After a week of hot northerly gales, Hobart’s River Derwent turned on a perfect south-easterly seabreeze for sailors today; and the crews competing in the Farr 40 keelboat Tasmanian championship certainly reciprocated with a day of brilliant, exciting and incredibly closed one-design racing around the buoys.
Transfusion leads the downwind charge in race two - 2012 Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship
The local fleet has been joined by three of Australia’s leading Farr 40s from Sydney, but it was Hobart boats that set the pace this afternoon with Stephen Boyes’ Wired winning the invitation race – appropriately carrying the sponsor’s spinnaker.
Tasmanian Farr 40 Wired winning the invitation race - 2012 Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship
Then it was down to the real cut and thrust of racing in this elite keelboat class with this week’s King of the Derwent winner Voodoo Chile, skippered by Lloyd Clark, brilliantly winning the first race today.
Going to the right hand side of the course, off Tranmere on the Derwent’s eastern shore, Voodoo Chile held the starboard advantage coming into the windward mark for the first time, forcing the Sydney boat, Forty (Sam Hill) to dip her stern.
Transfusion, skippered by Farr 40 Owners Association president Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, had a tacking incident at the mark and taking her penalty turns, dropped back in the fleet.
Voodoo Chile won race one by 20 second from Forty and TIlford Auto Group, which has been chartered by Voodoo Chile co-owner Andrew Hunn. Transfusion finished sixth.
With the sou’easter freshening to 18 knots as the fleet close reached under spinnaker to the finish of race two, it was rock and roll time for some boats, but former world champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis held his nerve at the helm of Transfusion to take out race two.
The first windward leg was virtually a drag race up the left hand side of the course until Tranfusion tacked away, but only seconds separated the leading seven boats at the first windward mark.
Close encounter at the windward mark - 2012 Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship
With newly crowned Australian Laser champion Tom Burton as his tactician, Belgiorno-Nettis held off the opposition to claim victory by a comfortable 41 seconds from Voodoo Chile which crossed the line just two seconds ahead of Forty, with another eight seconds to Wired.
With the RO calling for a three leg third race, the troops were toey, forcing a general recall and a hull to hull bump between Tilford Auto Group and Forty. But with the general recall signalled there was no protest and only superficial damage.
Competitors were delighted with the racing conditions and the boat for boat competition in the Farr 40 class which sees Voodoo Chile on six points from a 1-2-3 score, Transfusion on eight points from a 6-1-1 result, Forty on nine points from a 2-3-4 score, Estate Master (Martin Hill) on 11 points and Tilford Auto Group (Andrew Hunn) on 16.5 points.
'It was fantastic top see eight Farr 40s out on the Derwent and the racing was spectacular,' was the enthusiastic comment of Lloyd Clark, owner/skipper of Voodoo Chile. 'We had fantastic conditions out there.
'The crew work on our boat was magnificent, so we’ve had a really good day test. It’s the first opportunity we’ve had to do it here on the Derwent and it has been tremendous.
'We’ve been to Sydney a few times and we knew we had to improve to match it with Transfusion and Estate Master, and the other boats from Sydney.
'We are really happy to be leading the regatta after day one, that’s something we didn’t expect to be doing,' Clark added.
Transfusion’s owner/helmsman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, who is president of the Farr 40 Owners Association, said after his two wins today: 'It was a fantastic day of racing.
'We were in it in the first race until we had to do our penalty turn, which didn't help our cause, but we were very happy about the way we sailed in races two and three.
'We'll be trying to be consistent tomorrow and see what happens,' he added.
Racing starts at 10.30am tomorrow.