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Etchells Pre-Nationals at Geelong, next weekend!

10 December 2010 Etchells Media

John Bertrand at the Melbourne Worlds 2009

"John Bertrand at the Melbourne Worlds 2009"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Brian Case, Rear Commodore of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club indicated recently, "Because of the strong interest in the 2011 Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championships, we are running a Pre-Nationals Event on December 18 and 19th with three short races on Saturday and four on Sunday. We have a 25 visiting boats limit for this event and there are just a few slots left, so be quick to grab one of those."

Melbourne has strong Etchells fleets and three years ago they expanded West to Geelong, where nine Etchells currently race regularly on Corio Bay. In addition to Melbourne and Geelong, also on the shores of Port Phillip there's Blairgowrie and Mornington. A little further East in Victoria, on the Gippsland Lakes, is the Metung Fleet. Now in 2010, Port Phillip Etchells sailors dominated the Nationals, taking all three podium positions. John Bertrand from Royal Brighton Yacht Club was first, then Damien King from Sandringham Yacht Club and third was Graeme Taylor from Mornington. Of course, at the Worlds in Ireland, JB won with Damien third and Jake Gunther in fifth.

Brian went on to add that, "As there are more than 35 boats in the Melbourne fleets, we're expecting around 65 boats for the 2011 Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championships, including entries from New Zealand and Asia. What I am hearing from the Etchells fleets around Australia is that there is a lot of interest in being here next month."

Tim Clark, the Geelong Etchells Fleet Captain commented, "We are expecting representation from the top sailors and from all the States, so we are looking at a top class fleet."

John Bertrand, reigning Etchells World Champion will be defending his Australian national title, with Andrew Palfrey and Grant Simmer replacing Tom Slingsby, who will be racing at the Moth Worlds at Belmont on Lake Macquarie. That event directly clashes with the Etchells titles. Also amongst the fleet will be the number three skipper at the 2010 Worlds Damien King and the number five, Jake Gunther.

"Obviously the Royal Geelong Yacht Club knows how to put on sailing events. After all, Geelong Week has been running since the 1850's and there are now 500 plus keelboats at Geelong Week, which is now known as Audi Victoria Week. A lot of the sailors have raced at Audi Victoria Race week in bigger boats. They have all sailed on Corio Bay and all think 'what a great place for an Etchells event", Brian stated, an Etchells sailor himself.

"The big talk at the moment is regarding sail selection for this event. We often get plenty of pressure over the flat waters of Corio Bay, so the choice of sails is going to be an interesting one. It is generating a fair bit of discussion around the country. The top gun of the Geelong fleet is Brendan Garner and he has been doing very well on the National Circuit at the moment. He's expecting to step up on his home waters", Brian concluded with.

Entries opened at 0900hrs on November 1st 2010 and will close at 1200hrs on 1st January 2011. The NOR is now available and entries can be made on-line following the link below...


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