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14 September 2006, 09:33 am
America's Cup Rematch
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Audi Etchells World Championship 2006
Fremantle, Australia

15 years after the Etchells Worlds were last staged in Western Australia, the 'boats they sail in heaven' return to Fremantle's Cockburn Sound for the 2006 Audi Etchells World Championship from 17-26 November 2006.
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The rematch between the titans of the famous 1983 America's Cup skippers, Australia's John BERTRAND and the USA's Dennis CONNER, will capture the media spotlight, while the two skippers have sailed against each other many times since, its a major event for Western Australia. It was in these waters CONNER won the Cup back for the New York Yacht Club in 1987.

Regatta Committee Chairperson Brian THORNLEY is very pleased with the support the event has already received. 'This is probably the biggest yachting event in Western Australia since the America's Cup in 1987.'

On that occasion CONNER's Stars & Stripes whitewashed Australia 4-0.

But CONNER will certainly have his hands full at this event if he is to take the top podium position, with more than 75 skippers from Australia and around the globe all vying for the World crown.

The Main Challengers

As well as the America's Cup icons, the current World Champion Chilean Tito GONZALES, the multiple North American Champion Jud SMITH, and dual World Champion Stuart CHILDERLEY from Britain will be battling against a host of top class Australian Etchells sailors.

They include Sydney sailor Rob BROWN, one of BERTRAND's 1983 crew, and the 2006 Audi Etchells Australian Champion and the 1999 World Champion Cameron MILES from Pittwater, NSW.

From the local fleet Rob BIRD, the current state champion and 2004 Masters World Champion and Skip LISSIMAN, another of BERTRAND's Australia II winning crew, will be keen to use their 'local knowledge' to advantage.

There is a strong sponsorship in place with Audi Australia, who sponsored the Audi Etchells Nationals and who now supporting a wide range of Australian sailing events.

'With the support of the shipping line Maersk, 28 containers are scheduled to bring Etchells to Perth from around the world, so the 2006 event is already assured of pride of place as the most internationally representative Etchells Class World Championship event in many years,' says Bill STEELE, an International Governor from the Etchells Class and regular sailor in the Swan River fleet.

Strong International Presence

'The fleet will have a very strong international presence, attracting a large US representation of ten crews. There will be four Irish crews, six British crews, good numbers of competitors from New Zealand and crews from Bermuda and Hong Kong.

Etchells One design class racing is considered by many sailing experts to be the most competitive small keelboat on earth, although the 470 Class might take issue, and the Cockburn Sound, the best water, hence the cheeky catch cry 'the boat they sail in heaven - sailing in heaven.'

The event will be preceded by the six race Syd Corser Championships from 13-15 October and the Australian National Championships from 10-12 November.

Spectators with boats can take in the very best the international yachting world can offer. It's a world class event, with the world's top yachtsmen, being raced in Fremantle - which should not be missed.

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, John BERTRAND in action on Triad at the Etchells Australians:© Jeff CROW, Sport the Library at Sail Melbourne
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