First Tracks win International Etchells 2023 Coffs Harbour Championship
Peter “Billy” Merrington, Steve “Mothy” Jarvin and Ian McKillop on AUS1485 First Tracks have won the International Etchells 2023 Coffs Harbour Championship offshore from the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club.
With a picket fence scorecard, 1, 1, 1, 1, , the only boat to take a win from First Tracks was AUS1486 Magpie, skippered by Graeme Taylor, with Colin Beashel (filling in for James Mayo) and Richie Allanson who have won the last two Etchells regattas at the Gold Coast, and Mooloolaba.
“It is an excellent venue, and we look forward to coming back soon”, said Peter Merrington of the sailing at Coffs Harbour. “We are very pleased with the regatta with our team coming off a bit of a break”, he commented.
Second place was AUS1435 Flying High, with Jeanne-Claude Strong, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton.
“It was a good regatta, pretty light but an awesome spot to sail”, said Seve Jarvin, Flying High’s tactician.
“We would definitely be keen to come back to Coffs, great people, very friendly and very helpful. The race track is awesome. Yesterday it was a bit light, but with a little bit more wind it would be amazing”, he added.
Third were the winners of the Victorian State Championship, Mark Roberts’ AUS1473 Fumanchu2 with Jake Newman and Ben Lamb.
“We had a great day today”, said Roberts. “Yesterday was only three knots to a glass out, today it was 7 to 12 knots”.
On Coffs Harbour, “It is a fantastic venue. The location is logistically easy for us. The locals are fantastic. It’s 24 degrees with blue skies and constant breeze. The race track is at the back door and of course there are the whales”.
More than 17 whales were seen while racing in superb conditions today, on the glistening open ocean in sunshine. The only issue with having so many of these new Etchells fans was that there was a short delay between Race 3 and 4 of the series to let them pass through the race track.
No stranger to the beauty of Coffs Harbour is Pierre Gal, who sailed his first Etchells regatta this weekend with Jan Scholten and Jan Muysken on AUS1450 African Contender.
“I did the America’s Cup in Newport in 1980, that was where I met my first Aussie”, said Gal, a native of France. “I was a sailmaker for France and then I came to Coffs to make sails in Australia, 37 years ago”.
“I have known Clogs [Jan Scholten] for a long time, but I have never raced the Etchells. The racing isn’t fast but it is very close, the level is very high you can’t afford to make any mistakes. They are a great group. I was actually a bit surprised, everyone helped us with our setup and they were really friendly for such a competitive class. I will definitely sail the Etchells again”.
“I think that everybody thought the venue was terrific. It’s great to have the Etchells class, as a sailor it puts Coffs on the map. It is a great venue, half way for the Brisbane and Sydney fleets, and we look forward to more racing here in the future”, Pierre Gal finished.
Thanks to sponsors Kennards Hire Coffs Harbour, Thwaites Marine Coffs Harbour, HillPDA Consulting, GC Boatyards & Coffs Harbour International Marina.
Words: Nic Douglass
Images: Ethan Broderick Photography