News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : America's Cup skipper John Bertrand wins Australian Etchells title

America's Cup skipper John Bertrand wins Australian Etchells title

'Triad crew (L to R) Grant Simmer Andrew Palfrey and John Bertrand currently lead the 2011 Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship'    Etchells Media

John Bertrand, current Etchells World Champion successfully defended his Australian title today with the help of crew, Grant Simmer (bow) and Andrew 'Dog' Palfrey (mid boat).

Bertrand who won the America's Cup for Australia in 1983 has been sailing Etchells since 1990 after joining the One Design class, which had been his America's Cup arch-rival Denis Connor's favourite class for a long time.

John Bertrand explained dockside ‘After we won the Cup in 1983, I did not really go near a sail boat for seven years. Then two good friends of mine, Ernie Lawrence and Bill Browne got me into Etchells in 1990 and we raced in the Etchells Worlds of 1993 in Perth and I’ve been in the class ever since.

'Although this is my fifth Australian Championship win, it’s only in the last three years that I’ve gotten serious about getting organised.

'I’m in the fortunate position of being able to ask some pretty good sailors if they’d like to sail with me. Andrew Palfrey has joined me and we’ve had Ben Ainslie, (Triple Olympic Gold Medallist) and then for the last year Tom Slingsby (2010 ISAF Sailor of the Year and triple Laser World Champion) sailing with us. We won the last Australian Championships, then the World titles in Ireland.

‘To sail again with Grant Simmer (Australia II Navigator 1983) was terrific because he's been in sailing management roles for quite a while.

‘Last time we sailed together after 1983 was in the America's Cup Jubilee in Cowes (England) in 2001 and to catch up with him was quite a blast. In between racing we talked a lot about the America's Cup, he has done I think nine America's Cups.'

Report from the Final Day

After days of rain, brilliant sunshine and light breezes greeted competitors on the final day of the Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship, being sailed from the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.

Bertrand and his Triad team of Andrew Palfrey and Grant Simmer led into the final day but with the big one design fleet set to sail at least one further race, the Championship was still in play.

PRO Greg Sinclair set the course at 250, in middle of the Bay towards Corio Quay.

Race 7 started at 11.00am but the start resulted in a general recall. The Race Committee then gunned the fleet away at 11:15 on a two lap course, with a 1.6 miles first leg length followed by one mile thereafter, out to the west sou-west on Corio Bay.

Cameron Miles (Are We There Yet?) chose the Committee boat end of the line and headed right. Championship leader John Bertrand (Triad) started mid line and was soon the most left of the right hand boats. Damien King (Barry) started close to the pin and came across to join Bertrand.

The boats on the far right at the start looked to be in trouble as the fleet headed up the course to the first mark, in quite shifty conditions.

At the top mark, the Committee boat signalled a new heading at 290.

The boats that sailed along the refinery shore from the mid right were doing well and Hong Kong sailor Mark Thornburrow (Racer X 923) led the fleet round. Graeme Talylor (Magpie) and Cameron Miles (Are We There Yet?) closely followed. Next came Jervis Tilly (Bushfire), Graeme Alexander (Smile and Wave) and Doug Williams (Vertigo). Sixth was Gary Boyd (B Squared), then Ian Johnson (Bananas in Pyjamas), Tom Braidwood (Bad Doll) and Ian Crisp (That’s Life).

John Bertrand (Triad) was 14th, with Mark Bulka (Perfect Balance) Bertrand’s nearest rival for the championship title, further back in the pack. Damien King (Barry) was also well back.

The breeze was at eight knots and lifting as the fleet started their run to bottom mark.

Towards the bottom mark Bertrand looked to have lost considerable ground against title rival Bulka, who was at least six to eight places ahead of him.

The championship appeared wide open.

With the breeze oscillating up and down, the fluky conditions were testing the skills of the Etchells fleet.

At the top mark, which was set close in towards the shore, Graeme Taylor on Magpie was leading until they de-powered when their headsail came down about one metre. Before the crew could recover, Jervis Tilly (Bushfire) sailed through them. Magpie rounded in second, followed by Gordon Hinds (Grand V), Doug Williams (Vertigo), Cameron Miles (Are We There Yet?), John Savage (Black Knight) and Graeme Alexander (Smile and Wave).

