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Etchells Class builders under review

Published on January 9th, 2020

When Australian teams blitzed the field at the 2019 Etchells World Championship, the chatter was about how a decided speed edge was coming from the Australian-built boats. No longer was their parity among the three Class builders, which put into question how the playing field for this stable class got tilted.

In this report by John Curnow from the 2020 Etchells Australian Championship, he shares the review currently underway by the Class:

Over the course of their exemplary 50-year history, the Etchells Class has regularly taken the opportunity to review itself. The mission is to ensure that the singularity of focus remains on delivering the best One Design racing, and that there is uniformity of vessels from across the decades, and from the three different builders.

All items that require a modification to the Class Rules, like say the electric bilge pumps, go through the Technical Committee for analysis before being voted on by the Governors. The Class Measurer also undertakes reviews at World Championships, and liaises with the builders throughout the year, including factory visits.

In 2011, the Australian Association produced a new mould from scans of boats produced by all three existing moulds. This was subsequently approved after being re-measured on completion, and it has been creating new Etchells ever since from its home at Innovation Composites in Nowra on the NSW South Coast.

Queries regarding the symmetry of this mould and therefore its boats, along with the laminating schedule used to create said vessels, have been received. This has prompted the Class Governors to approve scans of two boats from each of the three builders to form the basis of an audit of the fleet as produced by all three builders.

This will include the Chief Measurer, Bill Abbott, attending the Australian manufacturer using a single set of templates across the selected elements to establish if any variances exist, in addition to investigating the laminate issue.

Mark Roberts, President of the International Etchells Class of Australia said, “The review has commenced, and the results are to be delivered to the Governors once the review has been completed. At that time, any rectification works that may be required will be evaluated, put into place, and announced to the sailing public.”

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