Rolex Farr 40 World Championship Day 4.
TRANSFUSION, Sail No: AUS6422, Owner: Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, Tactician: John Kostecki - Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2011
A courageous fight back in the penultimate race of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion and a second place in the decider has seen the Australians once again crowned world champions in their native habitat.
The defending champions Nerone (ITA) warned yesterday that Transfusion would have to force the win. That’s exactly what they did, sailing and recovering from a couple of debatable tactical choices superbly to finish two points ahead when the final points were tallied.
In race nine Transfusion’s crew were coughing dust for the first upwind leg, rounding the top mark well back and lacking boat speed while Nerone was sailing hotter angles out in front on the first downwind run. Transfusion’s US tactician, John Kostecki, now a three-time Farr 40 Worlds winner, lived up to his reputation as one of the world’s best as the local boat clawed its way back to finish second to Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori’s Nerone.
'We weren’t phased at the time, but our comeback was definitely as good as it gets' said a relieved Belgiorno-Nettis back at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron where the boat took up the winner’s berth and the crew were one by one thrown in or jumped in the water to celebrate. 'It is a big achievement, it’s still sinking in. I joined the class in 2007 and in the first year we decided to have a shot at the Worlds. It’s been a three year program and it came down to the last race. We certainly peaked at the right time.'
Vasco Vascotto, tactician on Nerone was gracious in defeat, 'Transfusion was the best boat of the week. The way they recovered in the first race, for us that was the clear signal they were still alive. It’s the reverse situation to last year, which is good for the class.'
At the end of race nine there were smiles and high fiving on the Italian boat and a lingering look back by Vascotto to take note of the pecking order over the finish line. Meanwhile on Transfusion Kostecki held his arms up to the sky as if to say 'what else can we do?'
Clearly there was more firepower in their weaponry and they came out blazing in race 10, saving the best for last.
Transfusion needed to finish two places ahead of Nerone to take the title. Belgiorno-Nettis, a second generation Italian based in Sydney, gave himself a tiny margin for error, finishing four places ahead of the defending champions who out-smarted them at last year’s Worlds.
Conditions off Sydney Heads were 10-12 knots, up to 15 knots at times out of the NE to ENE with plenty of sunshine and a sizeable spectator and support boat fleet enjoying the close racing and nerve-racking finish that delivered the local team the win as the curtain fell on four days of searing salt water action.
The last time Sydney played host to the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship back in 2005, local Richard Perini’s Evolution took the victory from the internationals and once again the Aussies have proven themselves too good for the rest of the world.
Third on the final pointscore was Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad (USA).
The next Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will be held in Chicago, USA, in late August or early September 2012.