Etchells make most of pristine Southerly at Royal Brighton Yacht Club

Day two of the Etchells Victorian State Championship was sailed today, Sunday 12 March, in a solid southerly from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club. The twenty boat fleet continued to push hard into day two, shown by their enthusiasm on the start line.

Etchells Elegance
Etchells Elegance

“It was a great breeze from the south but it was a trying day with the fleet a bit eager on the starting line. We had eight starts for three races. Five for the first race, even on a U Flag, two for the second and thankfully they were either tired, or were just behaving on the last start of the day” said Ross Chisholm, the Race Officer.

Despite the eagerness on the start line, the competitors all commented on the brilliant race track, and the perfect Etchells conditions.

“Today was just a great showcase of the waters of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club which will be the home of the World Championship in two years’ time. Conditions were 12-18 knots with those Port Phillip waves to surf down, it was just pristine,” said John Bertrand (AUS1478 Triad2020), currently placed second overall.

Bottom mark action - Jukes of Hazzard lead Triad2020
Bottom mark action – Jukes of Hazzard lead Triad2020

“Our results today were fine, but Mark Roberts with Ben Lamb and Jake Newman put on a sailing display with three wins from three races. I have sailed with both Ben and Jake, so some of the fleet were joking about the Bertrand sailing school”.

“Ben has just come back from Miami, tactically it shows that he’s just come back from racing in a 70 boat fleet. We all know there is nothing like having time in the boat, his fleet management today was just exceptional. Jake is very naturally gifted, and a good lad. They are clearly making a great team”.

“I’ve been sailing with Lamby for a couple of years now, and did the last Nationals in Victoria with Jake Newman,” said Mark Roberts following the three wins of AUS1473 Fumanchu2 on day two.

“So I’ve sailed with both of them but we’ve never sailed together. We’ve gelled pretty well and are having lots of fun. To be able to sail with these two is pretty cool.”

“Overall we have been able to put together each race. We have been able to get across the line first in four of the races, and the other two have been a second and a third so we have just been sailing really well. Of course one of those wins was an OCS but we didn’t know that until back in the sailing club after racing. I think that leaves us four points ahead with tomorrow to go”.

Tango moved up to fourth overall
Tango moved up to fourth overall

“We have some amazing competition with really close racing between us John Bertrand and Robbie Deussen. Having Robbie come over from Adelaide has been very cool. Robbie has lots of sailing under his belt with 505s and Sharpies and it has been no surprise to me to see him take to Etchells like a duck to water. And JB. Well what can I say. 78 years young and still one of the best out there and with young George and Lewis with him, they are at our heels and I have no doubt that any slip ups by us and they will be right there!”

Bertrand was also supremely complimentary of his team, who he recently won the Etchells National Championship with in Adelaide.

“It’s the same team as the Nationals, Lewis [Brake] and George [Richardson], it’s a delight to sail with these guys. Both are naturally gifted, talented sailors and both are always striving to improve, and the discussions we are having on board about tactics and boatspeed are just next level, and it’s a real pleasure to sail with them,” said Bertrand.

“We have up to three races tomorrow, and the models are suggesting that the conditions will be not unlike what we had today, perhaps lighter, with the cut off at 2:30pm, but the objective is three races tomorrow. A lot can happen in three races, as we saw today,” finished Bertrand.

“Today we started in 11-12 knots and by the third race it built to 18-19 I guess. Some big waves and great surfing. I have not looked too closely yet but tomorrow is another early start and I think a bit lighter, in the 9-12 knot range. So we can’t take anything for granted. Both Robbie and JB have proved to be bloody fast in those conditions. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow and will have to sail like today to get it done,” noted Roberts.

In seventh sits AUS1433 Forte, Mark Crier, Andy Fethers and Robbie Gibbs, out of the Swan River Fleet, who had an outstanding 5, 6, 2 today.

“We travelled so far to sail on a windy bumpy track, the Swan River is not quite so bumpy! We are heading up to Mooloolaba and the Gold Coast, making it a four regatta trip after and including the last Nationals in Adelaide,” said Mark Crier.

“Conditions today were very good for us as you can see. We like a blow and it was solidly 15 to 18 knots with a great rideable swell. There was a lot of surfing past boats only to be re-surfed past by them a wave or two later.”

“Hopefully we can stay our spot on the ladder tomorrow as front runners look set to fight it out amongst themselves.”

The line up
The line up

Racing will continue tomorrow with three of nine scheduled races still to be sailed, first warning at 1055, with no start after 1430.

Results and further information on the regatta here: https://rbyc.org.au/etchells-states-2023/

Stay tuned to etchells.org.au or our social media for more updates.

Words: Nic Douglass

Images thanks to Laura Thomson.

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