The enduring Farr 40 class is moving into another phase of a 20-year lifespan in Australia following on from Sydney hosting the international fleet’s last world championship.
For the upcoming Farr 40 2016/17 Australian Open Series pointscore starting October 22-23, 2016 the Australian field is more level than ever, with the majority of teams competing in the Corinthian division making for a fun and close summer season of racing over six events.
Melbourne is adding its weight to the fleet via the two Robs – Rob Pitts and his Double Black crew and the newest owner, Rob Davis and his Nutcracker co-owner, Andy Baker.
Acting Australian Farr 40 association president Gordon Ketelbey says, “It’s going to be more rewarding for the amateur crews and those owners who might have previously found it depressing always being in the back half of the fleet.
“Six regattas are in the program, four host clubs are signed up and we have approval from the national body Australian Sailing to now race offshore in a controlled environment. Weekend series will now be made up of a day inshore and a day offshore, weather permitting, providing a wide range of conditions and learning opportunities.”
Class stalwarts Kokomo (Lang Walker), Estate Master (Martin Hill) and Jeff Carter (Edake) are returning for another season along with regulars Exile (Rob Reynolds) and Zen (Gordon Ketelbey). Joining them from Sandringham Yacht Club are the two Victorian owners, one fresh to Farr 40 one design racing.
Commodore of Sandringham Yacht Club Rob Davis and his boat partner Andy Baker have signed Nutcracker up to take on the dominant Sydney fleet. Eighteen months into owning what was Voodoo Chile, the pair say they are ready to line up with the best in the business though prospects are sensible.
“We have no expectations for Sydney other than we know it’s going to be a pretty big learning curve,” Davis acknowledged. “We’ve only competed in club races and have never racked up next to other Farr 40s other than Double Black; we’ll be happy to just get around the course.”
On the class Davis added, “In its purest form the Farr 40 is simply a lovely design and a pleasure to sail. It still offers the best true international one design racing in its size category and there is a terrific wealth of local knowledge and experience in Australia and excellent access to people, gear and information at a reasonable cost.”
Both Victorian teams will keep their boats in Sydney for the 2016/17 Farr 40 Australian Open Series that will play out on Sydney Harbour, Pittwater and for the first time off the port of Newcastle and within the harbour.
For the 2017/18 season there is talk of taking the fleet south and linking up with an established event like the Festival of Sails, to spread the program among the owners’ hometowns and be part of a bigger event with its atmosphere and race management logistics already in place.
The season about to commence includes a number of piggybacks onto existing events, namely the Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship in November and Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s second major event, the Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.
by Lisa Ratcliff