The wind shifted left during the first half of the second run, then went back right, then came hard in from the left.

Jervis Tilly (Bushfire) drifted across the finish line in the old breeze while Mark Thornburrow (Racer X 923) brought up the new pressure.

Third across was Graeme Taylor (Magpie), then Cameron Miles (Are We There Yet?), Mark Bulka (Perfect Balance) fifth, Gary Boyd (B Squared) and Doug Williams (Vertigo). Tom Braidwood (Bad Doll) was eighth, Geelong sailor Brendan Garner (The Moe Szyslak Experience) ninth and Gordon Hinds (Grand V) tenth.

Series leader John Bertrand (Triad) finished 12th.

After Race 7 the Overall Progressive score was John Bertrand (Triad) 34 points, leading Mark Bulka (Perfect Balance) 36 points, Mark Thornburrow (Racer X 923) 37, Graeme Taylor (Magpie) 44, Noel Drennan (Jack's Hut) and Gary Boyd (B Squared) 51, Damien King (Barry) 54.

Bertrand also led the Masters and the Grand Masters Divisions of the Australian Championship.

The Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship Sailing Instructions state that the last race of the final day must commence by 2.00pm. The Race Committee set a course for Race 8 of the series and waited for the breeze to build. Instead it dropped as the fleet waited patiently in the brilliant sunshine out on Corio Bay.

At 13.55 with no breeze and the deadline fast approaching, the Committee had no option but to raise the N over A, sound three toots and abandon racing.

Results are provisional*
Full Results at

Dockside Quotes

John Bertrand commented ‘We went into today’s racing well placed. The race was difficult, we rounded top ten and then lost about ten places as boats came in from the other side of the course. We got back, we passed a lot of boats on the final run and that delivered us the regatta.’

Grant Simmer too was happy and just a little relieved. ‘The breeze was very shifty and up and down for the last four races especially. As it was my job to call the breeze and make the tactical decisions it was quite stressful at times.

‘We were not so good after the start a few times and we managed to get back into the races.

‘John and Dog (Andrew Palfrey) were very patient with me but they were definitely sending me a message when one day during the week they left to come to the Yacht Club and shut up the house and put the alarm on, and left me inside. I had to phone them and get them to come back and get me, so that is how important I was' he laughed.

‘Luckily when you sail with the Dog you don’t have to think much, he tells you what to do all the time, which is good. Overall it was a great experience and lots of fun.’

Andrew Palfrey had a huge grin. ‘A busy week. I had to look after a couple of old age pensioners, doing my bit for society - you know giving a bit back.

'Seriously it was a really rewarding experience sailing with John and Grant, we just got better all the time.’

Mark Bulka and his Perfect Balance crew, Glenn Ashby and Stewart Nichols, sailed a good series to finish second behind Bertrand.

Bulka said ‘We were nine points behind John Bertrand and his Triad team at the start of the day, and we clawed back seven points and came in second overall.

‘In today’s race we went up the middle for a while on the first beat, then I made a call for the left and that went pear shaped and we went round the mark 30-40 and John was well ahead of us, so we figured game over.

‘But he gybed on the inside, we kept going and got a really nice breeze down the right and we got back into 15th, chipped away on the next beat into the top ten and then had another good run to finish fifth.

‘We were starting to have a good time; when you are 40th you think this is no fun, but when you are in the top ten that is pretty good fun.

‘We were disappointed the PRO was not able to get that last race in. It really would have been an all out war.

‘It was obvious the Race Committee was trying hard, but it was very shifty and they just ran out of time.

‘Not a bad hit out for the 2004 Australian Champions, with this lightass (Glenn Ashby) on the bow again. We will do it again.’

Glenn Ashby, one of the leading multihull sailors in the world, was part of Mark’s Australian Champion 2004 Etchells crew and was onboard with Bulka again this week.

Waiting for the haul out crane Glenn commented ‘Really enjoyed the change of pace this week.

'Last week I sailed at the A Cat Nationals (he won) and next week I will be sailing at the F18 National titles with Dean Barker (the Team New Zealand America's Cup skipper).

