by Bronwen Ince
For the 40th Anniversary Australian Etchell Championships 2013-14, yesterday evening Southport Yacht Club was full of enthusiasm and excitement as the competitors joined together for the official opening of the Nationals championships by Mayor Tom Tate, Gold Coast City.
Andrew Palfrey, Grant Simmer and John Bertrand.
Etchell Competitors of the Championships were welcomed by Southport Yacht Club Commodore Ian Hall, President of the Australian Etchell Association Jake Gunther and Principle Race Officer Kevin Wilson.
Following the official welcome, Gold Members and Youth Sailors of Southport Yacht Club joined alongside the Competitors for a meet and greet with the 1983 Americas Cup skipper John Bertrand. Bertrand was joined with his crew members, Olympian Andrew Palfrey and Grant Simmer, who recently returned from his ninth America’s Cup.
Grant Simmer is known worldwide for his skills as Navigator, on Australia II in the 1983 Americas Cup win and now General Manager of the Oracle Team USA the pedigree of three America’s Cup victories in a career that spans four decades while Andrew Palfrey is the Artemis Racing Americas Cup Team Head Coach along with being the 2009, 2010 and 2011 winner of the Etchells Australian Championships, and in 2000 Palfrey won his first Etchell World Championships, and again in 2010 sailing with John Bertrand and Tom Slingsby.