Photos: Dane Lojek

Transfusion out to defend her title

Aussie Farr 40 Nationals under in Tasmania

Wednesday February 19th 2014, Author: Lisa Ratcliff, Location: Australia

Defending champion Transfusion put in a strong start to lead the Australia Farr 40 National Championships: the John Calvert-Jones Trophy after four races were held on day one.

Monday’s lapse at the Tasmanian State Title was cast aside and the Transfusion crew, led by skipper Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and  America’s Cup strategist and London 2012 Olympic Laser gold medallist Tom Slingsby, came out swinging.

The Transfusion team's own strategist Joe Turner gave his run down on the opening day. He’s well qualified to talk on behalf of the crew as according to him, he’s the only one on the boat with any personality. “No seriously, I look after Tom while he adjusts from going 40 knots to seven,” he jested. “And I picked the shifts all day….”

Transfusion’s two thirds, a second and a first on Hobart’s Derwent River today, leaves them three points ahead of Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master. It’s a useful first phase psychological advantage in the season-ending four day regatta.

Stephen Boyes’ local Farr 40 Wired, on which Nathan Wilmot is calling tactics, is two points off the Hills in third and tied on 14 points with the Andrew Hunn-steered Voodoo Chile in fourth place overall.

Voodoo’s tactician David Chapman required six stitches for a knee laceration he suffered during racing on Monday, the final day of the Tasmanian state title. Treatment was given at Calgary Hospital by none other than his own skipper Dr Andrew Hunn, a prominent Hobart neurosurgeon.

“I stitched Chappo up….again,” is Hunn’s running joke. By all reports the young tactician is moving about the boat okay.

Back to the leader and Turner speaks highly of Belgiorno-Nettis’ qualities: “He’s a very good leader and he’s effective at getting the team motivated and in the right mind set. Guido’s also a very good sailor. Being on the boat is an absolute laugh. There’s a lot of slinging then hugs and kisses at the end of the day.”

After a day of respite, the one design fleet launched back into competition in 6-10 knots of shifty SSW breeze. It was a text book day on the race management side according to IRO Nick Hutton, his on-water team banging off four races of two laps each in quick succession.
A mile up the river and downwind from the Farr 40 race track there was a glassy calm patch where club racers were at a standstill, the whimsical Derwent River up to its usual tricks.

The onus is on the duo of Turner and Slingsby to pick the right side of the course. “It’s not the easiest place to pick the shifts,” admitted Turner. “You have to be looking up the course all the time, and be patient. There were passing lanes everywhere.”

Describing the finish of race one 200m from the line, Turner, a well-known Moth sailor said, “You could have thrown a doona over five of us, we were that close. In that distance Estate Master went from first to fifth.”

Tomorrow’s forecast is for NW winds 10-20 knots increasing to 15-25 knots around midday and to 20-30 knots in the late afternoon. The class’ upper limit is 25 knots consistent and given the heavy air forecast for tomorrow and Friday the maximum number of races has been reduced from 16 to 12 and to constitute a series four races is the new minimum.

“Strong NW then SW breezes are our two least welcome winds and they are talking about 25-30 knots at times,” said regatta IRO Nick Hutton. “It was great we had a gentle start today. We will be making some hard decisions tomorrow.”

Gear and crew work are about to be pressure tested and those teams whose core has been together for many years, like Transfusion, keenly anticipate the challenge.

“Tomorrow is meant to be fresh to frightening,” said Turner. “We feel our crew work is pretty strong in that stuff. We don’t mind if it’s windy.”

He also praised the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania’s hospitality as host of the Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 Tasmanian State Title and the current national title that wraps up this Saturday, 22nd February 2014.

The Richardsons’ Farr 40 Local Mocean from Royal Geelong Yacht Club, a new recruit at the business end of the Farr 40 season, put in their best performance today, a third in race four to be sixth overall from eight starters.

Skipper Steven Richardson said they made some changes to crew positions after the state title and today they showed they can match the others on boat speed: “Our teamwork is coming together, that’s where we are improving the most each day we sail. The Tasmanian title was our first time together with this team. We are getting to know what everyone does.”

On tomorrow’s forecast he added, “We haven’t done much heavy weather racing with this crew. We should be alright. We had our big wipe-out in the states. Hopefully that’s it for us. We’ll have a quiet night and save our energy for tomorrow.”


Pos Boat Owner R1 R2 R3 R4 Tot
2 ESTATE MASTER Martin & Lisa HILL 5 2 4 1 12
3 WIRED Stephen BOYES 1 5 2 6 14
4 VOODOO CHILE Lloyd & Andrew CLARK & HUNN 2 3 5 4 14
5 EDAKE Jeffrey CARTER 4 4 1 7 16
7 WAR GAMES Wayne BANKS-SMITH 6 7 8 5 26
8 POW Michael & Craig COOPER & CLIFFORD 8 6 6 8 28




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