Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mixed Bag For Farr 40s - NSW Titles - Sydney Harbour

The Farr 40 class has a reputation for attracting some of the world’s finest tacticians and day one of the Aberdeen Asset Management NSW State Title on Sydney Harbour tested the mettle of even the most seasoned among the afterguard.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
Once racing finally got away following a three hour postponement, UK based tactician Adrian Stead and Kokomo’s owner/driver Lang Walker proved an unbeatable combination with the Sydney Farr 40 awarded boat of the day for their two wins and a second to finish the day on five points.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
The internationally renowned Stead, who has raced many times with Walker’s Kokomo crew both in Australia and overseas, picked the best lanes and last night Walker praised the efforts of his tactician and the rest of the crew for their 'superb performance', which has put them in pole position going into today’s final points chase.

While there were some hairy moments as different race fleets narrowly crossed paths with the 10 strong Farr 40 fleet, Walker is all for inshore racing.

“Instead of bumping around off the coast it’s more user-friendly for those newer to the class. Everyone seemed to enjoy it,” he said.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
Second on progressive results after three races is the Australian Farr 40 class president, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and Transfusion, with 11 points followed by Estate Master in third, also on 11 points.

Corinthian boat of the day was Andrew Hunn’s Tasmanian entry Voodoo Chile, which Hunn has chartered from Lang Walker for the event.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
Hunn and his 24 year-old tactician David Chapman, who last week won the RSYS’s Hardy Cup on his fifth and final attempt, are eager for the Corinthian win. Voodoo Chile narrowly missed out on claiming an outright hometown victory in last month’s Tasmanian state contest, but couldn’t make an impact on the dominant Sydney trio yesterday, finishing fourth on the points table.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
“A Corinthian win would be a great achievement, anything else we’ll take,” said Hunn.

All 10 tacticians, who have the often unenviable job of whispering in the owner’s ear about the boat’s position while deducing where the next opportunity might present itself, had more than just shifty sou’easters to contend with yesterday. An early drenching under heavy cloud, lengthy postponement until mid-afternoon, and then factoring the 18 foot and Laser fleets plus the usual weekend harbour traffic into decision making created a bit of tension.

“Today was all about being in the right place at the right time,” agreed Principal Race Officer Rob Ridley after racing. “Conditions were very tricky and tomorrow looks like it will be the same.”

Mixed fortunes came with the motley conditions and Ivan Wheen’s Sputnik snatched an early break. The Sputnik crew haven't raced together since the 2011 Worlds and went into this weekend “with the bar set very low” to the point they raced on the harbour yesterday with an L-plate attached to the boat’s stern.

Despite their match fitness, tactician Tom King, a Sydney Olympic 470 gold medallist, pulled a rabbit out of his hat with a bullet in race one. The distractions of turning 40 this week and getting married next week were far from King’s mind as he and his cohorts, many of them champion Etchells sailors, came out swinging.

The morning’s steamy Singapore-like temperatures and the millpond that was Sydney Harbour was a testing start to the championship. Some three hours after competition was scheduled to start the first race got underway in seven knots of SE breeze off Cremorne Point with the top mark north of Clarke Island. By the final race winds had built to 12 knots.

“The morning cloud and rain held off the sou’easter, it was a bit trying,” admitted Ridley.

Lisa Ratcliff

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