Musto Etchells Winter Nationals - a sailing institution
For the 13th year in a row a top class fleet will be assembling in Mooloolaba on Queensland's south east coast, for the Musto 2009 Etchells Australian Winter championship being sailed from June 4-7th, over the June long-weekend.
While World Championships and Australian Summer Nationals move venues every year, the Winter Nationals stay in Mooloolaba.
Trevor Martin, the local Etchells fleet captain, says the Musto Mooloolaba Winter Nationals are an institution on the Asia Pacific Sailing Calendar.
'We're shaping up at the moment towards 50 boats, very similar numbers to 2007 and 2008.
'When you think the 2009 World Championships were held in Melbourne in March, it's a strong support vote for this event and a pretty amazing back-up for sailors when holiday time is so precious.'
The first Winter Championship was conducted in Mooloolaba in 1997. It attracted 25 boats and was won by Brisbane skipper David Rose, who will be on starting line again this year.
Since the first regatta the event has grown from strength to strength with previous winners including a 'who is who' of international sailing. Russell Coutts (1998), Ian Johnston (1999), Julian Plante (2000), Michael Coxon (2001), Mark Bradford (2002), Cameron Appleton (2003), Grant Wharington (2004), Rob Brown (2005), Cameron Miles (2006), Skip Lissiman (2007) and Graeme Taylor (2008) have all proudly held the Etchells Australian Winter Championship trophy.
The runners up have been well known too, and include John Bertrand, Grant Simmer, Iain Murray, Colin Beashel and Noel Drennan.
'Why would the sailors not keep coming back?' asks the fleet captain.
'The sailing is just unbelievable. Within five minutes of leaving the dock the fleet is out in the deep blue sea. The Mooloolaba ocean course provides good offshore racing.
'And, when we get back to shore, the great hospitality of the locals continues to make me proud to be a part of this event,' Martin adds.
'It is intense racing but it's a relaxed atmosphere. The location is excellent and transport is great. The boats are at The Wharf so most everyone is staying put; that is their accommodation is close by. A lot of people I know are getting their boats transported and not even worrying about a car because all they need is within walking distance of the marina. The surf club and the pub are also very close.'
Martin says the Winter Championship is about giving all Etchells skippers and crews the chance to enjoy top class competition.
'Guys like Alastair Gair from New Zealand and Mark Thornburrow from Hong Kong come to our Mid-Winters because they want big fleet racing competition.
'The current Etchells World Champion Jason Muir recorded three thirds in the Mooloolaba Mid-Winters in 2004, 2007 and 2008 before he blasted the World Championship fleet away in the 2009.
'This is a very competitive class, but lots of us are weekend warriors. Even though we may find ourselves placing well down the results list, the opportunity of challenging top class sailors racing equally on one-design boats is just amazing. That is the beauty of Etchells racing.
'Sometimes the top sailors get knocked over by the weekend warriors. Now that's a great feeling when it happens.
'One of my best experiences of the Winters Nationals is being able to call starboard on the likes of John Bertrand and Cameron Miles. This year I'd like to do it to Damian King and some more of the top guns. It's a lot of fun and we have not even talked about the parties yet' grins Martin.
More information including on-line entry is available at Musto Etchells Australian Winter Championship 2009 www.mooetchells.yachting.org.au
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, Sail-World.com, Waterfront & Coastal Property, Sun Air Bus Services, QuestPhoto.net, Ullman Sails and Sunsport Marine.
The Wharf, Mooloolaba
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