The world’s finest one-design sailors will converge on Sydney in February 2012 for the Etchells World Championship. Conducted by Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in conjunction with the Sydney Etchells Fleet, racing will be held on the open waters of Manly Circle.
The publication of the Notice of Race heralds for many Etchells sailors the start of the road to the Sydney Worlds, to be held from 16th to 25th February.
Regatta Director David Sturrock said this week, 'it is only appropriate that Sydney and the Squadron host the worlds in 2012 as it will be the sesquicentenary year of the Yacht Squadron and this event will bring the best yachtsmen in the world to Australia.
'I have had some wonderful feedback from overseas sailors saying that if the worlds were anywhere else they might go, but with their wife wanting to come along and with quite a bit of a family network behind the event, Sydney is the place to be next year. It is a great place for family and supporters to visit and enjoy. The Squadron is also the only facility in Sydney that can handle between 70 and 80 boats all locked in the pond.'
Racing will be over six days with a maximum of nine races scheduled.
Overseas entries will come from Hong Kong, New Zealand, America, Ireland, England, Italy, France, and Canada.
Hong Kong’s Ante Razmilovic, second in the worlds in 2009, and Mark Thornburrow are both planning to be in Sydney. From New Zealand, Alastair Gair and Lindsay Kennedy both said they are looking forward to qualifying.
At least four British skippers are hoping to compete in Sydney - David Franks, Robert Elliott, Rob Goddard and Laurence Mead. It will be an anxious wait for them as their final qualification is the British nationals in mid-September.
Mead said, 'I had the RSYS up on Google maps only today looking at the harbour and race track. I very much hope to be in the British fleet for the Worlds. It's one of the world’s great cities and the sailing should be awesome. I can stick my boat in a 40 container and like when I got it to and from Melbourne a few years ago, it was very easy which makes the Etchells such a great class to race internationally.'
Australian Noel Drennan plans to compete in Sydney in February with his team from last year’s worlds, Will McCarthy and Anthony Nossiter. 'The Sydney Worlds will be great as it’s a good time of the year weather-wise and we will have to be ready to race in a variety of wind and sea conditions,' Drennan said.
Worlds 2010 champion, Australia’s John Bertrand, will definitely be in Sydney. 'We will be there with the same boat and same crew as Ireland. ' Their boat goes back in the water in September for some local Melbourne racing. They will then head north to Pittwater for the NSW state titles in November. The boat will stay at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club while the team travels in for some training before lining up again on the offshore start line in early February for the national championship also to be held off Palm Beach which will give Bertrand and his team time to practice racing in the open water conditions.
'It’s been a long time since I have raced on Manly Circle. I was there last year to look at the Farr 40 World Championship. I haven’t spent a lot of time out there, but I enjoy big wave sailing which I have grown up with on Port Phillip Bay,' Bertrand said.
The on-water team for the World Championship will be some of the best international sailing technicians. 'It is important that we provide to the Etchells the best possible people available. It is important to them and they expect it,' Sturrock said. The race management team will be led by Race Director Rob Ridley assisted by international race officers Ross Wilson and Kevin Wilson. In the Jury room, the chair will be Bryan Willis assisted by David Tallis, Andy Wardle and Russell Green.
The Etchells World Championship 2012 is sponsored by Hamburg SUD, Gill and PredictWind.
Event website http://www.etchellsworlds2012.org/worlds/