Select turn out for Rolex Trophy One-Design Series
Sailing enthusiasts will be treated to spectacular racing when a world-class fleet lines up for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Trophy One-Design Series off Sydney from 10-12 December.
This usually eye-catching event is sure to draw even more interest as all the Farr 40s taking part will be in tune-up mode for the 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in February, also taking place off Sydney.
At the top of the list is reigning world and European champion, Nerone, the Italian yacht owned by Massimo Mezzaroma, which won the Worlds in 2003. Another highly credentialed international is American Jim Richardson and his Barking Mad, who won the World’s in 1998, 2004 and 2009.
Nerone and Barking Mad went head-to-head for the 2009 World and 2010 European titles. Australia’s Transfusion (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis) came between the two at the 2010 World’s, leaving Barking Mad third overall. A tough hombre, Richardson has netted a handful of minor placings to add to his wins over the years.
Brett Neill’s White Cloud from New Zealand rounds out the international list. He and the crew regularly make the trip across the ditch to Australia to familiarise themselves with the Aussie fleet and the local conditions.
Neill realised the benefit of all their travels after finishing second in the SSORC series in late November to fellow Rolex Trophy One-Design competitor, Lang Walker (Kokomo). Walker backed up with a win in the Farr 40 Sprint Series early this month, showing a well-prepared crew.
The Aussies will be out in force. Top of the pile is Estate Master (Martin and Lisa Hill) and Transfusion. The latter finished second at the 2010 Worlds to Estate Master’s fourth, but results have see-sawed back and forth at Australian events, including the Hills’ win of this event last year, with Kokomo second and Transfusion third.
Easy Tiger II (Chris Way), Twin Edake (Jeff Carter), Sputnik (Ivan Wheen), Enigma (David Gotze) and Voodoo Chile (Andrew Hunn) make up the rest of the Australian field, and each has had its moment in the sun.
Crew and crew work will play a vital role in deciding the winner and teams will need to be at their best every day. Local knowledge will make the Aussies feel a little more comfortable, while patience, nerve and fitness could make the difference.
Owners have topped up their crews with some of the hottest names in sailing. On Estate Master alone there are three Australian Olympians; reigning world champions Malcolm Page (470) and Tom Slingsby (Laser) and former double world champion Nathan Outteridge (49er), while Transfusion has Olympian Bobby Wilmot.
Challenging conditions off Sydney Heads; prevailing big northeasters with some southerly busters thrown in, lumpy seas, short sharp chop, shifty breezes that can go from light and flukey to lusty and gusty - and the pressures of one-design sailing at its best are like being in a pressure cooker.
The Rolex Trophy One Design nine-race windward/leeward series commences from 11.00am from Friday 10 December to Sunday 12 December.