‘The interesting thing is that Etchells, with such a high quality fleet and with such close boat on boat racing, gives you time to really think about what you are doing, look at what works and what does not in terms of making course decisions and this really refreshes the multihull decision making processes.

‘Because you are travelling very fast through the pressure and the shifts, its all split second on multihulls.

‘Cross training really works - a week on the Etchells and I am really refreshed.’

Now it remains to be seen if good mates Tom Slingsby and Glenn Ashby can persuade Nathan Outteridge (the new Moth World Champion and 49er World Champion) that he needs to sail an Etchells at the 2012 Worlds in Sydney!!

Congratulations to all the competitors, the Geelong Etchells Championship Organising Committee and to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club for an excellent 2011 Australian Etchells Championship.

The 2012 Australian Etchells Championship will be held at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on Sydney Harbour, ahead of the 2012 Etchells World Championship.

by Etchells Australian Championship 2011 Media


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

6:25 AM Sat 15 Jan 2011 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on

Related News Stories:

28 Jan 2011  International Etchells Australian Championships - Consistency is key !
15 Jan 2011  Etchells Australian Championship - Top ten images from Teri Dodds
15 Jan 2011  Etchells Australian Championship final day images by Teri Dodds
15 Jan 2011  Etchells Australian Championship images by Teri Dodds
14 Jan 2011  Etchells Australian Championship: World Champion John Bertrand leads
13 Jan 2011  Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship: Barry on a roll
13 Jan 2011  Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Aust Championship Day 3 – Driving rain
12 Jan 2011  Etchells Australia - more photos from the Day 2 action
12 Jan 2011  Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells - Photo Action from Teri Dodds
12 Jan 2011  Rex Gorell Prestige Etchells Australian Championship - A Booming Day 2

News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race: Fleet charges the door of the Doldrums Casino *Feature by Richard Gladwell/
The Volvo Ocean Race has lifted intensity again on Day 9 with the fleet spread across 100nm of ocean and charging in a line for the turning point of Fernando de Noronha, 220nm off the Brazilian coast. ... [more]  

The first eight days of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race have been filled with more excitement and tighter racing than anyone could have anticipated. Up until Saturday morning, Leg One has left the fleet with few tactical options and therefore has kept everyone tightly packed as one unit of seven boats. ... [more]  

As expected the third day of the 2014 La Torche PWA Grand Slam proved to be a quiet affair with very light winds throughout the day. After a chilly and overcast start, the sun eventually broke through to produce another beautiful afternoon in La Torche. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. The sun’s out. It’s warm – not too hot, but warm enough for just a tee shirt. Ian Walker is stood at the helm of his Emirati boat, generous Atlantic trade winds whistling past his ears. 'We’re going straight through,' he claims, confidently. 'What Doldrums? - they’re going to say. Azzam isn’t even going to slow down.' ... [more]  

At 1700 CET in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, 113 yachts had rounded Stromboli, the active volcano that marks the most northerly point of the course. Race leader on the water, Esimit Europa 2, was less than 20 miles from Favignana and preparing to turn south with 289 miles to go and is expected to finish the race in the early hours of Wednesday 22 October, which would be well outside the course record ... [more]  

It is with great pleasure that the Star Sailors League announces that two more top Brazilian sailors will be joining the fleet of 20 super-champions taking part in the Star Sailors League Finals 2014 being held for the second consecutive year at Nassau Yacht Club in the Bahamas between December 1st and 7th. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day Nine onboard Team Alvimedica. It’s hard to explain the complexity of the weather in this part of the world. No computer model or forecaster can accurately predict the winds because the air here is dry and warm, 23c now, and the typical barometric pressure gradients that generate them become very weak. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Day Nine onboard Team SCA. We’re a boat on a mission: catch the fleet. And they’re getting closer by the mile. The first time I sailed past Cape Verde islands was in 2010 when I was helping deliver a catamaran from Gibraltar to Antigua, W.I. ... [more]  

Thailand bids for 2016 IODA ‘Optimist’ World Championships by Jordan Rumsby, Royal Varuna Yacht Club
Pattaya's Royal Varuna Yacht Club has submitted a bid to host the 2016 International Optimist Dinghy Association World Championships, offering the world's most talented junior sailing teams a chance to experience the steady wind, sunshine, smiles, great food, and family-friendly attractions of Thailand's top dinghy sailing destination ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this second gallery of images from the Final Day - Day 4 Prizegiving ... [more]  

