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Farr 1020 Nationals: Consistency pays for Hard Labour

by Tony Evans, Farr 1020 Assoc 24 Jun 23:24 PDT 25 June 2024
Farr 1020 NZ National - Bucklands Beach YC - June 2024 © Rod McFarlane

The 2024 edition of the Farr 1020 Nationals attracted 11 entries, making it the biggest fleet of 1020s assembled for over 10 years.

The fleet included defending champion Shokran, perpetual front runners Hard Labour, as well as long timers Rainbow IV, The V Team, Penury and Flashwave who have done the past five Nationals.

The regatta was hosted once again by BBYC and the fleet was boosted by regulars from the local Club, Starmaker and Shortie, but also first-time entries from the new owners of Farrari, Diamonds and Perpetual Motion. Starmaker also welcomed new co-owners Matt and Kim Krogstad in May who have relocated from San Francisco and have made a strong impact on the racing crew.

The weather in the week leading up to the race was unsettled with a storm, cold temperatures and plenty of rain. However, when the racing started on 15 June the rain had gone, the temperature had warmed, and the wind was a fantastic 8-14 knots.

Race 1 set the tone for the regatta with close racing at the front of the fleet amid close racing at the middle and back of the fleet. Shokran, once again helmed by Joe Brownlee, took out the race, with Hard Labour with Cameron Thorpe at the helm second, and Flashwave third. Flashwave helmed by Andrew MacDonald also had Harry Thurston on board, fresh from winning the Young 88 Nationals. Tony Evans helming The V Team was fourth and Allan Smith on Rainbow IV fifth.

These five boats would form a bit of a division of their own and would find themselves finishing within a minute or so of each other. It was shifty conditions for the race, and this would prove to be the order of the day of the whole regatta.

The V Team again started well in Race 2 and would do so throughout the regatta. However, Hard Labour took Race 2 followed by Flashwave and Shokran. Diamonds came through in their first Nationals with new owners and got 4th ahead of Rainbow IV.

Andrew Neame, co-owner of Diamonds and class association Chairman, said "when we bought the boat we never expected to do the Nationals - it was not on our radar, and not something we were interested in. But we decided we should give it a go, but just for one day only. We headed out with an inexperienced crew, hoping to have some fun. and learn something about sailing the boat. The start line was pretty hectic, and a bit of a worry, but when we got to the top mark, and discovered we weren't last, we were pretty happy."

Race 2 also showed the beginnings of good battles further down the fleet, firstly between Starmaker, helmed by Matt Krogstad for this race, and Shortie helmed by Paul Watson, with new owner Rod McFarlane on board, and also between two more newcomers Farrari and Perpetual Motion, with new owners Sam Frost and Anton Post at the helm. Penury with Mike Paauwe was showing the experience of a number of Nationals and was being sailed well by him and the crew.

For Race 3 Hard Labour again took the gun but with Rainbow IV second this time, with The V Team third, Shokran fourth and Flashwave fifth, the regatta was developing into a close contest.

The breeze continued to increase slightly each race and was continuing to shift around. The race Committee was doing a sterling job in getting the races away, with each race pretty much starting each hour on the hour.

Race 4 got underway and provided the most entertaining start of the series. Starmaker lined up on the starboard layline and held this position well, holding out Rainbow IV, The V Team, Hard Labour and Shokran. However, Starmaker pulled the trigger to bear away and accelerate for the line a fraction too soon and crossed a second early. Rainbow IV had been pushed up to head to wind by Starmaker and they got in irons which allowed The V Team to roll over the top and somehow thread their way behind Hard Labour. Shokran and Rainbow IV had to tack off and circle back to the start. Hard Labour had to avoid The V Team and also found themselves early and heading over the line tacking in front of the start boat to return, leaving the boat end clean and clear for The V Team - which they were very grateful for. Starmaker dipped and tacked back to the line after confirming that they were over early, finding a course directly back to leeward of The V Team.

It wasn't the only time things got close during the series. The first downwind had five boats within a few boat lengths and at the bottom gate Flashwave held a two boat length advantage over the other four who were all lined up across the course. The V Team went round the port mark with Hard Labour right on their stern, Shokran and Rainbow IV went to the right. It was tight. The V Team struggled with the kite drop and Hard Labour got through. However, the right seemed to pay and these three came back strong finishing first, second and third. Rainbow got past Shokran to get fourth place.

