BERTRAND was fast off the line in today's race, a little too fast according to race officials. He cleared out and was at once stage 50 seconds ahead, but the fleet ran him down. It was blowing 25 knots and the seas were steepening as BERTRAND led GAIR by just 13 seconds round the bottom mark. GAIR had surfed down the run, taking ten seconds out of the leader and up the beat GAIR found a shift on the right, to sail into the lead.
Second across the line was Britain Ante RAZMILOVIC, three boat lengths behind GAIR. As BERTRAND crossed five lengths later, the skipper swung round and saw the OCS notification on the 1983 America's Cup tender Black Swan, with the dreaded message Race 6 OCS - 55. In non-yachtie terms, 'You broke the start and your score is not 3 but 73.'
But the veteran America's Cup sailor has lodged a protest against the ruling which will be heard shortly.
GAIR said dockside, 'We managed to get off the line fast, rounded fourth and had pretty good downwind pace, we just managed to get close to John on the second run and found some shifts. But we've still got a bit of yachting to go yet, so we will just keep concentrating.'
SMITH still leads the regatta, on a count back after his sixth, a good recovery as he was 11th at the final bottom mark. SMITH said today, 'We fixed our up wind problem, but not our downwind problem. I picked the wrong kite. We just don't sail in the heavy conditions. I looked at the long range forecast before the regatta started, we could see it would start light and get heavier, later so we knew we'd to go well early and then hang on in the heavier weather. The four up crews seem to have an advantage upwind and that is what is keeping us in the series.'
RAZMILOVIC commented, 'It was a pretty standard day. We seemed to be going faster up the last beat. When the NZL went right, we thought we'd get through them, we'd get through them, but it turned out to be the other way. Overall though we are sailing fast, but minimizing risks.'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.