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29 April 2004, 04:34 pm
Australian Bid For Title
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Etchells World Championship

The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, winners of the 2003 Admirals Cup and the Hahn Premium Race Week trophy at Hamilton Island, will make a strong bid to win the 2004 World Etchells championship off Mooloolaba later this year.
Two of their six nominated skippers Iain MURRAY and Cameron MILES have won previous Etchells World crowns while former World 18ft skiff champion and Australia 11 Americas Cup crew member Rob BROWN is no slouch when it comes down to scoring major results in One Design class racing.

Iain Murray winner of the World Etchells title 20 years ago (1984) has continued to be ranked among the world's best sailors by spreading his talent across a wide range of classes.

His impressive list of success includes winning the 2001 Sydney to Hobart race with Bumblebee, breaking the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race record with Admirals Cup winner Wild Oats in 2003 while representing Australia in the 2004 World Olympic Star class championship in Italy with crew mate Andrew PALFREY.

Murray winner of more consecutive World 18ft skiff championships than any other Australian skipper revels in pressure tactical racing and he will be keen to win his second World Etchells title when the battle lines for the 2004 title are drawn on the waters off Mooloolaba from July 28th to August 8th.

Richard COXON, Mark DOYLE and former Australian Winter Etchells champion Julian PLANTE completes a very impressive RPAYC team.

Cameron MILES the World champion in 1999 was in a strong position to win the 2003 Australian winter championship off Mooloolaba last June before suffering a serious leg injury in a dramatic race collision.

The injury forced Miles out of two races but he returned to show his tenacious fighting spirit to win the final heat in the series won by Team New Zealand's reserve Americas Cup helmsman Cameron APPLETON.

Murray, Miles and Brown have the proven career credentials to be listed among the more favoured skippers to win the 2004 World championship.

However previous results should only be treated as a guide because the fleet represents the strongest collection of master tacticians ever assembled to contest a world sailing championship in Australia.

Dennis CONNER is yet to qualify through the San Diego fleet selection series while John Bertrand winner of the recent New Zealand National championship has qualified with the strong Melbourne fleet that includes Volvo Globe sailor Noel DRENNAN.

The list of World renowned sailors is endless with New Zealand's Americas Cup helmsman Dean BARKER representing the Wellington fleet while Grant WHARINGTON the recent line honours winner of the Down Town Duty Free Brisbane to Gladstone race in a new race record time with the maxi Skandia will represent the Mornington Yacht Club fleet.

Michael COXON head of the North Sail loft in Sydney the preferred sail maker for most of the champion skippers and a former winner of the Mooloolaba hosted National winter championship adds further strength to the list of title favourites.

All of these talented skippers are strong title contenders who will win can only confidently be answered when the final race finish signal is fired on August eighth.

Ian Grant (Source: Yachting Australia)
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