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Sydney: Fleet Update

8 December 2011 Richard Hammond

Racing, Sydney

"Racing, Sydney"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

Next February's Etchells World Championship is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested one design sailing events ever staged.

At this early stage, we expect the fleet will include some 30 ex-Olympic sailors, of which 10 or more were medallists, including two previous gold medallists in Tom King and Tom Slingsby. Many former Americas Cup sailors, including John Bertrand and some of Australia II's crew from 1983 will also be competing. Importantly, nine previous Etchells World Champion helmsmen, including reigning Champion Bill Hardesty, intend being in Sydney. Many of these sailors used the recent NSW State Championships held off Palm Beach, near Pittwater, as a warm-up for the Worlds.

Members of the Sydney Fleet and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron are now working on detailed plans. A team of some 50 willing volunteers is being assembled and we are encouraged by the offer of support vessels from Club members.

The 14-race qualification series for the Sydney Fleet is being staged both on the Harbour, as well as offshore on the Manly Circle race area, which will be used next February. This competitive series has given both the Fleet and Race Management Team, valuable experience leading up to the event. Whilst the final allocation is not yet set, Tom King helming, Iron Lotus, and David Clark driving, Fifteen, are currently leading the series.

Sydney Fleet club racing is also very strong, as we now have over 40 boats included with around 33 of them usually on the starting line. Competition continues to be keen and following the 2012 Worlds, we expect to continue with excellent one design fleet racing, for many years to come.


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