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Where Are They Now - John Bertrand

by Anne Hinton, April 15, 2004

Newly crowned Etchells champion of New Zealand (click here for full results), a title that he has won before, third in the Australian Nationals off Adelaide in January, after some very close racing, winner of the New South Wales state Etchells championships and runner up in the Victoria state Etchells event, all as a lead up to the Worlds this August in Queensland. What else is John Bertrand up to these days?

John Bertrand

At present Bertrand is just sailing the Etchells. He says, ďMy business activities are all consuming for me. I have a television production company in Melbourne and Iím heavily involved in the philanthropic area. Iím Chairman of the [Australian] Prime Ministerís Alannah and Madeline Foundation which raises money for kids who suffer abuse ≠ child abuse. We are a world leader in anti-bullying methods in schools throughout Australia. That takes up pretty much all my time, so the sailingís very much on the side. Itís a lot of fun and I enjoy it, as long as we continue to be able to get an Etchells around the track!

ďIím 57. I keep in pretty good shape. Also racing boats like Etchells keeps you really active. Iíve got fit for the Etchells for the World Championship. Iím in the gym and doing a little bit of road work. Thatís terrific. I need projects like that to get myself organised. I teamed up with [my present crew] about twelve months ago.Ē

For after the Etchells Worlds in Mooloolaba, Queensland, this August, Bertrand says, ďIím going to take my wife across to Italy next year for the Finn Gold Cup Masters Championships ≠ Lake Garda in Italy. The last time I sailed [a Finn] was the 1976 Olympic Games. Thatís going to be fun. Meet a whole bunch of old mates that I havenít seen for years and have fun and itíll be great for my wife to go along too.

ďSome guys from down in Melbourne go across each year and they have induced me to go. Iíll get hold of a Finn and try to remember how to hike! I enjoyed the class very much when I was competing years ago. The suggestion is thereíll be 180 boats at the regatta. Itíll be fantastic!Ē

With all these sailing projects, one might wonder as to his involvement with the next Americaís Cup, but Bertrand just says that he will go and watch it in Valencia. He does, however, have a commitment to match race a skipper who took part in the last Louis Vuitton Cup, Jesper Bank, on 9th May in Copenhagen.

Bertrand and Bank are to match race each other as part of the royal wedding celebrations of top Dragon sailor Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Tasmanian Mary Donaldson. The bridal couple will sail on the boats with the skipper of their own nationality.

ďEffectively itís Australia versus the VikingsĒ, said Bertrand. However, Poul ElvstrŲm will sail with Bertrand as tactician for the match. ďIím thrilled about thatĒ, said Bertrand.

Judging by Bertrandís performance in match racing former Team New Zealand skipper Cameron Appleton in the last two races of the ANZDL Etchells New Zealand National Championships this year, which Bertrand described as the best match racing that he had had since 1995, the up-coming match race in Copenhagen against Jesper Bank should be a great one to watch.

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