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18 January 2006, 02:58 pm
BERTRAND Moves Into The Lead
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Audi Etchells Australian Championship 2006
Melbourne, Australia

America's Cup legend John BERTRAND sailing Triad has taken the lead at the Audi Etchells Australian Championship, following a second place in race four sailed off Brighton Yacht Club today for a twelve point lead of the seven race series.
No ALT tag specifiedRepresenting Victoria with crew Ian JOHNSON and Tim EDE, BERTRAND also scored a second place in yesterday's race three, helping lift him to the top of the board. A new second place emerges today too, as another local crew, Jake GUNTHER, Tony MCPHAIL and Dean MACAULLAY on Dr Evil finished race four in fourth place, with the first day's leader Chris JACKSON sailing Quantum Leap relegated to third overall following a third place today.

Cameron MILES and crew Phil SMIDMORE and David SAMPSON won today's Heat 4. 'It was excellent racing - lumpy and bumpy on the right - but there was more wind there,' said MILES of the 20-25 knot winds on the windward/leeward course.

'We got a very good start at the boat end and got away well. We only got headed at the top mark - Chris JACKSON got us. We had a ball down the run - it was really fast - great sailing. John [BERTRAND] snuck inside him and we got home first,' MILES said.

A champion sailor in a number of classes, MILES said racing was close today - and it was. Only 21 seconds separated first and second places and only two seconds between second and third. 'Close and tight racing at the top end of the fleet every day,' he said.

However, MILES has an OCS from race one to contend with. He was second, until blown out of the race and lies 19th overall and knows he has to work hard to catch up. Representing Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Sydney, MILES is just happy to be back in the class. 'I can't wait to do more. Phil [SMIDMORE] built us a new boat which has already been sold - we hand it over after the Championship. I've got that and a very good crew,' he said.

Meanwhile, yesterday's leader at the Sail Melbourne event, Mark JOHNSON has dropped to seventh place, Rob BROWN's Steam Packet VI crew from Sydney have been bumped down from second to sixth and Julian PLANTE from third to fifth.

The 60 competitors enjoyed ideal conditions today and continue their seven race series tomorrow, with two further races to be sailed, starting from 11 00 hours local time. The Championship concludes on Friday with one further race.

Etchells Australian Championship sponsor, German luxury carmaker Audi, has become a major player in several key sailing events in Australia in 2005 and 2006, including the Audi Etchells World Championship to be held in Perth in November this year.

Around the world, Audi has had a long-standing involvement with the sport of sailing, particularly in Europe, as the fundamental principles of sailing are a direct match with Audi's philosophy of progress through the use of advanced technology.

For all the news on Sail Melbourne CLICK HERE.

Di PEARSON (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Action from Melbourne:© Andrea FRANCOLINI
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