Photo: David Brogan/

Two bullets for Transfusion

Rolex Trophy One Design series underway on Sydney Harbour

Friday December 9th 2011, Author: Di Pearson, Location: Australia

Reigning Farr 40 world champion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis started his Rolex Trophy campaign well of Sydney Heads today, bagging two bullets and a second place with his Transfusion to take the early lead of the nine race series being hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

Belgiorno-Nettis, from Middle Harbour Yacht Club, was chuffed with his boat and crew’s performance, saying: “Although there are only three of us racing, the reality is the competition is very hard.”

The Sydney businessman said despite having four new crew members aboard, “Things went very well for us. Bobby Wilmot (his tactician) hasn’t sailed the boat for a while because he’s been away for a while. You can imagine how good he felt beating Grant Simmer (Estate Master’s tactician today) and Adrian Stead (Kokomo’s tactician).

Martin and Lisa Hill, also from MHYC, sailed Estate Master to a win in Race 1 and followed up with two second places, while Lang Walker’s Kokomo finished with a trio of third places.

Kokomo hasn’t raced regularly lately, so I’m sure it will pick up over the next couple of days,” Belgiorno-Nettis prophesised. “And the racing was very close; we had to work very hard for our wins.

“It was soft offshore; there was a lot of joggle and a bit of lump caused by a fading sou’ easter, then the wind was trying to go around to the north east. It made racing very tricky. If you could pick the bits of north-east trying to come in, you were well-off,” he said.

The most the Farr 40 and Sydney 38 fleets saw today was 12 knots, but the wind averaged 7-9 knots and shifted 60° throughout the day, causing Principal Race Officer, Denis Thompson to move the windward mark throughout, to compensate for the shifts.

Top of the Sydney 38s was Mark Griffith and his Old School crew who opened proceedings with a third, and then reeled off two bullets in succession for a four point lead over Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen (MHYC), which won Race 1, with the Geoff Bonus/Richard Williams’ owned Calibre (CYCA) in third place, eight points off the lead.

Others in the nine-boat fleet did not fare so well, scoring mixed results. With the NSW Championship being sailed in conjunction with the Rolex Trophy, mistakes proved costly for some, who will find it hard to recover and get back into the game.

“When you’ve got speed, it makes life easy,” leader Griffith said late this afternoon, admitting that the work of trimmers overcame the challenges of a hard day’s sail. The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club sailor, who finished the NSW Championship second last year, said: “We want to go one better this year, and we are on the way.”

“We had pretty fluent crew work and that was important at the end of the day,” said the Sydney sailor who only got into the class two years ago. He thinks fellow RPAYC boats, Risk (Martin Cross) and Whisper (Bruce Ferguson) are the two that will give him most trouble this weekend when the windward/leeward races resume.

The Rolex Trophy continues off Sydney Heads tomorrow and concludes on Sunday, with the official prizegiving to be held at the CYCA on Sunday afternoon following racing.

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