No Farr 40 for Aussie AC team

Surely Australia can find itself a Farr 40 to complete their Admiral's Cup team?

Tuesday January 30th 2001, Author: Andy Rice & Ian Grant, Location: United Kingdom
"In an extremely disappointing scenario Australia may well be poised to withdraw from the prestigious Admiral’s Cup for 2001," wrote Ian Grant in a media release sent to madforsailing. "Unfortunately it seems that the proud Australian flag will not be flown in Cowes this year after the competitively strong Farr 40 fleet elected to withdraw their nomination following the Australian trial series."
This seems an unlikely scenario. If the Australian Yachting Federation (AYF) wants a Farr 40 to compete for them at the Admiral's Cup, then there will be no shortage of candidates for charter. There are eight boats lining up for British team selection, and a number of American teams are coming over for the class world championships in the Solent just a few weeks after the AC. It would be surprising if John Calvert-Jones and his Aussie team that won the worlds last year were not coming to England to defend their title.

The Farr 40, you would have thought, would be the easiest of the three categories to resolve. The tougher job is getting hold of an IC45 and a Sydney 40, but Ian Grant says there are solid Aussie campaigns already underway, and already committed to the AC.

According to Grant, Sydney owner Ray Roberts, who has extensive success in racing on the Asian circuit, had been nominated to fill the IC 45 berth after strong results in the Kings Cup and Singapore Straits regattas. Roberts confirmed his commitment by having his sloop prepared with extensive ‘sail fast’ modifications in Malaysia before shipping the sloop to Spain for racing on the highly competitive European circuit. The programme of events in Europe was designed to provide Roberts and crew with the best possible preparation for the Admiral’s Cup.

A similar dedicated challenge was focused around the Sydney 40 class campaign after Roger Hickman finished with a major result at the Palma World title series. Australia’s challenge appeared to be in great shape with the younger Sydney sailing team of Phil Eiszele and Jamie McPhail showing consistent all weather form with regular top results with their Sydney 40 Davnet.

Both Eiszele and McPhail who have extensive Sydney 40 racing experience were prepared to expand their International knowledge with a pre-Admiral’s Cup circuit in Europe. They had assembled a first class crew including some of Australia’s most talented young sailors who had the long term experience of sailing on the deck of a Sydney 40 in match race situations over the past two years.

Only two Farr 40s, Smile and Fruit Machine, skippered by the British-born brothers Simon and Neil Whiston completed the official selection race criteria with Smile sealing victory in the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race earlier this month. Both brothers, who have made a tremendous impact on Australian offshore racing over the past three years, including representing Australia at the Kenwood Cup in Hawaii last year, have declined to accept team nomination for personal reasons.

While the Whiston brother’s wishes are understood, it is ironic that successful Australian lobbying for an Admiral’s Cup Farr 40 class boat may possibly have ruled out an Australian Admiral’s Cup challenge in 2001.

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