The John Calvert-Jones Farr 40 National Championship 2013 on Sydney Harbour is the culmination of three state finals and by Sunday afternoon, the season will be over and the 2012-13 Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 Australian Champion declared.
Ten Farr 40s had their warm-up last weekend when the NSW state title went to Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion. With double points for results this weekend’s series pinnacle, it’s back to square one for the strong fleet representing Queensland, Tasmania and New South Wales.
Inshore racing will again be a feature of the four-day event, which will open with a twilight invitational race this Thursday, February 21. Up to four races are scheduled for both Friday and Saturday and three for Sunday’s curtain close.
Last weekend was marked by gentle summer breezes, albeit unreliable. This weekend much stronger winds are forecasted, 30 plus knot easterlies on Saturday which are likely to whip up a harbour already awash with club racers, the 18-footers and commuter vessels.
Martin Hill, co-owner of Estate Master admits, 'From an owner’s point of view I would prefer it if the stronger winds weren't going to combine with our nationals and all the other boats using the harbour on Saturday.
'A wipe-out can take you from first to last quite easily, however over a long series the best boats and crews will still rise to the top. Because the boats are one-design, the weather won’t favour one over another. It’s the crews that will make the difference.
'The conditions this weekend will be quite demanding, but the calibre of the class means we are prepared - and the spectators will get to see plenty of action!' Hill adds.
On the long-term rivalry between Transfusion and Estate Master, Hill elaborates, 'Guido and I have been long term rivals. We are not taking the nationals as a foregone conclusion, but we wouldn't mind reversing our previous luck. If some good fortune falls our way we will hopefully capitalise.'
Jeff Carter’s Farr 40 Edake from Middle Harbour Yacht Club was named winner of the Corinthian division at last week’s state title, finishing fourth overall behind Transfusion, Kokomo and Estate Master.
'The competition is pretty stiff,' he acknowledges. 'We are competing in the Corinthian division, but having said that, those guys are very competent sailors. Last weekend there were various wind shifts, which presented opportunities to go up and down the ladder rather quickly. We were lucky to be at the right end of the ladder.'
This weekend will be quite different suggests Carter, 'a lot windier conditions and again sailing in the harbour will be tricky with other boats and obstacles influencing our racetrack. Being inshore keeps everyone together though, this does make it exciting.'
Carter is using Olympic match racing coach Evan Walker as tactician, Dan Nixon as strategist and he has his son Lachlan, 25, on mast for the first time. Jeff Carter has been in the class since 2006 and is enjoying the resurgence of the Farr 40s, now contesting their state and national series with a very respectable ten boat fleet. 'A lot of praise needs to go to Sam Hill, and having Aberdeen Asset Management on board is a great plus,' he added.
Carter points out that owning a Farr 40 doesn’t have to burn a hole in the wallet, and the boat has the versatility of being able to compete in club pointscores, in Category 2 ocean races like the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour yacht race and in high-level race one-design, where the boats are like-for-like.
'You can always budget to compete,' Carter says. 'Anyone thinking of getting into a Farr 40 just needs to start talking to individuals in the class, they are happy to help any newcomers get up the J-curve as quickly as possible.'
In the not too distant future the Australian class is hoping to host another world championship. International Farr 40 Class President Martin Hill confirms the decision to award locations in the future will be based on where the active fleets are established. 'Having this particular series doesn’t just benefit the local fleet; it increases the chances of Australia hosting another world championship,' Hill says.
Sydney hosted the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in 2011 and since then Aussie Farr 40 crews have regularly competed overseas.
The only change to the entry list from last week’s line-up is POW, which is being chartered from Ivan Wheen (Sputnik) by Michael Cooper, Craig Clifford and Richard Fader from Hobart, Tasmania.
This year is the first time Farr 40 crews will be competing at their class nationals for the John Calvert-Jones Trophy, named after Australia’s first world champion and the only Australian to win a world championship overseas. Calvert-Jones will be out watching the regatta this weekend.
The Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 Australian Champion for 2012-13 will be decided by the cumulative pointscore over three state titles and the nationals.
Aberdeen Asset Management is major partner of the Australian Farr 40 class and will be on the water again this weekend showcasing its alliance and entertaining clients and guests.
Managing director Brett Jollie said, 'Aberdeen is pleased to be sponsoring this event and we look forward to another weekend of competitive racing. The Farr 40 titles provide an exciting atmosphere not just for competitors, but also for spectators.
'I wish all the teams an enjoyable three days of sailing and encourage anyone who’s out on the harbour this weekend to try and catch some of action.'
Racing is due to commence at 11am each day. Friday’s forecast is for 20 knot ESE breeze with Saturday’s forecast set to separate the men from the boys – 30 knots of ESE wind, rain with possible heavy falls and the chance of thunderstorms thanks to a low that is due to track into NSW from Queensland. Sunday should see a return to summer nor’easters with scattered showers.
Entries for the John-Calvert Jones Farr 40 Nationals;
1.Edake – Jeff Carter (Middle Harbour Yacht Club) 2.Enigma – David Gotze and Richard Cranitch (Cruising Yacht Club of Australia) 3.Estate Master – Martin and Lisa Hill (MHYC) 4.Forty – Sam Hill (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron) 5.iMpi – Ivan Resnekov (RSYS) 6.Kokomo – Lang Walker (CYCA) 7.Lambourdini – Howard and David Lambourne (Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron) 8.POW – Michael Cooper, Craig Clifford and Richard Fader (chartering Sputnik) (RSYS) 9.Transfusion – Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (MHYC) 10.Voodoo Chile – Andrew Hunn and Lloyd Clark (chartering a Kokomo boat) (Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania)