Sunday, 31 May 2009

Musto Etchells Australian Winter Championships 2009

Etchells Mid-Winters - Second in Worlds, but still to win in Mooloolaba

by Rob Kothe

This coming Friday morning a top class fleet of more than 50 Etchells One Design boats will start three days of intense racing for the 2009 Musto Winter National Championship, to be sailed off Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Amongst the favourites in the fleet will be four Victorian sailors; Damien King, Simon Cunnington, James Ware and Andrew Butler who, aboard their boat called Barry, finished second in the hard fought 2009 Etchells World Championships on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne.

Why was the boat called Barry? 'It was the most un-nautical name we could think of!' laughs skipper Damien King who co-owns Barry with the mid boat crew Simon Cunnington.

On a cold Melbourne morning this week King was looking forward to the trip north. 'We were very pleased with our second place at the Worlds. To finish anywhere in the top ten would have made us happy. Now we'd like to improve on our best Australian Mid-Winters title result, which was a fourth in 2007.

We're chartering a Mooloolaba boat called Fury, which is the same boat we used last time when we came fourth. It is identical to our Barry. Both are Australian built Bashford boats, three hulls after each other, out of the moulds.

'I think that the good thing about the Etchells class is that there is a very good depth of talent all the way through. I believe the one thing that brings you to the Etchells class racing is that it does have such a significant depth of experience.

'Anyone can pull off a regatta win - if they are on the pace, pick the wind shifts, get clean air and have some luck!

'We focus on trying to get a top ten result in every race. That's just our process. I think towards the last third of the regatta you start to figure out who you need to not let get too far away from you. Leading into the regatta we had no expectation on who's going to be the favourite, we are just looking forward to another great offshore event.

'I'll be getting to Mooloolaba on Wednesday with my wife and three children.

'Our six year old twin girls can't wait to get to Australia Zoo and the Underwater World aquarium. We're staying at the Sirocco Apartments and the family can see the racing from there, so they enjoy that.

'One of the reasons why Mooloolaba is such a popular venue ... it's easy for Dad to be 'allowed' to go sailing there because Mum and the kids enjoy the area so much.'

The Musto Etchells Australian Winter Championship 2009 is proudly supported by Musto Australia, Queensland Events Regional Development Program, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Newport Apartments, The Wharf Tavern, The Wharf Mooloolaba,, Waterfront & Coastal Property, Sun Air Bus Services,, Ullman Sails and Sunsport Marine.

Musto Etchells Winter Championships 2009

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