Australian yachting icon John Bertrand, alongside star-studded crew George Richardson and Lewis Brake, has taken out the 2023 Australian Etchells Championship in a dominating display at the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia this week.
On board Triad2020, Bertrand’s team won the event with a race to spare, sealing the win early on the final day before crunching the maths on board and heading back to the marina after the start of the final race.
Peter Merrington, Steve Jarvin and Ian McKillop in First Tracks held the regatta lead early in the event, however after a strong second half of the regatta by Bertrand, were left with a lot of work to do on the final day to take the win.
The Triad2020 team proved too good, sailing consistently in Race 8 to finish second over the line, while First Tracks battled hard after a difficult start to finish eighth.
“Well it feels pretty good and it’s terrific sailing with these young blokes, talk about taking the project to another level,” Bertrand said after the win.
“George (Richardson) comes from the world of match racing, out of the youth program at the CYCA in Sydney, and Lewis is an ex-Finn sailor in the Olympic program, so it really shows up in terms of their knowledge of the rules and just generally being on the pace.”
Bertrand praised the hospitality, race management and weather conditions in Adelaide and said it was a pleasure to be back sailing Etchells in the Gulf St Vincent after a number of years.
“This week we’ve been blessed with the weather, it’s been absolutely beautiful stuff, little sea breezes that are quite fresh sometimes, you couldn’t have asked for anything better – Mother Nature did herself proud,” he said.
“It’s a real privilege to be out here and again, it’s still the best racing in the country in terms of one design racing – it’s absolutely superb.
“They’re beautiful boats even though they’re a very old design, we’re talking about supreme racing, particularly in these types of conditions you couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The First Tracks team ended up second overall, while Chris Hampton, Samuel Haines and Elliott Hanson in Tango finished third overall.
Jeanne-Claude Strong and crew finished fifth overall and was the first placed female helm, while Bertrand won the Masters division and David Dunn and crew in Great White Hunter won the Grand Masters division.
Jason Ward and crew in Whisper came away with the middle-boat-of-the-regatta award, a tradition of the Etchells class, and walked away with a voucher from North Sails.
Media at this event was made possible thanks to the support of Hill PDA Consulting.
For full results and other information about the event, head to cycsa.com.au/australian-etchells-championships/.