Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron really turned on the charm as host of the Farr 40 25th Year Anniversary Regatta, writes Robert Davis. For Saturday’s race, Principal Race Officer Rob Ridley set off the eight boat fleet on a passage race around Sydney Harbour in a pleasant 8 – 12 knot westerly breeze and magnificent autumn sunshine.
Nutcracker and Exile both got away to good starts and were neck and neck at the first turning mark, with the whole fleet just behind and converging fast. A tight reach up the harbour to Cannae Point made for some exciting rides, and nearly all boats took an involuntary spill at some point! Positions remained relatively orderly for the trip back down the harbour. However, nothing can ever be taken for granted on Sydney Harbour, and in a race of ‘Snakes & Ladders’, the whole fleet order changed at the Taylors Bay turning mark, courtesy of a massive wind shadow, and Forty and Solymar emerged as the new race leaders. Conditions changed quickly in the final few miles of the race, and those who reacted with the tidiest boat handling were rewarded.
Everyone enjoyed the race. Nutcracker sailed consistently well to win, and Forty and Solymar held on to take second and third respectively. Back at the RSYS clubhouse, cold drinks and a BBQ feast awaited the 80 weary and hungry competitors. Event sponsors Oakdene Wines, North Sails Australia, and Foxtel generously provided terrific prizes for the event Raffle winners. It was a great day indeed, with the iconic ‘Squaddie’ at her glorious best!
Day two of the regatta greeted the fleet with light southerly winds, raising doubts as to whether racing could even take place. In some fine Race Management work, three short windward leeward races were in fact completed before the breeze completely dropped out. Exile was boat of the day with two race wins and a 5th. Current National champion Edake also had a good day, posting a 2nd, 3rd, 4th.
However, it was consistency across both days of the regatta which was to produce the overall placegetters. After a break from the class, it was terrific to see Sam Hill and Mick O’Brien back to take 3rd place overall in Forty. Also back for the event, was class stalwart and past World Champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, who showed all those years of practice haven’t gone astray – Exile placed 2nd overall. But it was the most practised and consistent team of late who were to take the overall regatta win aboard Nutcracker, skippered by Rob Davis.
The Farr 40 Class wish to extend their thanks and gratitude to RSYS for providing an outstanding weekend of sailing and socialising.
Photos by Marg Fraser-Martin
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