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12 January 2005, 09:14 am
'Carnival for Sailors' on Sydney Harbour
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Australian Etchells Championship
Sydney, Australia

Australia's leading one-design keelboat sailors will contest the Australian Etchells National Championship on Sydney Harbour next week, headed by World champion Peter McNEILL and America's Cup sailors John BERTRAND and Iain MURRAY.
Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron has received more than 55 entries for the series, making it the largest ever to contest a keelboat series within the Harbour. Racing for the seven race series will start on Monday 17 January and continue through to Thursday 20 January.

'The Squadron is turning on a 'carnival for sailors',' says Etchells Sydney fleet captain Peter ALEXANDER, 'and it has drawn the best Etchells sailors in the nation.'

Peter McNEILL, from the Lake Macquarie fleet, won the 2004 World Etchells championship at Mooloolaba last August and this will be his first major competition since that victory.

John BERTRAND, although based in Melbourne, has a special affinity for Sydney Harbour while the Harbour has been the scene of many of Iain MURRAY's sailing triumphs.

Among other Sydney sailors competing will be young match racing champion Michael DUNSTAN at the helm of Sir James HARDY's Foolhardy, while Olympian and Yngling World champion Neville WITTEY is returning to the three-crew Etchells class after an offshore racing stint,

America's Cup sailor Michael COXON and Will McCARTHY have yet to decide who will steer their boat, while other entrants include defending Australian champion Mark BULKA from Mornington in Victoria and Glen COLLINGS, also from Mornington, who finished third in the 2004 World championship.

Among the Queenslanders competing are Mark BRADFORD while Julian PLANTE will be anxious to make up for his luckless fourth in the World championship which saw him lose third place to Collings following a turn-around by the International Jury.

Peter Campbell (As Amended by ISAF)
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