With only 10 days to the official close of entries for the Etchells World Championship 2012, Australian and international entries are rolling in fast.
Competitors have until 1700 hours on the 31st December to lodge their entries. After that date entries may be accepted by the organising committee, but a AUD500 penalty will apply.
Entry numbers to date are 35, just under half-way towards the expect 80-boat fleet to contest the Championship off Sydney heads between the 16th and 25th February 2012.
Leading the overseas entries is 2007 Etchells World Champion Andy Beadsworth from Great Britain, steering the Swiss entry, Anamchara, for James McHugh. Other British skippers heading down under in February are David Franks with Elvis and Robert Elliott skippering Bedrock.
The first New Zealand entry has come from John Melville who, in his other sailing life, owns and successfully races the Farr 40, Bobby’s Girl.
Mark Thornburrow with Racer X is the first Hong Kong entry received. At least another two boats are expected from that fleet.
The strong Australian contingent includes Victorian and dual Etchells World Champion in 1979 and 1988, John Savage, and Jason Muir’s 2009 World Championship winning team with Matthew Chew moving to the helm. Also returning to the Worlds arena is Australian skipper Damien King. Placed second at the 2009 Worlds, then third at the 2010 Worlds, King and his team of Simon Cunnington, James Ware and Andy Butler will have their sights set on achieving a previously elusive Worlds first place.
Soling class 1988 Australian Olympic representative, America’s Cup sailor and world boardsailing champion, Bob Wilmot, is stepping back into high-level sailing to race in the middle with his friends, Leon and Fiona Christianakis. 'Leon was the owner of the Sydney 38 Cydon and he kind of got me back into sailing. We did boat that as a fun, family thing.
'But Fiona really wanted to do the Etchells. As Leon was spending a lot of time working there (USA) and he wasn’t going to be back around in Sydney often enough to qualify here, we decided to qualify in New York.
'We have practiced about five times. We are always very competitive and like to do well, but understand our expectations can’t be too high going into the event. It is more about a bit of fun for the two families. I have entered as a three crew boat, but if we can get down to weight, my 12-year-old daughter Annie will sail with us,' Wilmot said.
The Etchells World Championship 2012 will be conducted by Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in conjunction with the Sydney Etchells Fleet from February 16th to 25th.
The Etchells World Championship is sponsored by Telstra, Oatley Wines, Nautica Watches, Gill, Kroten, North Sails, Barz Sunglasses, Hamburg SUD, Jackson Shipping, PredictWind and Yachting NSW Boat Insurance.
Event website http://www.etchellsworlds2012.org/worlds/