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1 July 2004, 09:48 am
Conner Set to Menace Mooloolaba
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Dennis CONNER© Peter Campbell

2004 Etchells World Championship

Dennis CONNER and John BERTRAND, the rival skippers of the 1983 America's Cup Match, will clash again in the Etchells World Championship 2004 to be sailed off Mooloolaba on Queensland's Sunshine Coast from 1-8 August.
Conner today lodged his nomination for the World Championship, representing the San Diego, California, Etchells fleet, to join Bertrand, from the Melbourne fleet among the star-studded international line-up.

With entries closing within a few days, organisers expect a fleet of around 80 boats, including entries from the USA, New Zealand, Italy, Hong Kong, Great Britain and all Australian Etchells fleets.

In their famous encounter off Newport, Rhode Island, nearly 21 years ago, Bertrand at the helm of Australia II, outsailed Conner, steering Liberty, to end the New York Yacht Club's domination of the America's Cup.

Both have sailed in America's Cup regattas since then, and both have raced each other in previous Etchells World Championships and other major regattas, with the American having twice won the Worlds in this elite one-design keelboat class, in San Francisco in 1991 and at Balboa in 1994.

While Bertrand has not won an Etchells World Championship, he is ranked one of the top sailors in the world in the class, sailing out of Melbourne's Royal Brighton Yacht Club. This year he has won the New Zealand Nationals and the New South Wales State Championship and finished a close second to Grant WHARINGTON in the Etchells Australian Winter Championship at Mooloolaba last month.

Conner will among several former World Champions contesting the Etchells World Championship 2004, the others already entered being Cameron MILES from the Pittwater fleet, John SAVAGE from Melbourne, and another former America's Cup skipper, Iain MURRAY, also from the Pittwater fleet.

Many of the leading competitors, including Dennis CONNER, are expected to contest the three Etchells Pre Worlds Regattas at Mooloolaba, the first being over the weekend of 10-11 July.
Peter Campbell (As Amended by ISAF)
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