Patton looks to make impact Down Under
Top local sailor Tim Patton will be among the 73 skippers competing at this month’s Etchells World Championships in Sydney, Australia.
This year marks the Bermuda Sailing Association (BSA) president’s 24th appearance in this event to be hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron as part of its Sesquicentenary celebrations.
He will be joined onboard by crew Roly Lenox-King of New Zealand and Andrew Cooper who hails from the UK.
“We haven’t sailed together as a team, but they are all very good sailors in their own right,” said Patton, who departed for Down Under earlier this week. “The competition is incredibly deep and so a mid-fleet (finish) would be good.”
The nine race series will take place in first class racing conditions just off Sydney’s Manly Beach and will again feature some of the biggest names in world sailing.
Patton’s best showing at the Etchells World Championships arrived in 1988 in Perth, Australia where he placed fourth.
The 58-year-old skipper is a multiple national Etchells champion as well as a past Canadian national champion.
The International Etchell is a 30 foot fibreglass monohull keelboat. It was designed in the 1960s and is usually sailed by a crew of three or four.
“The beauty of the class is that it is a boat than can be sailed by people from the age of 14 to 70,” Patton said.
Meanwhile, a new Etchells World Champion will be crowned Down Under this year as last year’s winner Bill Hardesty will not be returning to defend his title.
Among those expected to be in the hunt for top honours this year is legendary Australian sailor John Bertrand who is also a past Etchells World Champion.
Bertrand rose to fame after skippering Australia II to victory in the 1983 Americas Cup that put an end to 132 years of American dominance in the match racing spectacle.
Others who could mount a strong challenge for Hardesty’s vacant crown is last year’s Etchells World Championships runner up Noel Drennan, Tom King and David Clarke.
The 2012 Etchells World Championships will be held February 20-25.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is no stranger to hosting world class regattas having hosted last month’s Yngling World Championships as well as last year’s Farr 40 World Championships.
“The Squadron is well prepared to host the Etchells Worlds,” said club Commodore Malcolm Levy. “Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world and the waters offshore offer first class racing conditions.”