by Di Pearson
The CYCA Trophy One-Design series got underway on Sydney Harbour today and Lang Walker’s Kokomo, with London gold medallist Malcolm Page on tactics, has come out on top in the Farr 40 class, while defending champion, Old School (Mark Griffiths) got the early jump in the Sydney 38 class.
Guido Belgiorno Nettis’ Transfusion sits in second place - 2012 CYCA Trophy
Although the two fleets usually race offshore, the sailing instructions allowed for racing offshore or on Sydney Harbour, and after looking at the day’s weather ahead of time, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s principal race officer, Denis Thompson, deduced the Harbour was the better option. At the end of the day, the sailors agreed.
According to 470 Men’s six time world champion and Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page, 'It was very tricky and overcast. Everyone had their chance at being a hero and everyone had a chance at being the dunce,' he said laughing.
'Although the racing was very close, there were lots of swings and roundabouts. Transfusion was last around the first mark, but won the race, and the same thing happened to us in the second race,' said Page after Kokomo, which also had the likes of North Sails Richie Allanson and Damien King aboard, won Races 2 and 3 for a three point lead over Transfusion.
Belgiorno-Nettis, who had 49er London gold medallist, Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen calling the shots, agreed with Page’s picture of the day and admitted: 'Kokomo was a tremendous threat; everywhere we wanted to go, they were there.'
Kokomo holds onto a three point lead in the Farr 40 class of the CYCA Trophy 2012
Jensen added of Race 2: 'They (Kokomo) kept dumping on us and then they trapped us, boxed us in. We’d gone out to the right with a group and then the guys on the left sailed right over the top of us.'
Belgiorno-Nettis, the 2010 Farr 40 world champion and third placegetter in 2012 added, 'It was a lottery. At one stage we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! It was a lottery.
'We sailed three different courses for the three races. We sailed the whole Harbour. Denis Thompson did a great job in difficult circumstances,' said the skipper who had Olympian Bob Wilmot and Julian Plante bolstering his crew – and his son, Massimo, sailing with him for the first time.
'I usually sail skiffs,' 24 year-old Massimo said. 'I found everything happened in slow motion on the Farr 40. I got stuck in the pit, so I didn’t see much – you just do one job on a boat like this, so you don’t get your head up, so you don’t see what’s going on,' he said.
Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master is in third place, three points behind Transfusion, with six races still to come.
In the Sydney 38 class, defending champion Mark Griffith (Old School) and his almost usual crew, including Steve McConaghy, got off to a great start with a near three minute win over fellow Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club member, Bruce Ferguson and crew aboard Whisper in Race 1.
Old School got the early jump in the Sydney 38 class of the CYCA Trophy 2012
Griffith took the bullet again in Race 2, with CYCA sailors, Geoff Bonus and Richard Williams (Calibre) taking the gun in Race 3. Old School goes into Race 4 tomorrow with a threatening six point lead over Whisper, with last year’s runner-up, Zen (Gordon Ketelbey), in third place, one point behind Whisper.
Steve McConaghy described the day: 'Three different races, three different breezes, three different race courses – a very challenging day.'
Bruce Ferguson's Whisper fought hard to hold onto second place - 2012 CYCA Trophy
In Race 1, McConaghy said, 'We got out of the gate fast and got on the right side of the shifts and cleared out. We had to fight to the death in the other two races though. Calibre sailed really well in the third race – they’ll be hard to beat.
'We’re pretty happy, because we brought in two fill-in trimmers today and they did a great job to help us to two wins.
McConaghy added: 'There was definitely more breeze in the Harbour, so the race committee made the right call. Apparently there’s going to be good breeze tomorrow, so we’ll probably head offshore.'
Racing continues tomorrow. Denis Thompson plans to hold at least three races, and perhaps four if the winds proving tempting enough.
Gordon Ketelbey's "ZEN" competes in the CYCA Trophy Series 2012- One Design - The CYCA Trophy Series 2012- One Design
"Estate Master"competes in the CYCA Trophy Series 2012 - One Design - The CYCA Trophy Series 2012- One Design