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Host Club and Class celebrations at Sydney Worlds

8 December 2011 Tracey Johnstone

It was a late afternoon start for the final race on day two of the championship

"It was a late afternoon start for the final race on day two of the championship"

Photo by:
Tracey Johnstone

The 38th Etchells World Championship, to be held in Sydney from 16th to 25th February 2012, will be a huge event for both the host club, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, and for the class.

World Championship Regatta Chair, David Sturrock, describes the Etchells Worlds as one of the premier yachting events for the year. "It coincides with the sesquicentenary year of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and is one of the celebration events. The Etchells World Championship draws sailors from all over the world. There is no other class that brings people in across the world from America, Bermuda, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. It is a truly global event."

The Sydney Etchells Fleet is still expecting at least 75 entries, hailing from the ranks of Olympic classes, world champions, America's Cup sailors and weekend warriors.

Current world and 2008 champion, 36-year-old Bill Hardesty (USA), will be in Sydney to defend his title. Earlier this month, Hardesty, sailing with British skipper Ian Williams, won the 2011 ISAF Match Racing World Championship.

John Bertrand (AUS) will be looking to take out another world Etchells title to go with his 2010 win in Ireland. He will have racing with him Olympic sailor and coach, Andrew Palfrey, and current Australian Sailor of the Year, Tom Slingsby.

Etchells world champion in 2009 in Melbourne, Jason Muir (AUS), is expected to be back, but in a reversed role. Muir will move into a crew position while one of his 2009 World Championship winning team members, 28-year-old Matthew Chew, moves onto the helm.

Dirk Kneulman (CAN), a world champion in Marblehead in1998, has also stepped away from the helm to sail at the 2012 worlds with Bermudian skipper Mark Watson.

Jud Smith (USA), champion in 2006, will be sailing with squadron member Mark Johnson and Nik Burfoot.

Other previous Etchells world champions who will be on the start line on the 20th February will be Cameron Miles (AUS), John Savage (AUS) and Peter McNeill (AUS).

World Champion in 2000, Vince Brun (USA) will be competing with crew Michael Coxon. He was unable to fit the recent Etchells NSW Championship into his program so Colin Beashel (AUS), Etchells World Champion in 1993 and 1995, steered the boat for that event taking along with him his mates, Coxon and Grant Simmer.

Further title contenders expected in Sydney in February include James Howells (GBR) who came fourth in the worlds in Cowes in 2007, current NSW State Champion Graeme Taylor (AUS) with his team of Steve Jarvin and Grant Wharington, Noel Drennan (AUS) who came second in the worlds in 2011, Damian King (AUS) and his Barry boys who placed second in worlds in 2009 and third in 2010, and Ante Razmilovic (HKG) who placed second in the worlds in Ireland in 2010.

Olympic 470 class gold medallist, Tom King, is another serious contender for the World Championship title. Since his magnificent performance in the 2000 Olympic Games, Tom has been busy mastering the Etchells class. He started the process with a relaxed approach, but has since ramped up the program, as Tom and his team of Ivan Wheen, David Edwards and Owen McMahon head towards the Sydney worlds.

The first World Championship local and international entries have been received. The full list of entries is available at the event website.

Event website

Everything the competing sailor needs to know is on the event website. The Notice of Race, online entry form link, details on accommodation, transport and entry list, are published on this site.

Partners social program

Friends of the Sydney Fleet are currently busy putting together a leisure program for partners of Australian and International competing sailors. The details of this program will be posted on the event website closer to February.

Event Merchandise

Crews can pre-order their event merchandise from event supporter, Gill Australia. Men's and women's polo shirts, long sleeved shirts, rugby jumpers, onshore vest and hats are in the event and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron 150th anniversary branded range. To pre-order any part of the Gill range, go to Gill Australia.

Gill will be launching a new range of onshore clothing, which will be profiled at the Sydney Worlds.

Has anything been forgotten in the organisation of the event ?

Sturrock reports the organising committee is putting a lot of hours and thought into planning the Sydney Worlds. The on water team has sourced the necessary number of powerboats to assist with race and towing duties. The key race officials are in place and volunteers are currently being recruited.

On land, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is pulling out all stops to make the event a special experience for visitors and club members.

The organising committee will ensure the competitors have access to sail repair, rigging and fibreglass services. In regards to access to a sauna for last minute weight loss before the official weigh-in, Sturrock said that is one job still to be done.

The Etchells World Championship is sponsored by Hamburg SUD, Gill, PredictWind, Telstra, North Sails, Yachting NSW Boat Insurance and Nautica.

For more information on the Etchells World Championship 2012, go to the event website.

Etchells World Championship 2012

Mornington's Phil Coombs charges around the bottom mark ahead of Singapore's, Jervis Tilly

"Mornington's Phil Coombs charges around the bottom mark ahead of Singapore's, Jervis Tilly"

Photo by:
Tracey Johnstone


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