Etchells News

Chairman’s Message for September 2013

Posted September 15, 2013

Members of the Great Etchells Class

I would like to start my first message to you by thanking Ian Kingsford Smith for his excellent stewardship for the past two years as Chairman of the International Governors of our incredible class of sailboats. Ian kept our class in the forefront of one-design sailing. I would also like to thank heartily the Governors who finished their term limits and faithfully served the class for so many years; they are in addition to Ian, Glenn Burton and Andrew Cooper. Your new slate of Governors for 2013 through 2014 is the following:


  • Chris Busch
  • Shannon Bush
  • Argyle Campbell
  • Gary Gilbert
  • Jake Gunther
  • Dirk Kneulman
  • Peter McNeill
  • Noel Paterson
  • Tim Patton
  • David Ritchard


  • David Clark (AUS)
  • David Healy (AUS)
  • Senet Bischoff (USA)
  • Wade Edwards (USA)

Your Governors voted in the following leadership slate:

  • Chairman – Gary Gilbert
  • Vice Chairman – Shannon Bush
  • Executive Secretary – Sherri Campbell
  • Treasurer – David Ritchard
  • Chair One Design Committee – Jake Gunther

To ensure that there is input from all key national fleets, the Class has a category of non-elected Co-Opted governors. The Chairman requested key Etchells Class bodies to select their choices for Co-Opted Governors (non-voting) to participate in the dialogue of the business of the Class and keep their fellow Etchells sailors fully informed. They are:

Co-Opted (non-voting)

  • Marco Cimarosti - Mediterranean
  • Dan O’Grady- Ireland
  •  John Breen- Hong Kong
  • Anatole Masfen  - New Zealand
  • David Franks - UK

Of great importance to the sage balance of the Etchells Class is the critical role of the One Design Committee (ODT). Jake Gunther is stepping in to the role of Chairman of the ODT. Jake takes the mantel from Chris Clark, a brilliant engineer, who has tirelessly put his heart and soul into the integrity of the one-design standards of the Etchells Class, whilst working to find universal improvements to further the sailing qualities of our superb boats. Chris, please accept our highest debt of thanks for your stellar dedication to the Etchells Class.

Returning to serve on the 'not enough praised' ODT are Vince Brun, Bruce Nelson and Alan Gray. Joining the ODT is well known Etchells sailor and engineer from Hong Kong, Mark Thornburrow. Jake and his team have already been hard at work on the Class’s behalf in the investigation of the sinking of AUS 1374 at the Australian Nationals earlier this year. The ODT has published those findings on the website and I encourage all to read them from here. One Design Technical Committee: Sinking AUS 1374 Freemantle, Australia

Rounding out the Etchells Class Team is our Executive Secretary, Sherri Campbell, whose focus on detail keeps all of the aforementioned properly functioning (that includes prompting).

Key to the Class also has been our stalwart Chief Measurer, Denis Heywood. Denis has just retired after 16 years, carrying his measuring templates to his last Worlds in Italy. Those who were at the Italy Worlds had little notes on our boats reminding us to have our end tank wing nuts, lanyards on our buckets in place, etc, just one of the many checks that Denis meticulously and efficiently carried out. Denis will be sorely missed, but far from mind, as Denis was recently elected a Life Member of the Etchells Class. A search for a new Class Measurer is underway.

The heart and soul of the Etchells Class however remains with all those who race these great boats either in local fleet sailing or the “road nomads” who go to numerous regattas around their continents. To all fleet captains and national authorities, please renew your efforts to get sailors into the Etchells Class, they will thank you as do I.

“All roads pointed to Tuscany” this year (and many took a side trip or two as well). Marco Cimarosti, our regatta organiser did a fantastic job (with help from his daughter Julia). Thanks also to the Yacht Club Cala De Medici. For those who have organised/participated in a World Championship, you all know never enough appreciation can be given to the organisers and the volunteers who tirelessly and generously put years of their time to bring these events together. Marco, to you and your team, more than many thanks for the Italian Championships followed by an incredible Worlds.

We all looked to see if any of the Aussies had R. Crowe on the crew list, as the gladiators took to the water for the first race. In the end, the laurel crowns went to Marvin Beckmann, Steve Hunt and Ezra Culver, our new World Champions, sailing USA 1378, (done without needing to sail the last race). Congratulations!!!!

Prior to the Worlds on June 8, 2013, the International Etchells Class Association Annual Meeting was held. Of key note is our intended movement to eVoting vs. mail ballots, to take effect as soon as possible in our Class Rules. This will allow communication and improvements to the Class to move efficiently.

We now can all look to Newport for the 2014 Worlds, which will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club, Fleet 8 and Sail Newport. We are exceptionally fortunate to have a long time friend, Peggy Comfort as our Race Organiser. Sherri Campbell has already had the perpetual trophies placed at the NYYC’s Harbour Court facility. The race organisers will be able to handle 100 boats, sailing in the former America’s Cup venue. (No wing keels allowed). Each fleet will be allowed to qualify twenty percent of their fleet for the 2014 Worlds. The Notice of Race will soon be out and the website soon to be filled with information.

I encourage all if you have an idea to improve the boat and/or the quality of sailing/racing the boat let your voice be heard. We are all ears. Also let us know how our communication is working for you and maybe how you would like to participate. Please join in!

Wishing you all smooth sailing and fair winds… aw forget about that…

Bring On the Breeze!!


Best Regards to All,

Gary Gilbert
Chairman, IGC