Sunday, March 25, 2018

Phil Robertson Rockets Record Point into Championship Contention - SuperFoiler Grand Prix - Day 2 Sydney

World Match Racing Champion Phil Robertson has launched his run for the Ben Lexcen Trophy in perfect style by clinching two wins on the Saturday session of the Expr3ss! SuperFoiler Grand Prix on Sydney Harbour.
Photo: © Andrea Francolini
“We were stomping that one. We had some nice modes downwind and we know how to send it upwind,” said Record Point’s skipper Phil Robertson.
Photo: © Andrea Francolini
The New Zealand helmsman could have had a clean sweep of victories during the second day of racing. Record Point led the entire first race before stumbling with the finishing line in sight – a mistake that was fully exploited by tech2 who zoomed past to take the opening win.
Photo: © Andrea Francolini
“We were stoked, we were in the money and to get a sniff at the end was a chance to open up the throttle and the boys went for it they backed us in and we were over the moon when we got that,” said tech2’s skipper Luke Parkinson who sent the red flyer to the top of the Sydney Regatta leader board, “It was pretty loose but it was right up our alley.”
Photo: © Andrea Francolini
Record Point atoned for that disappointment in the next, breezing past Luke Parkinson to turn the previous result on its head with Phil Robertson adding Sydney to his list of SuperFoiler leg wins alongside Busselton.
Photo: © Andrea Francolini
“We were charging around out there, there were a lot of boats around which made it kind of tricky,” said Record Point’s Neil Hunter who after two wins and a second is now sitting in third on the regatta standings and eyeing off the overall win, “For sure that is in the back of our mind. This regatta being double points means it is all on the line for us tomorrow. We can really take it tomorrow.”
Photo: © Andrea Francolini
It was a difficult day for series leader Euroflex who surrendered crucial points to her nearest rivals, after regulars Nathan Outteridge and Glenn Ashby thrust together three third-placed finishes.

In many ways it was a remarkable effort from the three-time regatta champion Euroflex, who also had to contend with a knee injury to their bowman Harry Mighell in the second race which saw his crew scrambling to find a replacement.

The responsibility fell to 20-year old Connor Nicholas, who was only called into the Euroflex fold this week but fully embraced the challenge.

‘Nath pointed to me at the end of the second race and he said I was on and my heart rate went to about 200 instantly so it was a really cool experience for me to jump on board and learn,“ said the Perth-based Nacra17 specialist who is part of the Australian sailing squad, “I didn’t have time to get nervous, the race for me was just a total blur.”

“I think he almost wet his pants. He did a really good job considering the amount of training he had which was zero and he might be on with us tomorrow. We will have a think about it tonight and see what the plan is,”said Olympic Gold medallist Nathan Outteridge, “We nursed it home, it wasn’t our finest sailing but we got three threes so it was not bad considering the day.”

After Saturday’s racing just five points split tech2, Euroflex and Record Point in the battle for regatta supremacy in Sydney with Pavement, Kleenmaid, iD Intranet also still in calculation for the overall win.

The Ben Lexcen Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the SuperFoiler series, with the champion of the Expr3ss! SuperFoiler Grand Final – Sydney set to receive 12 points to their overall total.

The series climax will be livestreamed on www.superfoiler.com on Sunday 25 March, 2018 at 2:00pm AEDT.

Regatta Standings after Day One 

tech2 (29)
Euroflex (25)
Record Point (24)
Pavement (21) iD Intranet (17)
Kleenmaid (10)
Ben Lexcen Trophy (Series Standings)

Euroflex (19)
tech2 (17)
Pavement (16)
Record Point (12)
iD Intranet (11)
Kleenmaid (10)

Monday, March 19, 2018

HillPDA Racing Crowned Farr 40 Australian Champions

Martin Hill’s HillPDA Racing defended its Farr 40 Australian Champion status on Sydney Harbour, four wins and two seconds among eight races tallying up to a final unbeatable score 15 points in the black.
Photo: Jen Hughes
“We cleared out from the fleet today with faultless crew work and two more bullets,” the proud skipper said following the Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy presentation hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on Monday March 19, 2018. “It means a lot to have the other crews say we deserved to win,” Hill added.
Photo: Jen Hughes
Tactician for Hill, Tom Slingsby, is nearing the end of a hectic Australian summer program and the Sydney nationals threw up plenty of late season grenades.
Photo: Jen Hughes
“We assume the weather is still summer-like, but it’s starting to change. We had super light and super windy moments, abandoned races and relocations, and it was extremely shifty all three days. The crew work on our boat was amazing; we didn’t have one mistake, even in 25 knots,” Slingsby said.
Photo: Jen Hughes
Second on a count back went to Australian class president Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen. The Middle Harbour Yacht Club/RSYS team opened their campaign with two wins and a handy head start, then hung on to post a second in race six and possibly benefit from a shortened series.

Tom Quick’s Outlaw and Jeff Carter’s Edake were willing a third and final race on the closing day, their very last opportunity to pull enough points off Zen to finish with the silver medal. The weather remained on Zen’s side.

RSYS race officer Rob Ridley took the series right up to the 1500hrs deadline for starting race nine, delaying the 1100hrs scheduled start while the breeze clocked 180 degrees from west to east, then moving the fleet around the harbour between The Sound, Obelisk and Sow & Pigs reef in search of the prevailing light winds. By the time the mid-afternoon nor’easter started to settle, the clock had expired.

