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One Design, two regattas, at Metung Yacht Club - Preview

by Jeanette Severs 23 Jan 2023 16:46 GMT 27-29 January 2023
Etchells will compete this weekend in the annual East Gippsland Championships at Metung © Lenka Senkyrikova

Two fleets of one design yachts will take to the waters of Lake King on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, when Metung Yacht Club hosts the 2023 Victorian International Dragon Championships, the annual JJ Savage Trophy and Rob Trenberth Trophy races, and the annual East Gippsland Etchells Championships.

It will be a 2-3-2 race series. Day one, Friday, will see two races on the course. There are three races planned for day two, Saturday; on Sunday, day three, the final two races will be competed.

Multiple championships winner, Nick Rogers, from Hobart, Tasmania, is headlining the International Dragons championship, along with past national championship winner, Sandy Anderson, from Western Australia, who is bringing an all-women crew to Metung.

Rogers recently finished third at the Prince Philip Cup (hosted in Sydney Harbour). He is bringing Leigh Behrens and Lucas Upton to Metung as his crew. Rogers and Behrens have sailed together for 28 years.

"I've had a good career in the Dragon class," Rogers said. "Leigh Behrens has sailed with me, on and off, for 28 years. Lucas Upton is still relatively new to Dragons. He sails with me as crew in an SB20, a sports boat."

Local skipper, Damien Daniel, who placed fourth behind Rogers in Sydney in the recent Prince Philip Cup, will be competing to win as well.

There are seven Dragon class yachts competing at Metung for the Victorian championship, the JJ Savage Trophy and the Rob Trenberth Trophy.

Race organiser and MYC member, Fred Haes, will be competing in Wicked II, with crew of Adrian France, Will Crooke and Sabrina Murphy. The strict 285kg weight limit may favour Haes' crew, because he will sail with three other people.

Terry Grundy, an MYC member who owns several Dragon class yachts, will compete in Fascination and has loaned Imagination to Damien Daniel to skipper. Grundy said Lake King was ideal for sailing and competing in Dragon class yachts.

"The design of the boat means they are easily sailed by anyone; but to win races you need to dedicate time sailing in the boat," he said.

"The Dragon class was originally designed in Norway as a yacht you could compete with on Saturday, and take the family in for a picnic on Sunday.

"In 1952, the Dragon class was selected for Olympic Games competition. "Dragons sail well on the Gippsland Lakes. They like flat water and low wind, and Lake King is one of the best places in the world to sail Dragons."

The Dragon class can be constructed from timber or fibreglass. There are 13 Etchell class yachts competing for the East Gippsland championship. While most of the boats and crews are members of Metung Yacht Club, some of whom with considerable championship status of their own, there are competitors from interstate and intrastate.

Paynesville local Nick Knezic, with crew David Poulton and Mark Lainson, will compete in Count Boris's Secret Rendezvous. From Tasmania, Toby Richardson, with crew Ollie Nicholas and Sam King, are competing in Excite.

Melbourne yacht, The Archer, will be crewed by Jack Abbott (skipper), Hamish McKendrick, Jack Felsenthal and Tom Trotman. The Archer and her crew was awarded the Youth Division at last year's Australian Championships, hosted by Metung.

MYC member, Steve Bull, will skipper Quandong with his regular crew of Wayne Smith. Bull has crewed in a number of Sydney to Hobart yachts that have achieved line honours.

Kim McKendrick, skipper of Ireland Girl, finished fourth in the 2022 Australian Championship, also held at Metung, and was awarded the Grand Masters division. Marcus Burke returns to crew with McKendrick, and they will be joined by Peter McNeil. Burke could be a lucky charm - he has crewed on a number of yachts that have won state and national championships.

One of the local Etchells class yachts, Go With The Flow, with skipper Richard Smith, recently competed in Adelaide, at the 2023 Australian Championships, where wind speed was 10-20 knots. Smith is joined in this regatta by regular crew Toby Conn, who was in his boat for the National Championships, and Bentley Conn, bringing Matthew Maloney on board for the first time in this regatta.

There are two other Etchells boats with four crew - Apres La Mer, skippered by Peter Wilkinson, the current MYC Etchells Champion, and crewed by Peter Bull, Marcus Sill and Gus Kinnear; and Southern Pirate, skippered by Rod Edwards and crewed by Charlie Edwards, Rob Conn and Michael Hack.

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