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Bertrand, Palfrey and Slingsby take the Honours at Lake Macquarie

7 October 2009 Rob Kothe

Spring Regatta Winners

"Spring Regatta Winners"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

The 2009 Etchells Spring Regatta delivered the largest Etchells fleet on Lake Macqaurie for many years, as competitors embarked on their campaign towards the 2010 Murphy & Nye Etchells Australian Championship to be held at the same venue in from January 11-16th 2010.

America's Cup legend John Bertrand and his crew of Olympians, Andrew Palfrey and Tom Slingsby, added another title to Bertrand's collection winning over a hot 36 boat Etchells fleet at the Lake Macquarie's Spring Regatta over the October Long Weekend.

Two points back was former Etchells World Champion, Lake Macquarie sailor Peter McNeill, with Alistair Gair's New Zealand team another eleven points behind. Rounding out the top five were team's helmed by Olympic 470 Gold Medallist, Tom King and Mornington's Graeme Taylor.

Bertrand was full of praise for his team commenting 'The synergy on board the boat was wonderful to be a part of. Andrew and Tom are both sailors at the top of their game and rate amongst the very best one-design sailors in the world.'

Palfrey added 'Since sailing with John and Ben Ainslie at the Worlds in Melbourne back in March, I have been coaching a lot more than I've been sailing. To have the opportunity to sail with the John and Tom is a great way to step back into some pure sailing at a very high level. Each of us did our bit to put together a solid set of results.

'Given the fact that we were 15kgs down on crew weight, it was a satisfying weekend.'

The Etchells class is reaching higher levels than ever before with the four-up teams full of younger sailors from competitive dinghy classes.

Dual Laser World Champion (2007, 2008) Slingsby has recently returned to Australia after a resounding victory in the Laser class at the Sail for Gold event, held at the site for the 2012 Olympics.

Palfrey will be in Rio, Brazil when the Etchells Australian Championship is to be held (in a coaching role with the New Zealand Star team of Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk at the Star World Championship).

So another Australian Olympian, Anthony Nossiter will join Bertrand and Slingsby in the defence of Bertrand's National title.

Co-organisers Mark Phillips and Tom Woods saw the Spring Series event as an excellent shake down for the 2010 Murphy & Nye Australian Etchells titles.

Tom Woods commented 'The Etchells Spring Regatta was an astounding success. It was an excellent rehearsal for the National Titles being held in January at the same venue.

'We usually have a fleet of 20+ Etchells attend the Regatta mostly made up of our local fleet, Gosford and Sydney Fleets. This year the Fleet grew to 36 entries made up from other states and countries, including two boats from New Zealand, two from Perth and a number from Melbourne, including John Bertrand.

'Most of the visitors have left their boats here, so they can come back up before the Nationals. We are in the process of organising a few more weekends of racing in November and December to allow those crews to continue to their sailing here.

'The weather over the weekend was mixed, however everyone enjoyed themselves, a lot of visitors had never sailed on Lake Macquarie but I was told by a number of them that they loved the venue and the race track.'

Co-Nationals organiser and Lake Macquarie Fleet captain Mark Phillips was pleased with the Spring Regatta too. He said 'The professional race management team of Ross Wilson and Phil Colyer, managed to get five good races in over the two days that provided some typically great close racing, in spite of some heavy weather.

'We are looking forward to seeing a 50 + boat Etchells fleet in January 2010 with blazing sunshine, a solid nor-easter and blue skies.'

See the full results


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