SYDNEY SAILING NEWS 2008
Etchells all fired up for State Championships
A fleet of 33 boats from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria will line up on Botany Bay tomorrow morning for first day of racing in the International Etchells NSW Championship.
The six-race regatta will continue over the weekend, hosted by Botany Bay Yacht Club and its Etchells fleet.
The line-up includes two former World Champions in the class, Cameron Miles sailing Blacksnake from the Pittwater fleet and Peter McNeil from the Lake Macquarie fleet, helming Tom Pepper XXIII, along other prominent sailors in the one-design keelboat class.
Three intense and remarkably close races in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Mini Regatta last Saturday have given a final tune-up for those boats in the Sydney Harbour fleet who have headed south to Botany Bay .
Saturday’s Mini Regatta, sailed in tricky a 10-15 knot south-easterly breeze, gave them an ideal work-up to the championships, with the three different winners all expected to compete on Botany Bay.
Racing was remarkably close, particularly in race one, with the fleet of 24 Etchells providing a spectacular sight on Sydney Harbour as they ran under spinnakers to the leeward mark.
In fact, only 31 seconds separated the first seven boats at the finish of race one, with two seconds between the winner Bushfire, helmed by Jervis Tilley, and second placed Fifteen, owned by David Clark and Andrew Smith, with David on the helm.
North Sydney Station (Ed McCarthy & Michael Coxon) improved to win the second race by 12 seconds, with the fleet spread out this time.
Race three went to Matt Whitnall at the helm of dot, 20 seconds ahead of Bushfire, with North Sydney Station in third place.
At the end of the day Bushfire, with a 1-6-2 came out best followed by The Front Row (4-2-5), Fifteen (2-10-2), North Sydney Station (12-1-3), and Roulette (7-3-6).
The leading Botany Bay skippers are expected to be Steve O’Rourke in Panther III, Burke Meilor in No Mercy and Brad Palmer sailing Licorice Allsorts.
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