Day one of the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds at Long Beach, California, was one of mixed fortunes for Martin Hill’s Estate Master; the lone Australian crew found themselves in seventh place overall, an OCS and a second place at odds with each other.
Four races were held in typical Californian weather. Racing was postponed for half an hour while officials waited until the breeze filled in and steadied. The day started out on flat water and a light six knots, building as the day wore on.
Estate Master finished down in 10th in Race one. Martin Hill explained: “The locals always go right, but we thought there was more breeze on the left, as did Plenty (defending world champion), Enfante Terrible (2013 world champion) and Flash Gordon. It was not a good decision by us, it was a shaky start.”
Race two rolled around and the breeze had increased by a couple of knots, with Estate Master finishing eighth.
“I think we covered more ground than anyone in that race, just getting ourselves back up to eighth,” Hill commented wryly.
In Race three, the breeze had built to nine – eleven knots, but in was inconsequential to Estate Master, as she was scored OCS.
“We can’t afford mistakes in this fleet at the Worlds, but we had to put it behind us,” Hill commented as they headed to the last race of the day.
By Race four, the Australians felt at home when the usually flat seas became choppy as the wind strength increased to 12-16 knots. Hill and his crew, including five-time match racing world champion Ian Williams on tactics, fought back to finish second.
“We were happy – even Twirler (Darren Jones) was smiling. It was good to finish off that way,” Hill said.
Estate Master’s results leave her in seventh place overall on 20 points, but there are many protests pending. None involve the Australians, but among those who could be affected are the leader, Flash Gordon 6 (Helmut Jahn, USA) and third placed Nightshift (Kevin McNeil, USA).
“It wasn’t the best start for us, but I have my heart in winning the Worlds,” Hill said. “The boat and the people can do it.
“We recovered in the last race; we have to look forward now. Enfante Terrible (Alberto Rossi, ITA) had a shocker too and are five points behind us. And as we all know, things can change dramatically in sailing, so we are staying positive.”
Pre-protests, Flash Gordon 6 leads on nine points, with Plenty (Alex Roeper, USA) in second place on 11 points and Nightshift is third on 12 points, leaving Estate Master eight points behind the top three.
Racing continues at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds tomorrow and ends on Sunday. A maximum 11 races are scheduled for the series and racing is due to commence shortly after midday each day.
Since the inception of the Farr 40 Worlds in 1998, only three Australian yachts have won. John Calvert Jones (Southern Star) won at Rhode Island in 2000, while Richard Perini (Evolution) in 2005 and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (Transfusion) in 2011 won on home soil off Sydney.
Estate Master is one of 17 boats from six nations entered for the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds and Pre-Worlds which are being hosted by the Long Beach Yacht Club.
by Di Pearson