Photography by Andrea Francolini
Sydney fleet captain Michael Tyquin says local Etchells crews climbing towards selection for next year’s class world championship in Brisbane are all too aware that the Milson Silver Goblets regatta marks the time to really knuckle-down in the pre-worlds phase.
The Sydney fleet is preparing to host one of the marquee events on the annual Australian Etchells racing calendar, a unique five-race midweek series called the Milson Silver Goblets to be sailed out of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in the twilight. The time of day makes the most of minimal harbour traffic and daylight savings, with beautiful late afternoon spring conditions on Sydney’s world famous harbour.
“Goblets is the start of things getting serious for those hoping to qualify for next year’s world championship,” Tyquin said. “The Silver Goblets leads into the nationals in Perth then back to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for the NSW state champs in February, and from that follows a world qualification series in March-April.
“As well as being one of Australia’s largest fleets, the Sydney fleet is one of the most competitive in the country with owners who have recently been on big campaigns with professional crew for the worlds in San Francisco and last month’s Queensland championships.”
Racing will take place over five consecutive evenings from 13 to 17 November, on a track likely to be between Kirribilli Point and South Head. Three races constitute a series.
Up to 30 Etchells are expected with room for more on the start line and back at the host club. “We encourage entrants from outside the Sydney fleet and warmly invite crews from Pittwater, Lake Macquarie, Gosford, Cronulla and any other individual Etchells sailors,” the fleet captain added.
So far the starter’s list includes former Etchells world champion and Australian Sailing’s performance director Iain Murray with Magpie, Martin Hill’s Lisa, the 2016 winner, and the best placed NSW team at last month’s QLD Etchells state championship, Jeanne-Claude Strong’s Yandoo XX which finished third on Brisbane’s Moreton Bay.
Strong will line-up with her state title crew of Seve Jarvin, Marcus Burke and Tiana Wittey for the Silver Goblets. “The regatta has always been very prestigious and drawn plenty of good sailors. We won it a while back (2015) and it would be nice to win it again. People find it convenient to sail after work and usually the breeze is decent, not like in winter when it’s typically light. Heavier breeze is more fun!”
The Etchells Sydney fleet is pleased to announce new partnerships with Mercedes-Benz Sydney and Zhik, the Australian manufacturer of technical sailing gear, and exciting prizes for Silver Goblets competitors.
Dating back to the 1970s, Silver Goblets past winners include Colin Beashel, Richard Hammond, Richard Chapman, Michael Coxon and Neville Wittey. The most recent series, held in February this year, went to Julian Plante and David Edwards’ Iron Lotus.
The International Etchells was designed in 1966 by Skip Etchells and the first moulds arrived in Australia in 1973. In terms of one design racing in Australia, the Etchells fleet endures in strong numbers and brings together an impressive line-up of America’s Cup, national and world champions plus youth crews who want to see how they stack up against two older generations of the sport’s heroes.