For landlubbers and sailors!

A familiar story - but will the World Super Nines be the breakthrough - a combination of Cricket, Formula One and sailing?

Tuesday March 19th 2002, Author: World Series Yachting/Gerald New, Location: United Kingdom
A fortune awaits the person who can bring yacht racing to the general public, especially via the TV screen, and this weekend will see another attempt at just that. A new form of yacht-racing, designed to appeal to landlubbers as well as sailors, has its unofficial launch in Sydney with a two-day competition at Cronulla SC.

World Super Nines is a combination of World Series Cricket, Formula One motor racing and sailing that everyone can understand. Its difference to other events is that the accent is on team skills rather than how much money can be invested in a boat and there are three boats in each race, lasting only 15-20 minutes.

Hosted by the Cronulla SC, Etchells Super Nines has attracted some of the best match racing sailors around Australia as well as some overseas sailors, keen to see at first hand the new event on the yachting calendar. They include 19-year-old Katie Spithill, who has put women to the forefront of sailing, Olympian and Americas Cup sailors Sir James Hardy and Colin Beashel, as well as Cronulla's leading sailor, Neville Wittey.

They'll be challenged by crews headed by World Etchell Champion in 2000 and Runner-up in 2001 Cameron Miles and the UK's Harold Cudmore as well as local Sydneysiders Andrew Short, Matt Wenke and Steve O'Rourke.

This weekend's racing, to be held at the mouth of Port Hacking, will feature Etchell yachts, each with only three crewmembers.

The event is being organised by World Series Yachting Pty. Limited, which is planning a major international event on Sydney Harbour later this year, using the rules that will be trialled at Cronulla this weekend.

The first day will be taken up with races to establish the "pole position" for each of the nine teams while the second day will see the "sudden death" elimination of teams to find the winner. WSY director, Bob Killick, says the two days of racing will provide an engaging spectacle for people watching from the shore as well as those aboard spectator vessels.

"This form of racing is simple, easily watched from either the shoreline or the water, and is truly exciting. The involvement of three boats in each race means that 'hunting alliances' between the two boats trailling in the race can be made ands broken several times during the event, as the lead constantly changes" he said.

"There is constant tension throughout each race and each boat can pick up points for rounding each mark of the course as well as winning the race."

Racing starts at 11.30 and and finishes at approximately 4.30pm and can be viewed from Bass and Flinders Point at Cronulla.

People can also attend the post-race presentations on both Saturday and Sunday at the Cronulla Sailing Club. Further information: Ian Nicholas (02) 8436 8802 or (0414) 517 514

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