Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships Event Director John Longley AM today announced Skipper of Australia's historic 1983 America's Cup winning challenger Australia II, John Bertrand AM, as an Ambassador to the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
Mr Longley welcomed Mr Bertrand onto the Perth 2011 team and presented him with an official certificate of Perth 2011 Ambassadorship at Royal Brighton Yacht Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia this morning local time.
One of Australia's most highly respected and well known sailing identities, Bertrand is a former World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist. But it was his role as victorious Skipper of Australia II, which ended 132 years of American domination in the America's Cup that saw him gain worldwide legend status in the sport of sailing.
“John Bertrand is an Australian sailing icon. To have him as an Ambassador to the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships is a real honour,” Mr Longley said.
“The ISAF Sailing World Championships is the biggest Olympic class sailing regatta in the world, so for the Event to be held within Australia in 2011 ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games is a giant coup for the sport of sailing within Australia.”
Mr Bertrand said; “My association with the America's Cup has seen Fremantle become a very special place to me. I have no doubt the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships will see Fremantle come alive much like it did during the 1987 America's Cup defense.
“Perth 2011's opportunity is to take an incredible sport and to raise it to new heights of spectator accessibility by using the latest advances in internet technology and television broadcasting techniques.
“With the people and resources behind this Event, the possibilities of this happening in Perth is very real,” Mr Bertrand said.
Mr Longley said that Olympic class sailing was something currently viewed from a distance.
“Sailing is hugely physical and athletic, and we want to bring the spectator as close to the boat as possible, if not actually inside it, to see the race as the sailor sees it.
“As well as using the latest television and internet technology, we'll be bringing the racing close into shore at Fremantle where spectators can see much of the action”, Mr Longley said.
Today's announcement of Mr Bertrand as a Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships Ambassador coincided with the announcement of leading Australian sailing apparel producer Zhik as official apparel supplier to Perth 2011.
The Zhik brand is world renowned as a preferred choice in sailing apparel, with Bertrand and six International Sailing Federation World No. 1 ranked sailors and teams (as at 3 June 2009) on the Zhik team.
Zhik Managing Director Brian Conolly said partnering with Perth 2011 underlined the core Zhik values of showcasing an Australian brand in an ISAF Sailing World Championship environment.
“Zhik is the technical apparel of choice by the majority of the top ranked Olympic sailors worldwide, so aligning with the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships was an easy decision. The synergies between what Zhik and Perth 2011 hope to achieve mirror each other perfectly.” Mr Conolly said.
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships will be held in Fremantle, Western Australia from 3-18 December 2011.