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11 January 2002, 11:40 am
Brett On Form
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Australian Contender Nationals

Victoria’s Arthur Brett has backed up his recent State win in the Contender class winning the Australian Championships convincingly at Black Rock Yacht Club yesterday.

The 40 year old from Frankston also won the World Championships in Canada last year and will take on an impressive national and international line-up to defend the title which will commence out of Black Rock Yacht Club on January 15, when seven races on triangle courses will decide who will take the trophy home.

Thirty two Australian entrants contested the Australian's - five races were sailed with one race drop. Brett managed to win all but one race, in which he finished 2nd, leaving him with a perfect scoreboard of 4 points. Second place-getter was Steven Grimes who finished on 10 points with Tim Hill in 3rd place with 12 points.

Interestingly, a number of international entries also sailed the courses, including former World champion, Andrea Bonezzi from Italy. Whilst no official score was recorded for the international contingent, Bonezzi did not finish in a top three place.

This result bodes well for Brett, who gave up sailing for some years after suffering injuries from sailboarding (an event he hold three Australian titles for) constantly. He credits coach Lex Bertrand with his race winning technique in sailing this difficult one-man trapeze dinghy. Bertrand had Brett sailing every day and concentrating more on boat skills and confronting the opposition, rather than the traditional boat speed and two boat tuning coaching used by others. This has obviously worked well for him.

This result does not mean Brett can rest on his laurels, nor does it mean his winning the Worlds is a foregone conclusion. Entries number 63 already - the United Kingdom has sent 13 boats; Germany 8; the Netherlands, Italy and Austria have 2 each, whilst Denmark and USA have one representative each. The host country, Australia, has 33 representatives from Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

There are many challengers waiting to wrestle the World Championship from Arthur Brett. From the Europeans, most notable is the Italian Andrea Bonezzi, a previous triple world champion and second to Arthur last year. Great Britain's, Tim Holden, David Davies, Richard Batten will also be knocking on the door. From Germany, Jan Von Der Bank has a new boat and could be dangerous. Denmark's Soren Andreasen also has a new boat and will be threatening if the breeze is lighter.

The Australians have a number of strong contenders as well in the shape of Stephen Fries, Tim Hill and Stephen Grimes, so Brett will have to keep his concentration and direction on track.

Brett should revel in the fact that Black Rock Yacht Club will host the Worlds, as this is his "home" - the club that has supported him and where he does all his practice from on Port Phillip Bay.

The action on the triangle courses is expected to be spectacular - with forecasts of high winds for most of the regatta, these unstable boats will be hard-put not to capsize. On-water viewing can be arranged at Black Rock Yacht Club between 15 and 19 January.
Di Pearson/News Editor
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