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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Transfusion Takes Out Farr 40 Australian Championship

Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion was today declared the winner of the John Calvert-Jones Trophy and named the Aberdeen Asset Management Australian Farr 40 Champion for the 2012-13 season.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40

Transfusion won all three lead-up state titles and this afternoon collected the clincher, the nine-race national one-design regatta sailed over two days on a blustery Sydney Harbour. This is Belgiorno-Nettis’ fourth national title in the class, having also been crowned in 2012, 2010, 2009, and in 2011 he won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Sydney.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
“We were progressively losing points in the first two races today so we thought we’d better pull up our socks, which we did in the seventh race then the next two races we sailed ordinarily again,” Belgiorno-Nettis said.

“We crossed the finish line thinking we’d lost to Kokomo, the three lead boats were so close at the finish line it was hard to see who was in front. It was right down to the wire, the tension on our boat was amazing.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
“Today was very testing, we were right on the edge of our comfort zone and we were wondering how some of the other crews were handling the heavy conditions. We had a debate with the PRO Rob Ridley after race eight and he asked us whether we wanted to go into a fifth and final race. The consensus was to go ahead and complete the program.”

Second by one point was Lang Walker’s Kokomo (25 points) and third overall and first Corinthian Farr 40 was Andrew Hunn and Lloyd Clark’s Voodoo Chile (26 points) from Tasmania.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
Kokomo’s crew found their rhythm early in the fresh to frightening breeze, which was a solid 25 knots gusting up to 30 plus. The windier it got the stronger Walker’s classy outfit performed with two early bullets while Transfusion’s crew struggled .

It was tit-for-tat all day between Transfusion and Kokomo, Voodoo Chile inching closer to the top of the scoresheet with each race. At the end of race six Kokomo was level-pegged with Transfusion and ahead on a countback. A fifth in the next race put them back to second by four points. By the end of race eight the pair was two points apart.
Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
“We knew we had to come out guns blazing today. Unfortunately we didn’t make the gybe or the layline in the last race, which was a disappointing finish as we had to win that final race to break the tiebreak," said Kokomo’s UK based tactician Adrian Stead.

“Certainly it was our best day of racing on Kokomo, our best team effort and Lang did bloody well steering for five races. I don’t think I’ve ever done an entire regatta where we’ve had nine races with heavy weather jibs up,” he pointed out.
Voodoo Chile Photo: Dane Lojek/Farr 40
Third overall and first Corinthian Farr 40 was Andrew Hunn and Lloyd Clark’s Voodoo Chile, the slick red-shirted brigade flying the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s burgee on a Farr 40 chartered from Lang Walker.

“That would have to be the best result we can expect and we are absolutely delighted," Hunn said. "We were a lot better for last weekend’s run, better again for the run Friday and it came together beautifully today. Lang might be a bit miffed now that he chartered his boat to us. We are very thankful, he made our regatta possible.”

Five races were completed in quick succession today, two laps of the course set off Clarke Island, near Double Bay, per race. They were hard windward works to the top marks laid off Nielsen Park at Vaucluse and lots of crash gybing and kites flogging in the following breeze once the fleet turned the corner.

The remnants of the low pressure system that has wreaked havoc across Sydney all weekend continued to dictate conditions for the curtain closer, a strong wind warning, warm north-east breeze, declining sea state, 74% humidity and heavy cloud cover creating a surreal scene on a hazy and almost empty Sydney Harbour.

Teams were strapped in for some hairy rides as the 10 Farr 40s threw up plenty of wake running downwind at 18 knots. The sprints didn’t end well for some including Ivan Resnekov’s iMpi and the crew were forced to cut through the spinnaker halyard to prevent their kite pulling them on to the rocks at Bradleys Heads after a spectacular wipe-out laid the boat over in race six and forced their retirement.

At the top mark rounding in race five Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master wildly broached then rounded up the other way, an unplanned manoeuvre that cost them a couple of places and turned a few hairs grey. The Hills finished fourth overall, unable to lock Hunn and his young ace tactician, David Chapman, out of the top three.

This weekend’s national one-design series was dedicated to the class’ forefather and the first Australian Farr 40 World Champion, John Calvert-Jones.

Sam Hill, owner/skipper of Forty has been instrumental in the uniting active Australian Farr 40 owners and putting together a hard-fought series in Brisbane, Hobart and finally Sydney where the NSW state titles led into this weekend’s nationals, conducted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli.
Forty was crewed by a mostly young team including the brother and sister duo of Will and Sasha Ryan, back from their Olympic 470 duties and Stacey Jackson, who manages the pocket maxi Black Jack for Peter Harburg and recently tried out for the all-women Volvo Ocean Race team.

“Conditions today were at the upper extreme of the class but we came through. We certainly built the team over the regatta as we are a relatively new crew. The culture on this boat is that we are there to enjoy it, if we can mix it with the big boys and make it difficult for them then that’s what we will do. We hope to be back next year,” said Forty’s tactician Will Ryan.



Lisa Ratcliff

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