Gusty southerlies offshore on day one of the Farr 40 class’ Middle Harbour Yacht Club One Design Trophy turned the boats into a real handful and caused two retirements in the opening races.
“It was pretty ugly,” said class president Gordon Ketelbey back at MHYC inspecting Zen’s rigging after a broken vang forced them out of race two. “Looking at pictures of the top of the mast we’ve possibly got rig issues; I’m not sure if we’ll sail tomorrow.” Later Ketelbey confirmed Zen won’t be a starter on day two. Also one of his crew was sent for a precautionary check-up after a flying pin from the blown vang hit him.
Joe de Kock, skipper of the Newcastle based Good Form, finished up at Port Macquarie Private Hospital with a suspected broken ankle and rope burn from an incident in race one and a third Farr 40, Rob Davis and Andy Baker’s Nutcracker, dropped a crewman with a sore back ashore then headed back out for the third and final race of the day.
Two races were completed offshore in the Manly Circle in 16-18 knots gusting to 24, and a third inshore in similar wind strengths. Principal Race Office Phil Yeomans reported the sea state offshore was good and the breeze stayed pretty steady at 180 degrees; just that there was a fair bit of broken gear plus injuries. “It’s been a busy day,” the PRO surmised.
The tactician/strategist combination of David Chapman and Julian Plante that works so well on Leslie Green’s MC38 Ginger swapped to a mainsheet/tactician combo on Tom and Allan Quick’s Outlaw, and proved just as fruitful. Three wins chalked up and the newest owner with plenty of previous Farr 40 experience pulling the ropes leads the opening event of the summer-long series of three weekend regattas before the states and finally the 2018 national title next March.
“Tom drove and did a nice job at his second regatta; he’s getting the hang of it quickly,” said Plante as the crew tended to an engine issue. “It was definitely challenging today, we got away cleanly and went the right way but it wasn’t easy. It’s a pity there was some damage, and we didn’t escape either with our broken exhaust manifold. It’s one of those days everyone’s come home with a story or two.”
Speaking on their performance on day one of Outlaw’s debut points regatta, owner/driver Tom Quick said, “Today was an awesome hit out for us and really well run; the offshore races were a highlight. Every one of my crew did a phenomenal job and the fleet is just a great bunch of people.”
Second overall is Jeff Carter’s Edake and third is Rob Pitts’ Double Black, the second Melbourne boat.
Saturday afternoon’s dock party at MHYC is thanks to Double Black crewman Dean Van Teylingen and his business Ropeable. “This is our second season doing the Farr 40s with Double Black and it’s definitely worthwhile us coming up from Melbourne,” Van Teylingen said. “I’m happy to support a great class with some hospitality, and I’m always available to help with any running rigging needs.”
Racing is due to recommence at 1100hrs on Sunday October 22 on Sydney Harbour and the forecast is for light northerlies swinging to sou’easterlies and building slowly to double digits by late afternoon with a 40% chance of rain.
Whether the MHYC race management team can complete a set of four races will depend on the wind strength and steadiness in the face of cloud banks that tend to pull the breeze in different directions, making fair racing tricky.
by Lisa Ratcliff