Starmaker and Shortie had swapped positions for Race 3 and 4, split by Penury in Race 3 and Diamonds in Race 4. The points were close after four races throughout the whole fleet. Perpetual Motion had maintained their winning streak over Farrari, but an OCS in Race 4 seemed to get Farrari in the winning ways as they got a ninth in the fifth and final race of Day 1.

At the front of the fleet the close racing continued for Race 5, and it was Hard Labour's turn to stumble and finish fifth. Flashwave won their second straight race with The V Team coming from fourth at the last mark to get second after an audacious gybe-set with no pole in the now 18-20kts breeze. Shokran was third and Starmaker sailed a fantastic race to finish fourth. It was another close race with 40 seconds between the first five boats and just 12 seconds from second to fifth.

With Rainbow IV managing seventh, the Day 1 standings after five races had just 7pts between Hard Labour in first and The V Team in fourth. Flashwave was just a point adrift of Hard Labour with Shokran in third.

During the night the wind got up, then dropped and the rain came and went. Sunday dawned lighter than Saturday and warmer. Great winter racing!

In the front group, the balance appeared to have subtly changed, with Shokran showing a new focus and getting guns in the first two races of the day. Flashwave who sailed so well to win Races 4 and 5, managed only two thirds for Races 6 and 7 with Hard Labour, ever consistent splitting them each time for two seconds. Rainbow IV and The V Team traded fourth and fifth for these races and Starmaker and Shortie did the same with sixth and seventh.

Things were hotting up at the tail of the fleet with the dual between Perpetual Motion and Farrari shaping up to go to the wire. Penury continued their solid regatta sailing well and consistently finishing ahead of the newcomers. Diamonds unfortunately did not compete on Day 2.

So it all came down to the last race - throughout the fleet. Rainbow IV needed a good race to overcome The V Team. Shokran needed to beat Hard Labour by a couple to win overall.

It was close between Starmaker and Shortie mid fleet and Perpetual Motion and Farrari had it all to sail for at the back of the fleet.

Rainbow IV had a fantastic race leading all the way only to be beaten on the line by Hard Labour. A win would have had them beat The V Team, but a couple of races below their usual standard on Day 1 proved the difference in the end. Hard Labour won the last race and the regatta with Shokran second. Flashwave sailed their best regatta for a few years to secure third overall.

Mid fleet, Starmaker beat Shortie by just 3pts. Penury pipped Diamonds by a point and the two boats battling at the back actually ended up on the same points, with Farrari being given it on countback courtesy of a fantastic eighth in the last race.

Congratulations to Cameron and the Hard Labour crew. Consistency again proved the key.

The handicap trophy prize is intended to reward the boat sailed the best beyond their usual, historic performances. This year the trophy went to Shortie. Shortie's Paul Watson, current helmsman and former owner, was thrilled and explained that "Shortie changed ownership eight months ago and new owner Rodney MacFarelane generously invited several of the “old” syndicate owners to remain on the crew. This has worked amazing well as we have four passionate 1020 past owners with three new to the sport and the class enjoying the continued presence of Shortie on the racetrack. The Nationals participation was a goal for the new team and to sail beyond our handicap amongst some very competitive boats to take the Pakatoa Trophy was amazing! It’s great to see the class in a growth phase as the boats slowly turn over ownership and are being kept in great shape. Thanks to the 1020 committee and the BBYC for such a great event. Hope to be back next year."

Well done too to the other three first time entries with their current owners Perpetual Motion, Farrari and Diamonds. It's not an easy forum to show up to for the first time. Hopefully you'll all be back next year.

Andrew Neame said of Diamonds first Nationals experience: "Looking at the results, the racing was so close, even at the back of the fleet, there was always someone close by, which goes to show how even the boats are, and how similar the boat speed. A lot of the difference is crew work and boat handling. After the races were over and we were heading in, the crew were buzzing, and some of them even wanted to do a second day! So I would encourage everyone to give it a go. It is a lot of fun, exciting, and you will learn something. If you can't make both days, just do it for one day!"

Thanks to BBYC for running the event. Thanks to Mount Gay rum and Burnsco for their support. We cannot run such a successful event without the support of all these organisations.

After racing and prize-giving Sunday evening we were joined by other association members for the annual dinner. It is a great oppportunity to catch up with others and learn about the boats and how to sail them better and pick up some maintenance tricks

BBYC have agreed to run the racing again for 2025. Mark the 14th and 15th June 2025 in your calendars as tentative dates and we will confirm as soon as we can.

Full results here

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