Sydney Fleet Captain’s Report August 2019

Last year I wrote that the fleet, as with the national fleet, has become more oriented around regatta format sailing, and 2018/19 saw a continuation of this trend.

The positive side of this has been the great attendance by, and success of, Sydney Fleet crews at major regattas.

The success of Martin Hill, Julian Plante, Matt Belcher and Sean O’Rourke in a 90+ boat fleet in Brisbane was a wonderful achievement by Martin and his team. To then have Iain Murray win his second World Championship (25 years after his first) with Colin Beashel (his 3rd) and Richie Allanson in Texas in June in a smaller but talent-laden fleet was equally meritorious.

In addition to these results it should be noted that Sydney Fleet boats currently hold the Australian Championship (Iain, Colin and Richie), NSW Championship (Colin, Richie and Henry Kernot), the Queensland Championship / 2018 Pre-Worlds (Tom King, David Edwards, Ivan Wheen and Greg O’Shea). In addition James Mayo and Richie won the Victorian States with Graeme Taylor.

My sense is that this level of success is unprecedented. Congratulations. The preparation of the top Sydney crews has clearly been a huge part of the success but also has contributed much to the class in the last few years. In particular, Richie Allanson should be recognised for assisting many people in our fleet and reinvigorating the sale of new Australian built Etchells.

Beyond the winners, our fleet has been the most travelled fleet of all in Australia and proven that across our fleet, both home and away, there is great competition to be had.

The travel of our fleet and particularly the timing of the Brisbane Worlds - most of our 16 boats were based in Brisbane leading up to the regatta and understandably had a break after - meant that the start of last season was a bit slow in terms of numbers, however this recovered after Christmas and peaked for the Eaton Cup Mini Regatta on the last day of the season with John Bertrand visiting and besting a 24 boat fleet.

Across our Club racing, Christian Brook took the Club Championship and Mini Regatta pointscores.

Our fleet member numbers were down on the year prior which had benefitted from members being attracted by our hosting of the NSW State Championships.

The Milsons Silver Goblets attracted a usual high quality fleet in good numbers with Rupert Henry stepping in for Tom King on board Iron Lotus with David Edwards, Ivan Wheen and Greg O’Shea for the win.

Over the winter we tested a training weekend format with thanks to JC Strong, GT and James Mayo’s support that was well attended by 11 boats. We have taken some very high quality drone footage that will be converted into a training video for use by the fleet. The format used will be the basis of the training days scheduled for the upcoming season.

Following last year’s AGM, we did address the cost of Etchells sailing with RSYS. At this stage RSYS is not inclined to directly reduce costs however is open to other in kind opportunities which are yet to be assessed by the fleet.

 

Fleet development and 2019/20 program

Looking at race day numbers in last few seasons and working with RSYS, the Committee has made some changes to the 2019/20 season with the intention to simplify the calendar and drive participation.

The guiding principles have been to:

  • Create a clear calendar of key events
  • Simplify the pointscore model
  • Avoid clashes where possible with other major events (eg CYCA BWS)
  • Manage RSYS calendar events particularly after Christmas that has limited scheduling
  • Have specific dates for training and fleet development baked into the calendar

 

The key changes are;

  • There are two separate pointscores for the season
    • Club Championship comprising single race days
    • Mini regattas comprising 3 race days
  • Milsons Silver Goblets will be November, Monday to Friday
  • World Championship qualifiers – to be held across February and March 2020
  • Creation of stand alone non-pointscore days that will be used as training / development days – there will still be a 1245 start line but will be a non PS race
  • Creation of specific Corinthian categories for pointscores

 

Development program

The Committee now has engagement with the RSYS Youth Committee and we hope to be able to more effectively link crews to owners.

Following last year’s call for owners’ interest in supporting the establishment of a development path, we have two owners who have generously indicated that they have boats available for use.

The Committee has also considered acquiring up to two additional boats to provide a total of four boats that would on clear terms be available for use on a full season commitment basis to crews (approx. 20-26 years). One of the key dependencies is

that we would require RSYS to forego hardstand fees and subject to agreement at the AGM, a formal proposal will be finalised to table with RSYS.

 

Future Regattas

With Perth hosting the 2020 Worlds and Melbourne hosting the 2023 Worlds, it is important that our own fleet has a clear regatta plan. We seem likely to host the NSW state championship in 2022 and based on the State based rotation for the Australian Championship, the 2022 /23 Nationals.

Good sailing and I look forward to seeing you for our new season in a few weeks.

 

Mike Tyquin

August 2019


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