A fleet of 10 Farr 40 crews had their stamina tested on day one of the John Calvert-Jones Trophy, the class nationals being contested this weekend on Sydney Harbour.
Last weekend’s Aberdeen Asset Management NSW State Title seems a distant memory with a polar opposite set of conditions blowing across the race course today. Crew overboard, spinnaker wraps and rips, Chinese gybes and round-ups, bumps and bruises and delaminating sails were all part of the opening day.
After four races starting off the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Guido Belgiornio-Nettis’ Transfusion is the leading point scorer thanks to their three wins and a fourth to end the day on seven points.
'We love the pressure,' said the grinning skipper as the wind continued to howl through the rigging back at the RSYS.
'Considering some are still getting their teamwork together, I thought everyone sailed really well today,' the Australian class president added.
Second, third and fourth places are tied on 13 points, Lang Walker’s Kokomo leads Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master and Andrew Hunn and Lloyd Clark’s Tasmanian entry, Voodoo Chile.
Voodoo Chile’s tactician, Sydney based David Chapman said apart from a tear in the mainsail they came through today unscathed.
'Today was very different to last weekend,' said the young champion match racer. 'We saw great boat handling from the Transfusion boys, and it’s nice to be within striking distance of them.'
Not so lucky was the crew on the second Tasmanian boat, Sputnik (chartered by POW), with the bow person twice falling overboard in wipe-outs in race four, the boat subsequently retiring from that race.
Prior to the 11am scheduled start time the breeze was still flicking around 35 degrees. It settled in at 17-18 knots out of the ESE with gusts up to 23 knots. Over the afternoon the breeze climbed up to a 22 knot average, gusting up to 28 knots.
The course axis was 110 degrees and leg lengths 1.3 nautical miles and the top mark and offset mark were laid between Shark Island and Point Piper. Three races of three laps and one of two laps were completed.
The closest finish on corrected time was in race four, Kokomo getting the better of Estate Master by just eight seconds over a 56 minute harbour dash.
Principal Race Officer Rob Ridley said overall it was a very exciting day on the water.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for easterly 25 to 30 knots tending east to northeasterly 15 to 25 knots in the middle of the day then tending northwest to northeasterly and easing. The talk among the yachties is that they may not get a start in, at least until later in the day. A class upper wind limit may decide whether racing goes ahead.
Last night the State Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Graham Annesley MP, formally opened the John Calvert-Jones national championship at a function at the RSYS attended by owners and VIP guests. The three-day Trophy regatta is the culmination of three state titles, and will decide the Aberdeen Asset Management Australian Farr 40 Champion for 2012-13.
Weary crews are were this afternoon enjoying a dockside party swapping tales of heroics and near misses, and counting their luck that there was no major damage or injuries among the 100 or so crew contesting the prestigious regatta.
'We might be having coffee and lunch tomorrow,' said Sputnik tactician and yachting commentator Rob Brown this evening.
Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 National Titles 2013 from Farr40_Australia on Vimeo.
Australian Farr 40 website
by Lisa Ratcliff
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2:31 PM Fri 22 Feb 2013GMT
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