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Geelong locals contest Melges 24 Australian Championships

by Tracey Walters on 5 Jan 2012
Vitesse Tracey Walters
The fifth Melges 24 Australian Championships will be hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club at this years Festival of Sails 26 - 29 January 2012.

Amongst the competitors will be local Royal Geelong Yacht Club Champions, the Farrimond Family racing Vitesse AUS 710. The Vitesse crew is made up of brothers Scott, Adam, Michael, Dale and includes dad David.

Scott and Adam were amazed by the Melges 24 after watching one planning downwind in gusts up to 40 knots at the 2007 Sportsboat Championships the crew were having an exciting ride and the Farrimonds were hooked and purchased AUS 710 . With a family of four boys in their twenties, parents David and Linda saw the Melges 24 as a great way to bring the family together on the water and be involved with the class from the grassroots.

The Farrimond grandmother christened their new boat back in 2007 Vitesse which is french for speed. The eventful test sail and families first Melges 24 experience was on a blustery 30 knot winter Geelong day on Corio Bay. The Vitesse crew have come a long way since then competing in the Melges 24 regatta circuit learning about the boat and improving crew work at each event which has included Airlie Beach, Sail Port Stephens, RQYS, Manly and Pittwater. They have contested all Australian Championships except 2011 as it conflicted with the Club Championship for the season which they later won.

Vitesse took out last year's twenty four race summer series at Royal Geelong Yacht Club and are currently sitting in fourth place this year. They placed second in Div 2 in the 2011 Jockey Jones Perpetual Trophy Series and have taken line honours in Div 2 in the annual 'Portarlington' race, a 16 nautical mile event the last two years. When asked about the upcoming Championships David commented ' We started the new racing season like a rocket, out of the blocks way too fast, and have been saddled with high(er) handicaps ever since. We are sailing faster than last year, but the (handicap) results don’t always show it. .. the boys are looking forward to getting back amongst the Melges 24’s as a reality check on our performance.'

'Preparation will be a couple of windward / leeward club races on the 14th January when we will give our new jib some 'running in' time, then Vitesse will be given a spruce up for the event' said David.

The Farrimond family are a credit to their parents and it’s great to see them at regattas, they always liven up the apres racing experience with their humour and sometimes vigorous dissection of the crew work after that days racing as only a bunch of brothers can. As we know behind every good crew is the organiser and boss, mum Linda who instigated the swear jar from the day the boat was delivered, boat builder Heath Walters contributing after the test sail . The clever swear jar policy has meant that boat maintenance cost are spread amongst the family. Linda takes care of logistics, social activities and racing gear making sure everyone is up for peak on water performance. There is also a Vitesse Racing - Melges 24 Facebook page to follow.

The Melges 24 has proved the ideal boat for the Farrimonds with a 4-5 person crew, every crew member is actively involved, they are light and responsive boats that provide non stop exciting racing. Vitesse competed at the first Melges 24 Australian Championships hosted by Geelong back in 2008 and we look forward to seeing some exciting and thrilling competition on Corio Bay at this year's Championships.

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