Thursday, February 20, 2014

Plenty Of Breeze and Spot Of Carnage for Farr 40 Fleet in Hobart - Day 2

The forecasters got it right on day two of the Farr 40 National Championships: John Calvert-Jones Trophy as Hobart upped the ante for the eight boat fleet contesting their Australian title.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
An early NNW wind in the high teens gusting up to 28 knots caused some damage in race five, the first of the day. Trevor and Steven Richardson’s Local Mocean tore their main and Jeff Carter’s Edake broke a mainsail batten.
Edake  Photo: Lulu Roseman
It went from bad to worse for Carter who ripped a spinnaker in race seven. “I may as well have stood in the shower tearing up $100 bills. The result was the same,” said Carter, from Sydney’s Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Transfusion Photo: Lulu Roseman
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion is holding firm in the prime position, still three points ahead of Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master at the series mid-way point. Andrew Hunn and Lloyd Clark’s Voodoo Chile has moved into third place, bumping Stephen Boyes’ Wired off the podium.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Estate Master’s Darren ‘Twirler’ Jones on main tells the story of their day. “We were having a Barry Crocker. We got a fourth in the first race of the day and we decided Pepsi [Hamish Pepper] hadn’t done a great job as tactician.
“I was feeling quite fresh so I put him on my shoulders and carried him across the boat back and forth for race five. He weighs let’s say 105 kilos. We got a win in that race. I had to get a rub down in between races because he’s quite heavy to carry.
Photo: Dane Lojek
“Next time he hung on for the ride and we got a second. Mind you he’s not used to holding onto wet weather gear. His hands are bred for a more woollen feel. Luckily our skipper Martin had an old woolly jumper down below so we put that on him and he held tight. Bloody Kiwis….”
Photo: Dane Lojek
Estate Master used up its lucky card in the final race seven. The Sydney crew had to pull down the spinnaker and turn the boat twice to exonerate a penalty. They picked the right side of the comeback trail and finished second in that race from well back in the field.
Estate Master Photo: Lulu Roseman
“With all the boat changes and keels getting fixed, all the 40s are a lot more even. We used to get hammered by Transfusion,” said Jones.
Estate Master Photo: Lulu Roseman
More seriously he knows Estate Master needs another couple of months before the boat has that lived-in feel.
Estate Master Photo: Lulu Roseman
“We have changed sail makers and we aren’t going to get the sail program and rig set up right until we have more time on the boat. We also have a bunch of new people and we are a little underweight. Everyone is going well here in Hobart. The flat water and the shifty stuff are great levellers,” Jones added.
Photo: Dane Lojek 
He reflected on the Australian class’ development while he’s been away campaigning mostly Melges 32s and Farr 30s. “I haven’t sailed the 40s for some time. When I think back to the Australian fleet four years ago compared to now it has lifted quite a lot.The class has been going 20 years and the wheels have turned 100 times. The setup, trim and crew work has drifted down through the boats and they all look the same. It’s all come to a head.”
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Like Estate Master, Voodoo Chile is in the hunt to try and thwart Transfusion’s trifecta of consecutive national title wins.
Voodoo Chile  Photo: Lulu Roseman
“We are only half way through the regatta and tomorrow is another day. We had a great day. It was made easy because my crew know exactly what they are doing. There will be good pressure in the morning, who knows what might happen. We are in good shape,”  said Andrew Hunn, co-owner of Voodoo Chile and skipper for this regatta.

On competing at a home fixture Hunn says they are enjoying hosting and sailing against the top teams on local waters. Other than tactician David Chapman and bowman Wulf Wilkens, both from Sydney, the entire crew was born or lives in the Tasmanian capital Hobart.

“Without realising it you have a better idea what’s likely to happen. We were very familiar with the sort of conditions we had today,” Hunn said.

On the flipside he’s conscious the away teams are able to focus 100% whereas the locals have “home things” they need to fit in around the regatta.

After running race five a big westerly shift meant a re-set of the course for a NW bearing. Two postponements later race six was away then race seven was ticked off in reasonably steady breeze, still around the same strength in the high teens gusting into the 20s.

“I think we tired them out, they’ll sleep well tonight,” IRO Nick Hutton predicted.

Overnight a howling 40-50 knot west nor’wester will rattle the rigging. This should turn sou’westerly 15 -25 knots early in the morning then decrease to 10-20 knots in the afternoon.

Lisa Ratcliff

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