Bill Green - builder and sailor passes on by Malcolm McKeag, Scuttlebutt Europe, Lymington, England:
Bill Green, San Francisco-born sailor, Navy jet jockey (not a lot of people know that); US Coastguard; shrimp-boat hand (not a lot of people know that either); One Ton Cup winner and most latterly proprietor of Green Marine slipped quietly away from this life ... [more]  

Tom Burton (AUS) retained World #1 in the Laser after a tremendous fight back at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao where he picked up bronze. The Australia had a tough opening day, finishing down the pack in both races but as the week progressed he worked his way up and sealed bronze on the final day to keep hold of World #1. ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this gallery of images from the Final Day - Day 4 ... [more]  

Photographer Ellen Hoke was on the water at the Farr 40 Worlds sailed from the St Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 ... [more]  

Rolex Middle Sea Race 2014 - A hard day's night by Media Royal Malta Yacht Club
Rolex Middle Sea Race - As high pressure moved in from the north, the area around Stromboli had virtually no gradient wind and for those yachts yet to reach Stromboli, a south flowing current has slowed proceedings even further. For the competitive offshore yacht racer, performing well in light wind is more difficult than blasting through a storm at top speed. ... [more]  

34th Student Yachting World Cup - France knew today its best day since the beginning of the competition. They spent the two races at the very first positions, even rivaling with the ultra-dominant English team. They showed today an astounding panache, and can now hope to improve their ranking before the end of the SYWoC. ... [more]  

The Chinese entry Donfeng Race Team, has lost her lead on Day 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race, with boats on the east and western side of the course threatening. Two hours before the most recent sked at 0640hrs UTC, Dongfeng was still being listed by Volvo Ocean Race as the leader. But Team Brunel is now listed as the leader, but on a time taken projection basis, Team Brunel is fifth. ... [more]  

Flying Dreams is a movie directed by the talented Elsa Blayau is an ode to ocean, water sports and femininity. Based on an original idea from Alex Udin, Elsa Blayau transformed the project to a complete story and brought it to reality with this realization. ... [more]  

The 70th running of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is living up to expectation with 98 high-calibre entries received so far, from Sean Langman’s 1932 built Maluka of Kermandie, the oldest and smallest boat at nine metres, to the super maxis. The most talked about boat though, is the Verdier Yacht Design and Vplp 100 footer, Comanche. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Blogs from the Boats - Leg 1, Day 8 plus Videos *Feature by Richard Gladwell/
Several of the On Board Reporters aboard, provide their unique views of Leg 1, Day 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race - in text, images and video. Catch a birthday at sea on board Team Brunel, and unravel the fishing net with Team SCA Hear and see how the crews coped with the front that came through in the nigh ... [more]  

Shala Youngerman and her team from Southwestern Yacht Club won the 23rd annual Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge Sunday in this two-day fleet race regatta organized and sponsored by the Long Beach/Los Angeles Women’s Sailing Association and hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. ... [more]  

After three days of racing in the Valparaíso bay, the Santander team was crowned champion of the Off Valparaíso Race, first stage of the Soto 40 South American Tour that was held in the Yacht Club de Chile with the participation of eight boats. ... [more]  

Day two of the La Torche PWA Grand Slam saw the glorious golden sunshine continue together with the waves, but unfortunately the wind remained absent again. To keep the crowds entertained Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde) and birthday boy - Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde) - attempted a bit of wave tow-in with varying degrees of success, as Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) took control of the jet ski. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng consolidates lead on Day 8 *Feature by Richard Gladwell,
After cutting between the Cape Verde islands, separating from the rest of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, Chinese entry, Dongfeng gained an initial significant lead, which they are in the process of consolidating. One routing option for the then race leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, gave the team the option of cutting inside the island group, they are close to the optimum course for Fernando off Brazil ... [more]  

RS:X Youth World Championships - All set for Clearwater action by RS:X Olympic Windsurfing Class Association
Mild, breezy weather, temperate Gulf of Mexico waters and wide bands of sugar white sand - this is the place where 2014 RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championship racing is about to start. 'Clearwater Beach is the perfect spot to play host to the young windsurfers gathering here from around the world for international competition', says Frank Chivas. ... [more]  

