Jim Farmer’s New Zealand Botin & Carkeek 52, Georgia, sailed the final Festival of Sails race and with their nine point finish from eight races, hit the ball so far out of the park it may never be found.
Georgia wrapped up the Audi Geelong Centre Premier Racing Series Division A by a 12 point margin. Jason Van Der Slot’s TP52, Calm, finished next on 21 points and then Rob Hanna’s TP52, Shogun V, on 24 points.
The gun New Zealand boat had enough points to stay ashore today, but the crew opted to complete the series in the spirit of the regatta, which they did in style with their fifth corrected time win under a hot sun and in the light ESE breeze that dialled left to the ENE and built, the race committee shifting the finish line accordingly.
Of his first Festival of Sails experience a delighted Farmer said, 'Perfect weather, flat water, lots of boat speed for us and no mistakes.
Of his crew, 'They are all very good sailors as well as being terrific people to be with. At the end of the day that’s what it’s about'.
Farmer made some changes to the boat following last year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, putting in a deeper draft keel and buying new sails.
'We have got it right now, going deeper with the draft and buying North 3DI jibs from the Team New Zealand’s designer'.
Farmer spoke very highly of the extraordinary organisation that has gone into accommodating 300 plus boats and 3,000 sailors at one yacht club.
'The race management was excellent; it’s probably the best run regatta I’ve ever been to. Just getting all these boats in here is amazing,' he said referring to Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s marina where boats have been packed and stacked in close quarters.
Kiwi Chris Dickson sprinkled magic dust all over the racetrack for Georgia this week.
Shogun V’s tactician Grant Simmer acknowleded the effort by his America’s Cup compadre at this morning’s presentation breakfast 'An old mate of mine, Chris Dickson, has been tactician on Georgia and he’s given us a sailing lesson,' Simmer acknowledged.
On beating the Aussies at their own regatta, Dickson said, 'We’ve done enough racing up and down the east coast of Australia we feel part of the family'.
Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm, with Barney Walker calling tactics, lived up to its moniker and was consistent over the series. 'We sailed our own races and chipped away,' said the owner/skipper this afternoon.
'Georgia this week was in another league, we didn’t expect them to be that quick. In the lighter airs they blitzed everyone,' he added.
'I do believe it’s possible to beat them, but when they sail perfectly and put a faultless week in, they deserve their result' chimed in Walker, giving credit where credit is due. Premier Racing Series division 2
Grant Botica’s Adams 10, Executive Decision, outclassed the rest of the Premier Racing Series Division 2 starters, finishing with 10 points from seven races.
'We had it in the bag at the start of the race so we were more relaxed today,' said Botica dockside. 'The level of competition this year was fantastic.... fantastic people as well,' he said motioning to the three Beneteaus rafted up next to him which took out second to fourth places.
Botica has successfully defending his title at the 168th edition of the Festival of Sails. 'This is the second year in a row we have won the event. We had the conditions on our side,' he admitted.
Second was Bruce McCraken’s Ikon and third was Alan Woodward’s Reverie, both Beneteau First 45s. Sydney 38s
Bruce Taylor’s winning Sydney 38, Chutzpah38, is already on its way back to Melbourne this afternoon. A sixth today narrowed their lead to just two points, but was enough to get them over the line.
'We tried to cover everyone today and ended up covering no-one,' said Taylor.
'Anyone of the top four boats would have been worthy winners. There’s a great spirit among the Sydney 38 crews, it’s a fantastic owner driver, one-design class.
Chutzpah38 took the series from Chris Lewin’s Another Challenge, on 12 points, and Andrew Mollison’s Sierra Chainsaw on 23 points.
Full results here