BERTRAND famously took the America's Cup from the New York Yacht Club, who had held it for 132 years. The losing skipper Dennis CONNER (USA) had planned to be in Fremantle for a rematch against his old foe BERTRAND. CONNER was injured during the Heathrow Airport bomb scare in August and was a scratching from this International Etchells fleet.
BERTRAND commented. 'One of the toughest fleets we've ever sailing in, the depth is phenomenal, and every boat that crossed us, or that we cross seems to have an Olympian, an America's cupper, or a top coach. In this fleet the difference between breaking thru or be absorbed bask into the fleet is like the thickness of a hair, the racing is really, really close.
'We had a good start and we found clear air, we rounded in second place, our down wind speed was very good and we sailed through Craig HEALY and broke away from there. We are just only half way through the regatta, so anything can happen from here. Hopefully the old stagers can give it a bit of nudge.'
Second placed MILES commented, 'We finally got a good start; we went the right way, kept our lane. Laughing he commented We though BERTRAND was retired from International yachting. If he is retired we should have won that race.'
HEALY was smiling, 'We were OCS in the first race, so we've been very conservative all week. Today we had some space, as the guys below us were over early. We were close with John BERTRAND up the beat and we stayed tight from there.'
Yesterday's winner Ante RAZMILOVIC (GBR) finished fourth, current America's Cup campaigner Mark BRADFORD (AUS), who sails for BMW ORACLE was fifth, Kiwi champion Alastair GAIR (NZL) finished sixth, WA local Rob BIRD (AUS) was seventh and dual Etchells world champion Stuart CHILDERLEY (GBR) was eighth. From that famous 1983 campaign Rob BROWN (AUAS) was ninth and Skip LISSIMAN (AUS), the current National Etchells Champion was 12th.
Jud SMITH (USA) still leads the series on 31 points, but behind him there has been a reshuffle. RAZMILOVIC on 35 points, GAIR is third with 38 points, Andy BEADSWORTH (GBR) also has 38 points. BERTRAND is the leading Australian on 49 points.The World Championship title sponsor Audi Australia also sponsored the 2006 Audi Etchells Nationals. Audi Australia are supporting a wide range of Australian sailing events including the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and the Audi Regatta in Sydney, and will be certain to make this a memorable event. The Maersk shipping Line is another Premium Sponsor and their support has meant that 28 containers have brought Etchells to Perth from around the world.