Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship - Right on the money

In a few minutes Principal Race Officers Kevin and Ross Wilson will gun away 52 Etchells One Design boats for the Musto 2010 Etchells Australasian Winter Championship off Mooloolaba, Queensland.

This will be one of best fleets in the 14 year history of this event, with a host of world champions, Olympians and offshore stars.

As the competition continues to rack up in this very competitive class so do the pre-race efforts. In heavy wind conditions the heaviest crews do best. The combined maximum crew weight limit is 285.00 kg and incredibly three crews weighed in at that exact figure today; Tommy Braidwood's Fantasia, the Boyd Brothers B Squared and Mark Bulka's Perfect Balance wre all 'right on the money.'

Yesterday a cold front came through and as boats were rigged, in one of the coldest Mooloolaba Boat parks in recent years, the halyards were howling, a Melbourne winter cold morning, though the weather moderated later in the afternoon.

Morning wind conditions are forecast to be in 10-15 knot range from the south west/south east, but its lighter than than with overcast skies and may become, that dreaded phrase, 'light and variable' in the afternoon.

This is a wide open field for the 2010 Australasian Winter Championship and its shaping as another enthralling five race series.

Alastair Gair from New Zealand, 'GT' Grant Taylor, Peter McNeil, John Bertrand, Mark Johnson, Dave Clarke, Julian Plante, Ian 'Biggles' Johnson - there are a dozen of more crews thats so far have mentioned in the boat park as possible winners.

There are 'old blokes' on the come back trail, like Mark Richards and 'rock stars' from the 1970's such as Peter Conde, back amongst the competing crews.

And the event has 'newbies' with form. Michael Hiatt has just bought two Pegasus syndicate Etchells for his Living Doll crew so they can sharpen their short course racing skills. Hiatt will be helming in his first ever Etchells event aboard Baby Doll. Bad Doll is back in Melbourne (you don't even want to ask what she did).

Pictured is the Peter (Spike) Dorien Trophy, which is set to become a significant piece of Australia's sailing history. The official name for the trophy is the Peter (Spike) Doriean Most Outstanding Crew Member Perpetual Trophy and it is to be awarded on Sunday 13th June 2010.

Sailors from the Australian Etchells fleets have established a Perpetual Trophy in honour of Spike and an Auction Night to support his family has been incorporated into the Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship this year.

Etchells Doriean Family Appeal Auction - Saturday 12th June 2010

The Etchells fleet Australia-wide have been asked to help raise funds for Nicki and her children, Jemima and Fox, by way of donating spare 'boat bits' for an auction to be held at the Post-race BBQ at the Wharf Tavern on Saturday after racing at the Musto Etchells Australasian Winter Championship concludes.

Spike's good mate Grant Wharington will be the Auctioneer and will be using his various talents to extract $'s from the Etchells Fleets deep pockets for this very worthwhile cause!

The donated item can be anything from a sail to a paddle, to a pair of lucky socks. All proceeds will be going directly to the Doriean Family Appeal, so please help make this event a great success.

Please bring donation items with you on the night or text Prize pledges to GT Graeme Taylor: 0414 323 554. Today a prize of Five Days in a Luxury apartment at Hervey Bay, QLD was donated, so get imaginative!