The 2018 – 19 sailing season has been the most active and successful for the Brisbane Etchells Fleet since the fleet began racing at RQYS in 1976. Brisbane Etchells has hosted a plethora of regattas over the past four years in preparation for the Worlds last October. If that wasn’t enough, we then backed up to host the Nationals nine weeks later in January this year. In the months of September and October ‘18 RQYS conducted three regattas of 42, 70 and 94 Etchells over a six week period, outstanding.
Our Fleet expanded to a record thirty-nine paid up boats for the qualification series, the biggest fleet of Etchells in the country. With a home fleet exemption of 50% and a couple of quirks Brisbane Fleet was represented by twenty-two boats in the Worlds.
It is remarkable the amount of effort it takes to put on these events and to have ramped it up over the last three to four years to run extra events has highlighted the quality of support that Brisbane Etchells Fleet has from within and outside the group. I am humbled by the amount of support our Fleet has received from the RQYS sailing fraternity in general in our quest to run the best Worlds we possibly could. It was always our goal to run the best Worlds ever however I will leave it to others to judge the outcome, but the feedback has been impressive worldwide.
I would sincerely like to thank in particular the RQYS Volunteer group, skillfully managed by the dedicated Susie Jones. The Volunteer Group is an awesome bunch of people and there is absolutely no way any of the above would be possible without them. Thanks to Louise Davis our forever supportive IRO and her team for superb race management over a very long time. The Brisbane Fleet is forever in their debt.
Similarly, I would like to thank all of the various management areas for their support throughout last season and beyond. Brady and Rebecca in Sailing, Glen, Val and Kate in Marina, Beth, Belinda and Jess in House/Functions all did their utmost to turn our requests into reality.
Thanks to those members of Brisbane Fleet who have filled executive positions to make it all happen on a week to week basis, Laurie Wood as Secretary, Dave Healey, Treasurer and Jason Hawkins IT/ Website. Thanks guys for making it all happen for another year, and what a year it was.
Thanks to the Worlds Steering Committee for their years of tireless work to turn a wish list into reality. The core group of David Healey, Jason Hawkins, Peter White, Kevin Molen, Jenny Cooper, Marty Sinclair and yours truly worked through many high and low spots to keep it all on track although many times it seemed like we were going off road.
I have left our Chairman David Irvine until last because David’s contribution was most significant with tireless dedication to the cause to keep it all on track over an extended period of time. Dave’s cut to the chase style was what was needed to keep driving the process forward. He attended several World Championships prior to 2018 to keep potential competitors thinking RQYS/ Brisbane. His persistence brought competitors to RQYS in great numbers and Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and the Brisbane Etchells Fleet has benefited greatly by subsequent worldwide accolades for producing a benchmark standard event on the world stage. Thanks Eddie.
Congratulations to all of our podium finishers in this season of sailing …..
2018 World Championships
3rd Place ….. ‘Gen XY’ – Matt Chew, Brian Donovan, Ashley Deeks, Ben Vercoe
2018/19 Australian Championships
2nd Place .. ‘Gen XY’ – Matt Chew, Brian Donovan, Ashley Deeks, Mitch Kennedy
2019 Australasian Championships
1st Place … ‘Our Thing’ – David Turton, Josh Torpy, Julian Plante.
2019 RQYS – Club Champion
‘Rapscallion’ …. David Healey, Ian Miller, Kevin Molen.
Thanks to the generous support of long standing Brisbane Fleet member Hume Campbell we now boast an Etchells Youth Team. Hume has loaned his boat to the Fleet to support the program. The team is made up of Mitch Miller, Lachlan Prentice, Sam Costin and Cooper Richmond. The team competed in the recent Australasian Champs in Mooloolaba and will compete in the Queensland State Champs at the Gold Coast in November.
It is customary for a fleet to waiver subsequent to hosting a World Championship. It would appear not to be the case for Brisbane Fleet as although two boats have been sold post Worlds, we have had five new boats come into the fleet over the past months.
We note that the VX’s are running their Worlds in 2020 and wish them every success with the event and are happy to offer our assistance in any way we can should it be required.
I believe Dave Healey is pulling up stumps and I think the Fleet as a whole owes David a huge debt of gratitude for all of the countless hours he has devoted to the many tasks he has undertaken for it over many years. Dave’s dedication to detail is legendary and will be sorely missed all of us.
For me it is time to hang up the boots as Fleet Captain and pass it on to the new generation, I will not be standing for the position of Fleet Captain. My thanks to all with whom I have worked to serve this Fleet over past years, some ups some downs, but a hell of a ride. I look forward to lots of Etchells racing in the future.
Brisbane Etchells Fleet Captain
The new Brisbane Etchells Fleet Executive elected at the AGM last Saturday is…
Fleet Captain – Jason Hawkins
Treasurer – Chris Nezmah
Secretary – Lawrie Wood
Assistant Secretary – Jenny Cooper
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