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Etchells Victorian State Championship at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club - Day 1

by Nic Douglass 11 Mar 2023 15:04 GMT 11-13 March 2023

The first day of the Etchells Victorian State Championship was sailed today, Saturday 11 March, from the Royal Brighton Yacht Club with a strong fleet of twenty boats. The anticipation was high, with the current National Champions, immediate past National Champions, and last year's State Champions all in attendance in an attempt to take home the title.

The calm morning, in regards to weather, built into a beautiful south-south easterly of ten to fifteen knots, and the competitors revelled in the glorious conditions at what will be the 2025 Etchells World Championship venue.

Robin Deussen and his team of Jesse Mitton and David Snoad on Shoulda Gone Left were strong off the blocks scoring a 1, 2, 2, an indication of their desire to win back to back State Championships, even though they are from South Australia and rarely get to sail against other Etchells.

"We had a pretty reasonable day today, and definitely not complaining," said Deussen post racing. "At one stage, we didn't know Mark Roberts was over the line at the start of the second race, so it could have been a 1, 2, 3," he exclaimed.

"We have learned a lot since we've been sailing in the class, we have taken in what everyone has told us but we seem to be on the pace right now, so we will take it. We have no one really to race against in SA, when the Nationals finished this year we packed the boat up to head over here."

"We learn more from coming to regattas like this than sailing for five years in Adelaide by ourselves. We ask so many questions, and they [the fleet] answer, there is no hiding of information, the whole fleet is amazing."

"Sydney has got guys that race every week, we race two or three regattas a year, so unless we do this we have nothing. We are here to learn, but we are here to win. We won last year, but it's different this year. I would have expected with a one two three in this fleet that we would be in a good spot, but as is the Etchells, we aren't that far in front, and we are privileged to be where we are," he concluded.

Another standout today, besides the cumulative second placed and current National Championship team with John Bertrand OA at the helm who also took a win, was Jukes of Hazzard with Brendan Jukes at the helm who are sitting in third.

"We came third in the states in Geelong, and won a race there," he said. "We have done just a few club races here and there, then just came out today and put it together," he said of his win today.

"Such fun conditions, even if you didn't get a great result. Beautiful sunshine, ten to fifteen knots and most importantly, really really close racing," he commented.

"We're really happy, we looked at the fleet before we sailed, there are professionals, and Olympians, so sitting in third now is really good."

"At the start of race three, we noticed our forestay had come undone," he exclaimed, describing the toughest part of the podium placed team's day. "We bore off to fix it, then were 20 seconds late to the start, but sailed through to get to sixth. Took us a whole race to work our way back in but that was pretty incredible really," he finished.

"Obviously the highlight was the race win, we have only sailed two State Championships and we have won a race in each. To be honest we were in the mix on the first downwind, but the course was a bit skewed. We were the first to gybe, a really good call to do the early gybe by the team, and that was the race really," he said of their race win.

"I'm doing the Worlds here in Brighton, the venue is great, the race track is basically off the hard stand, and the facilities are great, three cranes, historically a strong etchells fleet, top line Etchells are from here so it is really exciting, and it's a Worlds that we can put a lot of preparation into," he concluded.

There is just a bit of concern about how far these two teams can go when they are able to put solid hours into their training, as exhibited today.

But despite the time ahead for the World Championship, Jukes said, "We keep it very simple. It's meant to be windier tomorrow. We race with 2009 sails and no in-hauler, so if it blows it's good for us," he finished.

Racing will continue tomorrow with six of nine scheduled races still to be sailed.

Stay tuned to etchells.org.au or our social media for more updates.

Results and further information on the regatta at rbyc.org.au/etchells-states-2023

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