Etchells Australian titles - Six times World Champion joins the fleet
by Etchells Australian Championship 2011 Media on 11 Jan 2011
The Etchells One Design fleet in Australia is probably the best in the world. Sailors who will be competing in the Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship in Geelong, Victoria this week, include a long list of America’s Cup sailors, World Champions and Olympians and the list continues to grow as more and more high performance sailors from other classes sail Etchells as part of their cross training.
Perfect Balance Crew (L-R) Skipper Mark Bulka, Stewart Nichols and Glenn Ashby - Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championships 2011 Teri Dodds © http://www.teridodds.com
Now six times A Class Catamaran World Champion Glenn Ashby is returning to the Etchells Class.
Mark Bulka, Stuart Nicolls and Glenn Ashby won the 2004 Australian National Championships in Adelaide and have not sailed together since.
Ahead of today’s Championship start, Ashby who was catching up with everyone at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club last night, commented 'Certainly a change of pace after trapezing on an A Cat to doing the Etchells bow.
'The depth of talent and expertise is amazing and any of 20 boats could easily win the regatta.
‘Whilst we are looking to do well, Etchells regattas are always a lot of fun, meeting up with everyone again.'
Yesterday the fleet sailed a practice race on Corio Bay.
The heavy rain cleared allowing a start at 1300 in the northern end of the Bay, in a light 5-7 knot southerly.
The adrenalin was flowing and after two general recalls, the black flag was raised. Six boats were over the line early, including two Etchells World Champions John Bertrand and John Savage, along with Stephen Gunther, Mark Bulka, Dave Clark and Ian Crisp.
The fleet split down the middle beating up to the top mark, with those going right up the first work benefiting from the freshening south easterly sea breeze coming in from Stingray Bay.
Gary Boyd's B Squared rounded two boat lengths ahead of Geelong's sailor Guyon Wilson's Voodoo Spirit and Niesje Hees' Functional Overlay.
As the breeze began to die, the course was shortened. B-Squared extended the lead throughout the race to take line honours with Graeme Taylor's Magpie second and Mark Doyle's Miramar third.
Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championships – The first race in this nine race series will start at 11:55am today, Tuesday 11th January 2011.
More news and results at www. http://www.etchells.org.au/nationals/
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