Another win to Martin Hill’s Estate Master at the blowy Sydney Harbour Regatta has firmed the Middle Harbour Yacht Club Farr 40 team as favourite for the coveted season-ending national title, named in honour of Australian class pioneer John Calvert-Jones.
Though not part of the summer pointscore, Estate Master came out of two days of big wind sailing on a busy harbour well-practised and ready for a spectrum of sailing modes.
“The biggest thing we took away from the weekend was heavy air sailing,” said David Chapman, Estate Master’s tactician for the 2016/17 season. “Saturday was the fastest I’ve been on a Farr 40 for a sustained period – 18.8 knots for at least two mins – and that was inside the harbour! Then we did a massive broach and put the rig in the water, which we also learnt from.
“We tried a few new things and pushed the boundaries, some things worked and some didn’t. Marty did a very good job of helming. He and I have sailed together a lot this season, on the Etchells and the Farr 40, and we are learning to read each other’s moves. Our team’s done the most sailing together this season though we know Kokomo (Lang Walker) and Angophora (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis) are well-seasoned and can be hard to beat, and Jeff Carter’s (Edake) always there,” Chapman added.
Hill and his Estate Master team constructed a dominant summer campaign, overpowering the combined Sydney/Melbourne one design fleet in all but the opening of MHYC One Design Trophy last October. That one went to Walker’s men who found form early then missed two key regattas.
It’s too far out to be reliable however the long range Sydney outlook shows the low pressure system that brought strong to gale force S-SW winds and dangerous surf conditions to the NSW coast moving east, and taking the breeze with it.
Up to four races are due to start at 1100hrs daily for the eight-boat fleet. On Friday and Sunday the national title line-up will race inshore with an offshore day planned for the Saturday, March 11.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Principal Race Officer Rob Ridley and his team will conduct the planned 12 race schedule.
Farr 40 John Calvert-Jones National Championship entries:
1. Angophora – Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (NSW)
2. Double Black – Rob Pitts (VIC)
3. Edake – Jeff Carter (NSW)
4. Estate Master – Martin Hill (NSW)
5. Exile – Rob Reynolds (NSW)
6. Kokomo – Lang Walker (NSW)
7. Nutcracker – Rob Davis and Andy Baker (VIC)
8. Zen – Gordon Ketelbey (NSW)
by Lisa Ratcliff