JC Strong wins inaugural David Forbes Shield

Grant Simmer, right, presenting the David Forbes trophy to JC, Kate and  Seve.

The inaugural David Forbes Shield regatta was conducted by the Squadron from 3-5 January 2022. It was arranged as an open regatta for all boats that at one time have been registered as an Etchells.

Jeanne-Claude, skipper of Flying High writes, ‘Winning this  prestigious event was rather overwhelming for me.

Firstly,  to win a regatta named in honour of David Forbes – multiple Olympian, gold medallist, AC yachtsman, and mentor to John Bertrand over many years, (John says he is one of the most talented naturally gifted yachtsmen he knows) and who sailed with Skip Etchells in their contest for the boat selection for the 1972 Olympics.

Secondly to win in such a fleet of  top quality yachtsmen.

My thanks go to my crew, who all did a brilliant job in every respect – from preparation, planning, training, race management, through to  racing.

Kate Devereux has been sailing with us now for 10 years – we first met her in Cowes for the Gertrude Cup when she was still at University. Having qualified as a naval architect she then made the very wise decision to move to Australia. Very intelligent, well organised, dependable, quick and agile – it seems she gets her jobs done before we know it!

Sam Newton is well known to everyone in the sailing community, given his America’s Cup, SailGP and 18 ft skiff experience. Probably the first world championship he won was with Neville Wittey and me in the Yngling 2004 World Championship in Sydney. This was when I first met Sam – he was then 16 years old, tall, thin and already a good yachtsman with top attention to detail. He takes care of rig set up and does bow – he’s a top trimmer, ensuring the boat is as fast as possible. He’s also very knowledgeable on all things technical and very well organised.

Seve Jarvin runs the program both off and on the boat. He is not only a top yachtsman and  great tactician, he has amazing feel for the boat. He is also a top coach for me – during the whole COVID period, we trained two-up, even starting off with me sailing solo with Seve on the RIB in case of emergency (there were a few minor ones.) Each time I see Sam drop the kite, I remember my feeble solo efforts, which looked a tad different as you can imagine, ha ha. I call these ‘Etchells Boy Toys’ because they work best with someone with big muscles…I appreciate Seve’s patience in the training sessions – and he didn’t even laugh once!

So apart from enjoying each small improvement in my skills, I just love being on the water and enjoy training as much as racing.

The format of this regatta was fantastic. All my thanks go to Richie Allanson and Iain Murray who organised the whole event with our Club. On that note, Rear Commodore Karyn Gojnich was a great support for the regatta; thank you Karyn. The ‘on water’ observer Richard Slater was excellent, helping some understand the more difficult rules and keeping us on the straight and narrow.

The social events were a magnificent addition, as it enabled everyone to mix, to discuss the day’s racing or to  prepare for the following day, as well as  to get to know each other better. James Mayo hosted the presentation dinner at his home; thank you James for a great night and for your generosity. I think the night went on for way longer than this little wood duck could stay.

On the water, it was quite challenging: very shifty, very hot and very humid with lots of gear changes, each day was pretty exhausting. Race Officer Rob Ridley did a great job and we were able to race without any wasted time and with well laid out courses. Having the three marks at the top was also good  –  it certainly changes the dynamics of the port approach.

The event was so successful that everyone was asking when we could run another similar event.’

View the results here