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25 November 2006, 05:45 pm
American SMITH Wins
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Audi Etchells World Championship 2006
Fremantle, Australia

Jud SMITH (USA), the three times North American Etchells Champion and four times Worlds runner up took the gun in the eighth and final race to win the 2006 Audi Etchells World Championship off Fremantle, West Australia today.
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SMITH and his crew of Dirk KNEULMAN (CAN) and New Zealanders Andrew WILLS and Thomas SAUNDERS, crossed the finish line and shortly afterwards the Star Spangled Banner boomed from the Black Swan, the very same tender that boomed out Men at Work back in 1983 when Australia 11 took the America's Cup.

SMITH won the Audi Etchells Worlds 2006 showing his ability and determination to take the title in the last race of the series.

The Fremantle Doctor was pumping with winds climbing into the 20s as SMITH led from the first mark he was overtaken by his countryman Chris BUSCH (USA) down the run but rounded inside the San Diego sailor. Halfway up the beat for the second time, he crossed ahead and was never overtaken again. SMITH crossed ahead of BUSCH, third was Craig HEALY (USA).

Ante RAZMILOVIC (GBR) needed to beat SMITH by two places today, but the best he could do was fourth. New Zealander Alastair GAIR who led into the eighth and final race of the series only needed to stay in contact to take the title. At the top mark for the first time the Kiwi's were 18th; they fought back valiantly to take seventh place and had to be content to settle with second overall.

Start Crucial

SMITH predicted this morning that, 'Today it's going to come down to who gets the best start.' He was right. The 2006 Audi Etchells Worlds was decided in the first 500 metres, SMITH hit the line with speed and had a clear lane, RAZMILOVIC was slower and GAIR was buried and that was the race.

Dockside SMITH commented, 'We had a lot of fun on the boat, it was a United Nations, we got faster and faster all week. The monkey is off my back, after four seconds.

'I thought that we did not deserve to win the Worlds last year in San Francisco, we just did not have the speed, and we came up short. We are good in under 15 knots, but it took a year long campaign to improve our heavy weather sailing.

'When we crossed the finish line we wanted to make sure we were not on the OCS board on the finish boat, there were six numbers and we were relieved to see that we were not one of them.

'The Australians, New Zealanders and British are better in heavy air, but today we have Americans 1,2,3 so we are learning.'

Repeat Win For KNEULMAN

Canadian KNEULMAN, SMITH's main sheet crew, was the 1998 Etchells World Champion. This afternoon he commented, 'This is better than my win back then. Jud has been the best Etchells ailor around for a long time. We are all just so happy he has his reward at last. It's been an honour to sail with him.

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.

Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Helm Crew Crew Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Pts
1 USA Jud SMITH Dirk KNEULMAN Andrew WILLS Thomas SAUNDERS 1 2 1 6 (21) 6 4 1 21
2 NZL Alastair GAIR David RIDLEY Carl PETERS Derek SCOTT 2 (23) 4 3 6 1 2 7 25
3 GBR Ante RAZMILOVIC Jez FANSTONE Stuart FLINN 9 9 (12) 1 4 2 1 4 30
4 GBR Andy BEADSWORTH James MCHUGH Simon FRY 3 4 2 10 (19) 9 9 13 50
5 USA Craig HEALY Kieth STAHNKE David GRUVER 8 (70) OCS 23 2 3 3 14 3 56
6 AUS Cameron MILES Phil SMIDMORE Dave SAMSON 4 14 (17) 17 2 7 7 10 61
7 AUS John BERTRAND Ian JOHNSON Tim EDE 10 17 9 12 1 (70) OCS 10 5 64
8 AUS Mark BULKA Stewart NICHOLS Steve YOUNG 18 13 6 (29) 11 5 3 8 64
9 AUS Mark BRADFORD Graeme TAYLOR Steve JARVIN 5 (34) 5 4 5 8 32 6 65
10 GBR Stuart CHILDERLEY Simon RUSSELL Roger MARINO (27) 11 8 5 8 13 18 15 78
Rob Kothe (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Jud SMITH wins the Audi Etchells Worlds:© Sail-world.com/www.sail-world.com
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