The skipper of Estate Master Martin Hill and his tactician David Chapman used their big swell experience in a different class to their advantage on the opening day of the Farr 40 Newcastle One Design Trophy.
Seas on day two of last weekend’s Etchells Australian championship sailed off Palm Beach finished up so big racing was called off not long after the start of race four. This morning off Newcastle Harbour in 15 knot southerly winds and an uncomfortable 3m southerly swell, Estate Master and six other Farr 40s launched off waves and surfed downwind in four windward/leeward races conducted by race officer Ted Anderson.
A scorecard of three firsts and a fourth has Estate Master leading the pack by three points.
“Team Estate Master is very happy,” Hill said back at the host Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. “Last weekend I did the Etchells nationals off Palm Beach and there’s no substitute for a bit of pre-sailing in bumpy conditions. While we scored three firsts, our fourth shows if you make a few mistakes you pay for it. The boats are virtually equal in speed, it’s how you start and execute.”
Second overall, Jeff Carter’s Edake, only made it to the Newcastle series thanks to another Farr 40 owner, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, who loaned his boat so the full fleet could compete.
“It’s our first outing on a borrowed boat so I suppose second is a good result. Downwind this 40 is a rocket ship, most of our gains today were downhill not uphill which is what we are used to. We just need to get the rig tuned right for our sails. I’d like to thank Guido who gratuitously lent us his boat. The fleet is very pleased to have an extra competitor.”
On the conditions Carter added, “With the waves it was very important to work hard on the weight movement – we came in to a mark on a wave doing 14 knots of speed in 14 knots of pressure. There was a bit of surfing out there.”
“Operator error” caused Edake to be late to the first start as the crew grappled to tune Belgiorno-Nettis’ rig to the sails Carter brought across from his boat. From then on the skipper says their starts were bang on.
Two Rio 2016 medallists, Tom Burton and Will Ryan, are among the Farr 40 crews. Burton, the Laser gold medallist, is racing on Rob Reynolds’ Exile, currently third in the standings, and 470 silver medallist Ryan is tactician on Sam Hill’s Forty.
Watching the racing despite the poor sea state was Ryan’s grandfather, a Novocastrian and founding member of Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club. “He’s 88 years old and was watching the racing today on an Olsen 44 that I went out on at two days old on Sydney Harbour,” Ryan recalled. “After racing this afternoon he dropped in to the club and had a beer with the guys. He sailed with us when we did another Farr 40 event up this way around four years ago.”
The Australian Farr 40 class thanks Andrew Henderson and Rod Griffiths for taking the photographer and class administrator out today in their Riviera 48 in very difficult conditions, and NCYC for the warm hospitality extended so far.
Another four races are earmarked for Sunday January 22, the first due to begin at 1000hrs. Hunter waters can expect south-easterly winds 10-15 knots and a 2-3m southerly swell before winds turn north-easterly in the afternoon.
by Lisa Ratcliff