The two crews, who stayed one step ahead of their adversaries on the Manly Circle today, will take some beating, with tomorrow being the final day and only three more races to be sailed in each of the One Design classes.
Estate Master’s win gives them a handy four point lead of the Farr 40 class, with just three races to be sailed tomorrow to decide the winner. Although he broke the start in Race 3, Lang Walker and his Kokomo crew pulled together to make a stunning recovery and finish third.
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and the Transfusion crew have held on to third place overall, but were not able to overcome Estate Master to advance up the board.
"What a great day, but we had to fight every inch of the way," Hill said. "The lead changed between the three top boats - it was very tight - you couldn’t let your guard down."
Hill said the Rolex Trophy was training for Farr 40 Worlds to be held in Sydney in 18 months time - and so far, so good. He is hoping to emulate the result of Sydneysider Richard Perini, who won the Worlds when they were sailed in Sydney in 2004.
To that end, the Middle Harbour YC Commodore and Farr 40 Class President and his wife Lisa have co-opted some of Perini’s winning crew: crack New Zealand sailor Hamish Pepper (tactics), Darren ‘Twirler‘ Jones (mainsheet), Tristam ‘Stan’ Eldershaw and Chris 'Cooky’ Cook. Add to that already impressive line-up 49er Olympian and double world champion Nathan Outteridge as strategist and you have a gun crew.
"Already Hamish and Nathan are a close-knit team; whispering away together," Hill says of the crew he will have aboard for the Worlds. "We’ve just been in Miami competing and the competition here is just as good. We’re in countdown mode for the Worlds."
The Sydney 38’s sailed the first three races of their series and in another shoo-in, Ian and Shane Guanaria’s The Tavern also coming up with the hat trick on Day 1 of the Sydney 38 series.
"Dad’s not onboard. Sadly, his mother passed away in England, so he’s there. We scored those three wins for her; she’ll be up there looking down,” Shane Guanaria said this afternoon, who described racing as "pretty close. We seemed to have the speed edge upwind. Our crew work was faultless too; everyone else had little hiccups and that made the difference.”
The Tavern’s skipper went on to say: "We had a good day, all day! Racing was fairly close. Swish and Calibre were our main competitors."
Like Estate Master, Guanaria admitted they had some secret weapons aboard to pad out their crew of top Tasar sailors. "We’ve got Andrew York calling the shots and he obviously did an exceptional job. We’ve also got Tom Barker trimming headsail and spinnaker.”
23 year old Barker, a graduate of the CYCA Youth Academy, won the Australian Ocean Racing Crewman of the Year in 2007 for his heroics on the bow of AFR Midnight Rambler. He’s also a dab match racer; a young man who can turn his hand to any position on a boat.
Principal Race Officer of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia organised series Denis Thompson said today’s conditions were as close to perfect as you could get. "They got a beautiful nor-easter that gradually built throughout the day. The first race was sailed in around 12 knots and by the third race, it was 20 knots - perfect conditions," Thompson said. "It was very close racing in the Farr 40s - particularly Race 2 - you could hardly separate them. It was straight forward good racing."
Tomorrow is the final day of racing and starts from 11.00 (local), weather permitting. The Farr 40s and Sydney 38 One Designs will aim to contest three races each.
Nine races will decide the Farr 40 series, while the Sydney 38 One Design series consists of six races.