The British team of Stuart Childerley, Simon Russell and Roger Marino dominated the 2002 Waiwera Infinity Water International Etchells World Championship race on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf over the last week.
Childerley, Russell and Nick Pearson, had won the 2001 Championship in Lymington. Pearson left the crew last year
to sail with GBR Challenge in Auckland and Marino joined the team only recently. The three sailors had only limited practice together before this series.
However it seem to matter nought. In the heavy conditions which characterised the week, they sailed sensationally. In a 98-boat fleet, clear air is not always easy, but they were higher and faster, finding clear lanes and down wind they regularly took extra places.
Their 2,2,1,1,9,3,9,1,3 was awe-inspiring. They did not always have luck, their ninth came being caught badly on the wrong side of a shift, arriving twenty-fifth at the second mark.
Rumours abound here in Auckland, that more than a few of the America's Cup syndicates are keen to have a quiet ale with Childerley.
Australia's Mark Bradford, with crew Mike O'Brien and Gary Adshead had a regatta to be proud of, three wins, a third and fifth and 96 boats and a class field behind them.
Third was Cameron Miles, Phil Smidmore and James Mayjor, the 1999 World Champions. John Bertrand (AUS) finished sixth, Dennis Conner (USA) seventh and Ian Murray (AUS) ninth.
Seven Australian crews in the top 10, but who is counting. As the crews, now showered and thirsty dragged their weary bodies in the Gulf Harbour Yacht Club for the Presentation Ceremony NZ Etchell's Association President Doug Reid commented
"A great event. With nine races and the solid breezes we've had, the sailors and officials are all bone tired right now. But a few beers and they will be away"
Top Ten Overall Results (After 9 Races/1 Discard)