The first 24 hours of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has seen the fleet progress slowly up the eastern seaboard of Sicily towards the Strait of Messina. By 16.00 on day two, a mere ten per cent of the competition had passed through the Strait and started the leg to Stromboli, where they will turn west towards the Egadi Islands. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - If only it were that easy. Amazingly we did manage to replace the rudder and regain first position amongst the fleet however just hours afterwards, navigator Pascal Bidégorry was faced with an important strategic decision. ... [more]  

Ian Moore, navigator on Cookson 50, Mascalzone Latino, is no stranger to the Rolex Middle Sea Race, this is his fourth and Ian was part of the winning crew on Bryon Ehrhart's TP52, Lucky in 2010. Ian describes the tactical nuances of the first night at sea. ... [more]  

Top videographer and photographer, John Navas, was on the water for the final day of the Farr 40 Worlds being sailed on San Francisco. ... [more]  

The brilliant conditions of last week’s opening race of the season were duplicated today when the Australian 18 Footers League’s Major A. Frizelle Trophy race was sailed in a 20–knot North East wind on Sydney Harbour. Current JJ Giltinan champion Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage showed why they are the world’s best team. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - The fleet has finally left the West African Coast. They are now in the trade winds, making the westerly course across the Atlantic Ocean to FernandoThey will find the Cape Verde Islands in the way and that will cause some issues of navigation. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - It was a light wind, big wave finish at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao as the medallists were decided across the six fleets competing on the waters of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. ... [more]  

2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - In life, timing is everything. And, after seven years in the Farr 40 class, the timing was right for New York financier Alex Roepers to achieve a long-held goal of winning the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. ... [more]  

Coast Guard rescues two near Wachapreague
2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Day 2
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Massive swell on day 1
Volvo Ocean Race: Welcome to Al's Ocean Cafe
Argo Group Gold Cup survives Hurricane Gonzalo
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng regains lead after incident packed Day 7 *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Dramatic video of Dongfeng rudder replacement
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica bounces back
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA expecting the expected + Video
Rolex Middle Sea Race - New record for Mediterranean classic
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Medallists decided across six fleets
Volvo Ocean Race - Impressive turnaround for Dongfeng Race Team +Video
Volvo Ocean Race: Race closer than leaderboard suggests - Leg 1, Day 6
Volvo Ocean Race: Dongfeng Race Team break rudder after collision
2014 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Famous breeze frustrates
2014 Off Valparaíso Race - Day 1
Sunfish World Championship - Victory for Argentina's Francisco Renna
Volvo Ocean Race - Feeling the pressure six days in
Volvo Ocean Race - Alvimedica cautiously cruising down coast of Africa
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Brunel still within striking distance
Volvo Ocean Race - Testing times for Team SCA + Video   
Beijing 2008 Olympic legacy lives on in Qingdao + Video   
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - A return nearly 20 years in the making   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Game on for remaining fleets   
Farr 40 Worlds: Day 2 Image and Video gallery *Feature   
Day 5 of the Chris Benz Lüderitz Speed Challenge: 4 more records!   
Volvo Ocean Race: Coastal racing at its best - Leg 1, Day 5   
Chris Poole new number one Open Match Racer in U.S.   
Rolex Farr 40 World Champs - Plenty leads as Struntje Light impresses   
2014 Soto 40 South American Tour - Back in action   
Volvo Ocean Race - Mail arrival brings excitement for Team SCA + Video   
Volvo Ocean Race - Jens Dolmer getting restless onboard Team Brunel   
Volvo Ocean Race - Too close for comfort as fleet pushes on + Video   
Foils or not? Explanations from IMOCA Class President Jean Kerhoas   
Ben Ainslie's Olympic Finn sails are up for auction   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica goes to school   
Volvo Ocean Race - Intensity level rises for Dongfeng Race Team   
China Cup Regatta - Olympic medallists and offshore legends to race   
St. Barth Cata Cup - Friendly US rivalry on the Island   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao - Tight and tactical racing + Video   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT