Etchells Worlds 2012 - Tom Slingsby adds Olympic thinking

John Bertrand, Tom Slingsby & David Giles ’Triad’ with a first and a second on the final day Zhik Etchells Australian championships 2012
Damian Devine
Whether they are amateur or professional sailors, for the fleet of 74 boats carrying 238 crew, their goal is the 2012 International Etchells Class World Championship honours.

The 38th Etchells World Championship trophy will be decided over six days of racing starting on Monday 20th February and going through to Saturday 25th February. There is no lay day; it is demanding program of racing every day on the offshore course north towards Manly or south towards Bondi Beach.

The Sydney Worlds and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron welcomes competitors from 10 nations; America, Great Britain, New Zealand, Singapore, Bermuda, Arab Emirates, Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Australia.

Mixed in among those competitors are a large number of high profile international sailors. One of the most recognisable is 2008 and 2012 Olympic competitor, four-time Laser Class world champion and 2010 Etchells Class world champion crew member, 27-year-old Tom Slingsby.

Slingsby is racing with John Bertrand, his Olympic mentor and skipper of the winning Etchells Worlds team in 2010. Famous for his 1983 America’s Cup win for Australia and an Olympic bronze medal in 1976, Bertrand has been a positive guiding influence for Slingsby and some of the other athletes in the Australian Sailing Team.

Conversely, Bertrand has received enormous benefit within his Etchells program from the input of Slingsby’s tactical skills. 'Tom is at the top of his game on an international level. He brings Olympic thinking to the boat in terms of his intensity and empathy for boat speed and wind on water. It’s a real privilege to sail with Tommy,' Bertrand said.

They are joined by other class World Champion skippers including – USA’s Vince Brun (2000) and Jud Smith (2006), Australia’s Cameron Miles (1999), Dirk Kneulman (1998), Peter McNeill (2004), John Savage (1988 and 1979) and Britain’s Andy Beadsworth (2007). Among the fleet are several Etchells class World Champion crew including David Giles (AUS), Matthew Chew (AUS) and Greg Torpy (AUS).

Others who have been on the podium in second and third place at previous Etchells World Championships are Ante Razmilovic (HKG), Alastair Gair (NZL), Mark Bradford (AUS), Damian King (AUS) and Noel Drennan (AUS).

Joining Slingsby from the Olympian ranks are a large group of Olympic representatives - Tom King, David Giles, Bob Wilmot, Gary Boyd, David Edwards, Anthony Nossiter, Karyn Gojnich, Steve Jarvin, Greg Torpy, Owen McMahon, Neville Wittey, Josh Grace along with Andy Beadsworth and Bertrand.

The prize for the most prolific Etchells World Championship competitor would have to go to Bermuda’s Tim Patton. This will be his 24th championship. 'I love it. The boat, the people, the venues,' Patton declared.