“We took a lot of points out of Gordon today but in the end we ran out of time. It was great racing with great people and a superb effort by David (Chapman, Outlaw’s tactician) and the team,” Quick said of the count back deficit and Outlaw’s third overall. 

“We rarely saw 10 knots today, more like 6-8 knots and a bit of tide running out so it was a bit bouncy. Sunday was also challenging with ferries, ships, skiffs and other boats drifting around; every type of vessel was out there! That’s two regattas and two countbacks,” he added, referring to the NSW State Title scoresheet when Outlaw narrowly finished second to HillPDA Racing.

2017-18 Farr 40 National Championship results at http://www.farr40.asn.au/results/

Lisa Ratcliff

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Blistering Day at Farr 40 Nationals - Day Two

Blistering autumn temperatures of 38 degrees and gusty nor’west winds on Sydney Harbour punished Farr 40 crews over four races and spat out those suddenly stranded on the wrong side of a shift on day two of the class’ national title.
Photo: Jen Hughes
Rob Davis and Andy Baker’s Melbourne based Nutcracker, third in the series after six races with a day to go, went from hero to zero in races four and five. “We won race four then sailed out of the breeze while the rest of the fleet was in 15 knots in race five,” said Baker. “We finished a good half a leg behind the last boat; it was one of those days.”
Photo: Jen Hughes
Martin Hill’s HillPDA Racing credited Olympic and America’s Cup winning tactician Tom Slingsby for his ability to continually manage the nuances of a hot NW wind, the breeze bouncing from 10 to 25 knots in the duration of a single leg of the windward/leeward format.
Photo: Jen Hughes
“I’ve never known it to be so hot; we drank all our water plus reserves and we are all so parched and tired,” said Hill. “Hats off to Tommy. It’s frustrating when you have NW breeze because it comes in in different strengths. Today was a tactician’s nightmare but Tom did a brilliant job of playing the percentages and the crew responded to the day’s physical demands, and that put us into first position. Tomorrow is looking light and variable; I’d rather be in our position than anywhere else.”
Photo: Jen Hughes
Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen backed up Saturday’s series lead with a bullet in the first race on Sunday March 18, and closed out the day with a second to be second overall, three points within reach of HillPDA Racing.

“Gordon is really sailing aggressively,” praised Hill, the reigning national champion. “When conditions get up to 25 knots and these boat gets up on the plane they are very strenuous to helm. Gordon held it all together. Congratulations to him and his team.”

Nutcracker has the fire-power of America’s Cup sailor and past Etchells world champion Ben Lamb on board as tactician. The combination of Lamb, the two owners and core Melbourne crew plus couple of Sydney ring-ins is melding into solid challenge for a trophy placing, which would be their best result since joining up with the dominant Sydney fleet two seasons ago.

“It’s all coming together for us,” said Baker. “We’ve put in a fair bit of work in over the last couple of years; we knew eventually we’d string a good day together and we are wrapped to be mixing it with the good guys. It was hot, windy, and fluky coming out of the west and there are some tired boys and girls looking forward to an early night.”

The class was fortunate to have Olympic sailor turned coach Neville Whitty handling the on-water umpire role and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s race management team led by Rob Ridley ran another excellent day for the eight crews.

Forecast conditions are dubious for Monday March 19, the final day of the 2017-18 Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy. Overnight southerlies 20-30 knots may have all but petered out by the scheduled start of race seven, at 1100hrs, then teams can expect a dodgy transition period before the wind clocks left and afternoon sea breezes reach the course.

Results at http://www.farr40.asn.au/results/

Lisa Ratcliff

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tough Day at Farr 40 Nationals in Sydney

A high pressure system near New Zealand generated a warm autumn day and cloudless Sydney sky that played havoc with day one of the 2017/18 Farr 40 National Championship: John Calvert-Jones Trophy, on Saturday March 17.
Photo: Jen Hughes
Race one had to be knocked on the head when the lead boat, Tom and Alan Quick’s Outlaw, finished a minute and seven seconds beyond the one hour time limit. Fading and oscillating NNEers made slow work of the opening bout and left the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s race officer Rob Ridley with no choice but to abandon all results.
Photo: Jen Hughes
Manly Circle produced enough breeze for a set of results in race two, that one going to class president Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen, before an hour-long postponement due to more light and shifty winds. The fleet then moved inside Sydney Harbour where other club fleets had reported seeing 10 knots, but in the end the single score stood.
Photo: Jen Hughes
“We are series leader, Corinthian leader and boat of the day; I’m taking a photo of the results page because it’s never going to happen again. Race two was a pretty fair race until the second run when things went a bit upsy downsy. Martin Hill (Hill PDA Racing) went to cover Outlaw and when they came back at us, we were in front. My tactician Sean Kirkjian pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Hopefully we can get some racing going on Sunday in the harbour," Ketelby said.
Photo: Jen Hughes
Behind Zen (RSYS/Middle Harbour Yacht Club) on the early pointscore is Hill PDA Racing (RSYS/MHYC) and third is Rob Pitts’ Double Black (Sandringham Yacht Club/MHYC).

Sunday’s four planned races will be inshore and the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting NNW 10 knots becoming NW 20-25 knots in the late morning then shifting southerly in the evening when a cold change sweeps through off the back of a scorching 39-degree day. Winds may reach 30 knots at times during the day.
Results at http://www.farr40.asn.au/results/

Lisa Ratcliff