A full season of racing begins this weekend for the Australian Farr 40 class, giving the local fleet four months to ripen over summer in time for the 2016 world title Sydney will host next February.
Three open regattas in October (24-25), November (7-8) and December (12-13) precede the Farr 40 NSW State Title (January 23-24, 2016) and Farr 40 National Championships: John Calvert-Jones Trophy (January 29-31).
The competition then moves from Middle Harbour Yacht Club to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at Kirribilli for the Australian International, February 11-13, and finally the big one, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, February 16-19, 2016. Five of the top ranked international boats have suggested they’ll be shipping out from Europe and the USA to shirt-front the locals.
At least four Aussie teams are hunting the main prize of a world championship; previous winner (2011, Sydney) Transfusion (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis), the current Australian champion outfit of Voodoo Chile led by Lloyd Clarke and Andrew Hunn, Rod Jones’ Kindergarten and Lisa and Martin Hill who are fresh from competing this year’s Rolex Farr 40 worlds in California with Estate Master.
“We will re-join the Australian fleet in December after the boat arrives back,” said Hill last week. “We scored second in San Fran in 2014 and we were disappointed with sixth this year but we know speed-wise we have as much as the top boats. Racing Farr 40s is top-of-the-game grand prix competition against the world’s best pro sailors. You can never believe you have any right to win; you have to work for it.”
Over winter, newly elected Australian Class President Rod Jones ran Kindergarten and his crew through a full systems check. The yacht’s deck was painted and non-skid renewed, fittings replaced and rig checked. The crew is also well into a maintenance program Jones had fitness coach Andrew Verdon develop, focusing on muscle build. “Fitness is controllable in our prep so I want to make sure that our team members have the right advice,” the skipper said. “The team go through assessments each eight weeks; leading into the heavy end of the season we should be well prepared.”
Not all local Farr 40 owners have a world series trophy on their ‘to do’ list. Rob Reynolds gave up ocean racing after 20 odd years and having looked for a day boat decided on one of Lang Walker’s Kokomos, which he renamed Exile, the moniker of his past ocean-goers. “It’s my first one design program and we’ve decided to enter Corinthian division,” Reynolds shared. “They are a great fun boat and I want to get back to really enjoyable sailing, plus see what we can achieve.”
Exile joins the building fleet of Farr 40s housed at MHYC including Corinthian winner for 2014-15, Gordon Ketelbey’s Zen, and clubmate Jeff Carter with Edake. For the first time, MHYC at The Spit will host the important state and Australian title and Commodore John McCuaig is proud his club is by default now the home base of more than half the racing fleet.
Farr 40 2015-16 season likely list of entries:
- Double Black – Rob Pitts (SYC, VIC)
- Edake – Jeff Carter (MHYC, NSW)
- Estate Master – Lisa & Martin Hill (MHYC)
- Exile – Rob Reynolds (MHYC)
- Forty – Stephen Barlow (RSYS, NSW)
- Kindergarten – Rod Jones (MYC/MHYC, QLD & NSW)
- Transfusion – Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (MHYC)
- Zen – Gordon Ketelbey (MHYC)
- Voodoo Chile – Andrew Hunn/Lloyd Clark (RYCT, TAS)
- Good Form – Joe de Kock (Midcoast Boatyard and Marine, NSW)
By Lisa Ratcliff/Australian Farr 40 media