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24 November 2006, 11:00 am
Three Horse Race
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Audi Etchells World Championship 2006
Fremantle, Australia

The New Zealanders, Americans and Brits are putting the hammer down at the 2006 Audi Etchells Worlds off Fremantle, whilst the sailors from the host nation Australia are struggling to keep up with the pace. Tomorrow, there will be 70 boats on the water for the eighth and final race of the 2006 Worlds, but it will be a three horse race.
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Alastair GAIR's (NZL) Auckland team, on 18 points leads Massachusetts sailor Jud SMITH (USA) on 20 points, with Ante RAZMILOVIC (GBR) third on 26 points.

These crews have gapped the fleet; next is Andy BEADSWORTH (GBR) on 37 points ahead of the first Australian Crew, Cameron MILES on 51 points.

Another Windy Day

On the water it was another windy one just like yesterday, with the Fremantle Doctor gusting to 17 at start time and reaching 25s late in the race.

RAZMILOVIC started below GAIR on the lower third of the leeward start line and was first to shift on the left. RAZMILOVIC crossed ahead of GAIR and lead for the rest of the race.

GAIR's bowman Derek SCOTT (NZL) said, ''The Brit's were very fast, we could not break through. Mark BULKA [(AUS)] was close behind all through the race. He was attacking up the last beat, so we had to protect.'

GAIR was smiling dockside as he confirmed his crew's regatta lead, 'This is our first Worlds and to be in the lead with one race to go is great. We are really happy, now we've just got to keep it going.'

Asked about pre-event expectations he commented, ''We would be unhappy to have finished outside the top ten, we would have been really pleased with a top five. We knew we had good handling and speed in the breeze. Now we are just backing ourselves and want to keep charging in the right direction.'

RAZMILOVIC On A Roll

RAZMILOVIC is on a roll with two wins, a fourth and a second. 'We started middle left. We crossed the Kiwi's and kept the hammer down; we opened up a lead of 15 boat lengths at one stage but they came down with pressure.'

SMITH came off the water in good spirits though he had just lost the regatta lead, which he had held for the last six days. 'It was fun to be fast. The start is the big part of the race, we were just OK in that department today rounding about tenth, but on the run we were fast with a new kite, we passed boats on both runs and we gained on the beats too. Tomorrow is going to come down to who gets the best start.'

He is right. The 2006 Audi Etchells Worlds three horse race could well be decided in the first quarter mile tomorrow depending on which crew, the Brits, Kiwis or the Americans, get the jump off the line.

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.
Rob Kothe (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Alistair GAIR, with a slender lead over Jud SMITH, which he maintained until the finish:© Steb Fisher/www.steb.com.au
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