With high wind forecast for the second half of the Marinepool Etchells Australasian Championship, the pressure will be on the fleet to bank their best results right at the start of the regatta.
Three races are scheduled for the first day of the annual regatta which has attracted a fleet of 44 entrants from around Australia and from Hong Kong to the Mooloolaba Yacht Club organised event. The forecast is for perfect sailing conditions on the ocean course set within viewing distance from the stunning Mooloolaba Beach.
PRO Ross Wilson has been viewing carefully the unfolding forecasts and has ensured he and his volunteer race management team have in place a plan to handle any changes to the race schedule.
“With all respect to the forecast for Saturday, after having a lot of feedback from a lot of the locals we are going to do three races tomorrow and then sometime tomorrow we will get the updated forecast as things seem to be changing fairly rapidly. We will then make up our mind on Friday afternoon after sailing, as we have plenty of time to decide what we do on Saturday, as to whether we bring the race forward on Saturday or whether we start on time at 1100 hours as per the schedule.
“The thoughts are the breeze could be early, it could be late or it may not be at all, so I am really in a dilemma. But as I have done over all my race management career is let it settle and make an educated and proper decision when I have all the information available,” Wilson said.
Pittwater Fleet’s Jill Connell is one of two women skippers competing in this year’s regatta. Connell competed last year finishing in 28th place. She took time out this afternoon to enjoy some boat-on-boat racing on the MYC’s Elliott 6s in aid of raising funds for the keelboat youth Sunshine Coast Sailing Team. After lots of laughs and plenty of interesting technical decisions in the no-rules fun races, Connell and her crew, Wade Morgan and Ben Lamb, are now focusing back on the task ahead.
“I am feeling very positive and looking forward to the regatta. We have had a look at Saturday’s forecast. We just hope the conditions will be sailable for the regatta. I think having a variety of conditions makes it a really fair regatta because people need to be able to sail well in all breezes.
“Given my team, I am very confident. If we can do better than last year I will be very happy,” Connell said.
The three day regatta starts tomorrow at about 11am.
– Tracey Johnstone