achieve and participate at a high level. We were lucky enough to have 7 – 8 youth apply. Our first team achieved 6th out of 15 boats in the Fleet Championships last weekend, we will have additional coaching over the winter with the hope of competing in the 2019 Australasian Championships in Mooloolaba in June. We will then look for a second boat, compete in the 2019/20 season at RQYS with a view to also participating in the Etchells Worlds 2020 in Perth, Western Australia.”
Of their performance last weekend, skipper Mitchell Miller said “It was a great introduction to Etchells sailing. The first day had a bit on, a fair bit of wind (gusting to 25 knots). Second day was a bit difficult but really good. In the future, if we get the opportunity, we would like to do a lot more regatta racing, but for now we need to spend more time on the water as a team … this is awesome stuff, really competitive.” It was also noted that, with an average age on board of 17, their participation greatly reduced the average age of the Etchells fleet.
Youth programs are now active in New York (US Youth Etchells Team), Cowes, UK, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Royal Perth Yacht Club/Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. There is also international competition between New York, Cowes and Perth and it is envisaged that, within the not too distant future (firmly planting the seed) other Youth Teams may join this. Etchells Worlds 2020 may provide for this opportunity.
A huge thank you to all personnel involved and to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for their continued support.
-written by David Irvine
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