Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship decided on countback

7 January 2013

Peter Campbell

If the Tasmanian Farr 40 championship at the weekend is any criteria, Sydney Harbour is set for some spectacular and close one-design keelboat racing when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron hosts the New South Wales and Australian Farr 40 championship in February.


Both championships will be sailed on the Harbour to wind up the eastern seaboard circuit of championship regatta and is expected to draw Farr 40s from Queensland and Tasmania to again race against the Sydney fleet.


As RSYS member and Australian 40 Owners Association president Guido Belgiorno-Nettis said, there could not have been a better finish to the inaugural Farr 40 Tasmanian Championship on Hobart’s River Derwent on Sunday.


Sailing Transfusion, the former Farr 40 world champion from Sydney surfed to victory before an 18 knot seabreeze in the final race, with series leader Voodoo Chile, helmed by Hobart yachtsman Lloyd Clark, third across the line.


Transfusion’s win levelled the pointscore and it also gave the Sydney yacht the vital total of three wins to two by the Hobart boat.


However, he was speaking in broader terms of the success of the Tasmanian championship which is part of the Eastern Seaboard Circuit of championship events for the elite Farr 40 class sponsored by Aberdeen Global Asset Management, which also sponsors the famous Cowes Week in England.


Ironically, a second place in the last race by Tilford Auto Group, chartered for the regatta by Andrew Hunn, co-owner of Voodoo Chile, cost Lloyd Clark the Tasmanian championship win. A second place, rather than a third, would have given the title to Clark and Voodoo Chile. Visit this website to find out more information on private charters.


“Finishing second to a world champion on a countback and winning the Corinthian trophy was a great reward…we pushed the Transfusion team all the way in what has been a fantastic regatta,” Clark said after the race.


Winning skipper Guido Belgiorgno-Nettis described the inaugural Tasmanian championship as a wonderful event for the Farr 40 class. “We had great sailing on the Derwent, the regatta was brilliantly managed by Bellerive Yacht Club and we encountered plenty of competition from the local fleet,” he added. “Lloyd took us right down to the wire.”


Belgiorgno-Nettis praised his new tactician, West Australian Tom Burton, the world’s No1 ranked Laser sailor who on Friday won the Australian championship, also sailed in Hobart. “In his first role as a tactician on a keelboat, he did a wonderful job, showing great maturity in calling the shots,” the skipper added.


Third place overall went to another of the three yachts that came down from Sydney for the Tasmanian championship, Estate Master, skippered by Martin Hill with a family crew that included his wife Lisa, daughter Sarah and son-in-law Michael Blackburn, the Sydney 2000 Olympic bronze medallist in the Laser class.

Three races were sailed on the final day, with Transfusion and Voodoo Chile each winning one race on a smokey River Derwent in which the wind steadily increased for less than 5 knots to a brisk 18-knot southerly.


Third place overall went to Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate which along with Transfusion and RSYS memberSam Hill’s Forty came down from Sydney to contest the Tasmanian championship, competing against Hobart’s fleet of five Farr 40s.


Going into the second and final day racing, Hobart yacht Voodoo Chile, from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, on 6 points, held a two point lead over the former world champion, Transfusion, and another Sydney boat, Forty, both on 9 points.


But things changed once the racing got under way in less than 5 knots of south-westerly breeze on a course south of Kangaroo Bluff on the Derwent eastern shore.


Estate Master won the shortened race from Forty and Transfusion with Voodoo Chile. After four races, only two points separated the first four boats on the leader board: Voodoo Chile 10 points, Transfusion 11 points each and Estate Master on 12 points.After a delayed second race, waiting for the 12 knot seabreeze to come up the river, the state of play changed once more. Voodoo Chile won the race by just 13 seconds from Transfusion, with Hobart yacht Wired (Stephen Boyes) finally getting among the top third with a third.Transfusion recovered well after a spinnaker clip let go with the kite halfway up. “Our bowman Mitch White quickly clipped the head to the second halyard but as this doesn’t hoist beyond three-quarters it kept the boat going down wind, “ Belgiorno-Nettis explained.


“Mitch then went up the mast to retrieve the masthead spinnaker halyard and got back to finish a close second.”


Going into the final race, with breeze freshening to a 15 knot sea breeze, Voodoo Chile had 11 points on the board, Transfusion 13 points, Estate Master 17 and Forty 18 points.


It was then that Andrew Hunn and his crew got into the action with the chartered Tilford Auto Group, leading around the windward mark and holding first place until Transfusion outpaced them on the final spinnaker run to the finish, the winning margin just 21 seconds as the fleet surfed downwind in an 18 knot southerly.


Lloyd Clark, at the helm of Voodoo Chile, could not overtake Andrew Hunn, steering Tilford Auto Group, and thus the inaugural Tasmanian championship for the Farr 40 class went to Transfusion. A worthy winner and an equally worthy runner-up after two days of magnificent competition on the River Derwent.