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11 October 2006, 10:33 am
BERTRAND And CONNER Face Off
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Audi Etchells World Championship 2006
Fremantle, Australia

The 2006 Audi Etchells Worlds is a little over a month away and it is shaping as one of the best yachting events in Australia this year. America's Cup winner John BERTRAND (AUS) will clash, once again, with another America's Cup legend, Dennis CONNER (USA) at the Worlds in Fremantle.
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While CONNER has twice won the Etchells World Championship, it is a title that has so far evaded BERTRAND and he is hoping to fill a space in his trophy cabinets.

Final Qualifying Event

This weekend's 2006 Syd Corser Championship is the final 2006 Worlds qualifying event for eligible Swan River registered boats and is the first 'preview event' for the Australian fleets. The event is being organized by the Swan River Etchells Fleet in conjunction with the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht and the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

BERTRAND, Rob BROWN (AUS), the current Australian Champion and one of BERTRAND's 1983 Australian II crew, and Western Australian Etchells Champion Rob BIRD (AUS), are expected to lead the strong fleet in the Syd Corser regatta.

BROWN is in top form and he is looking to improve on his twelfth place at the 2005 Etchells Worlds. The local favourite with strong support for his campaign, is BIRD who was fifth behind BROWN at the 2006 Audi Etchells National Championship. BIRD is a strong supporter of the Etchells Class and his company, Pro Choice Safety Products a leader in Mining, Marine and industrial safety products, is one of the sponsors of the World Championship.

Locals Ready To Spoil The Party

There are plenty of Swan River locals ready to spoil the party. Gordon LUCAS (AUS) and Murray SMITH (AUS), second and third in the WA titles back in March, are in good form. In fact a host of Swan River sailors could figure over the three day regatta and these include Skip LISSIMAN (AUS), another of BERTRAND's 1983 crew, Michael MANFORD (AUS) and Alistair MCMICHAEL (AUS).

BERTRAND leads the Victorian fleet representatives. Others include Mark BULKA (AUS), the Australian champion in 2004, who was third in the 2006 Midwinters in Mooloolaba and Melbourne fleet captain Jake GUNTHER (AUS), who sailed into seventh place in the Nationals.

Pittwater (NSW) representatives for this regatta are BROWN and Dave CLARKE (AUS), who finished ninth at the Audi Nationals and eighth in the Midwinters.

The warning signal for the six race Syd Corser Championship is scheduled for 1000 on Friday. The forecast is for south/south easterly winds of ten to 15 knots increasing to south/south westerlies of 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon, a contrast to the Australian east coast where 30-50 knot north easters are likely to cause dangerous bushfire conditions.

This annual regatta provides the Swan River champion and is named in honour of Syd CORSER (AUS), a veteran sailor and a pioneer in establishing the Etchells Class fleet in Western Australia. CORSER was three times national 14 footer champion in the early 1960s and he has won club, state and national titles in four different classes and only recently retired, after 48 years, from competitive sailing.

Aussie Nationals

The 'final preview event' will be the Australian national titles from 10-12 November and the entire Australian and International fleet is expected to assemble for at this event, ahead of the World Championships from 17-26 November. All three events are being sailed in the same course area.

More information including Notices of Race for all these events are online now at www.etchellsworlds2006.org.

The Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club (RFBYC) are the host clubs, and Fremantle Sailing Club is providing the venue.

Major Sponsor: Audi Australia. Premium Sponsors: Maersk Line, Pro Choice Safety Products, Fontys Pool Wines and Events Corp. Support Sponsors: Superdata, Perth Integrated Health Clinic.

Rob KOTHE (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Rob BROWN on his way to winning the nationals:© Teri DODDS/www.teridodds.com
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