March 12 - 18, 2017: Issue 304

Farr 40 2016/17 John Calvert-Jones National Championship hosted by Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron: Estate Manager Crowned Australian Champion 2017

Estate Master Australian Champions 2017- photo by Crosbie Lorimer

Estate Master the favourite for Farr 40 season-ending national title 

7 March 2017
Event: Farr 40 2016/17 John Calvert-Jones National Championship March 10-12, 2017 hosted by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron with racing offshore on Saturday and in Sydney Harbour on the Friday and Sunday

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 & Andy Baker (VIC)
8. Zen – Gordon Ketelbey (NSW)

The 2016/17 Farr 40 Australian series is proudly sponsored by;

Instagram @Farr40_Australia  Facebook Website

By Lisa Ratcliff/Australian Farr 40 media
F40Nationals 2017 Day 1 - big swell on Sydney Harbour - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
F40Nationals 2017 three wins to Angophora on day 1 - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer

Angophora blitzes Farr 40 nationals opening day 

10 March 2017

Four races into the Farr 40s’ John Calvert-Jones National Championship on Sydney Harbour and an almighty tug-of-war is on between last season’s all-conquering team and the current season front-runner.

Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Angophora and Martin Hill’s Estate Master are three points apart after the opening day in southerly winds that averaged 17 knots. Angophora posted scores of 1,1,3,1 and Estate Master 2,2,2,3.

“We have a lot of experience on the boat but we’ve only raced together at the states and we weren’t sure how it would come together,” Belgiorno-Nettis said. “Overall I think we made less mistakes and the boat seemed to be fast, thanks largely to my steadfast trimmers Bob Wilmot and Sam Williams who I’ve sailed with for 10 years now.”

A blend of schmick crew work and Julian Plante calling clever tactics for Belgiorno-Nettis has them at the pointy end, but Hill’s equally credentialed Estate Master crew and tactician David Chapman are well in touch and have the better part of the 12 race series to overturn the current order.

Third is Lang Walker’s Kokomo with Queensland North Sails’ Mark Bradford the tactician. Walker skippered his boat at last month’s NSW State Title and missed the rest of the season though his boat still raced on occasion. “Today we chipped off a little bit of rust and it all started to work well,” he said. “We got around the four races but it was pretty tricky, 30 degree wind shifts and very strong current inside the harbour.”

On his return to the fleet and jetlag having flown into Sydney last night from a business trip Walker added, “It’s good to be back. Sailing today probably wasn’t the right thing to do but at least I’ll sleep well tonight.”

PRO Rob Ridley initially set up south of the Sow & Pigs reef then when the breeze swung from south-west to the south he shifted track to Chowder Bay on the western harbour shoreline for races two, three and four.

During race one the fleet felt the effects of a residual swell from a low pressure system that brought high winds and powerful surf conditions to Sydney last weekend and has been slowly moving south-east since. “It was amazing to see the swell in the harbour when we started. I’ve never sailed on that course in that size swell,” Belgiorno-Nettis added.

The eight-boat fleet is slated to race offshore tomorrow, a decision that will be made in the morning when the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s race committee looks at whether the swell settled down overnight. “Technically tomorrow is the offshore day. We owe it to these guys to make up our minds in the morning and give them every opportunity,” Ridley said.

The forecast for Saturday March 11 is partly cloudy with south-westerly winds below 10 knots before dawn then becoming variable SE-E 8-10 knots before a weak high pressure ridge turns the breeze around to the north on Sunday.

The 2016/17 Farr 40 Australian series is proudly sponsored by;

Instagram @Farr40_Australia  Facebook Website

By Lisa Ratcliff/Australian Farr 40 media
F40Nationals 2017 top mark in good breeze day 1 - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
F40Nationanls 2017 Lang Waker's Kokomo day 1 - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer

Mastering big swell off Manly – Estate Master new Farr 40 leader

11 March 2017
The John Calvert-Jones National Championship has a new pointscore leader in Martin Hill’s Estate Master, which is now controlling the national title having shaken off their first day nerves over three races sailed in view of Sydney’s iconic Manly surf beach on day two.

“It was really wild out there,” said Hill of Saturday’s remnant swell from the week’s big seas. “Steering downwind was very very tough - the waves were running faster than the boat and there wasn’t enough breeze to catch them up. It was still magnificent offshore and lovely to see the sunshine in Sydney for a change. It was a very exciting day, tonight it’s early to bed and it’s all on tomorrow!”

Estate Master leads Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Angophora by two points. A very deliberate plan to keep Belgiorno-Nettis close in the final race, then get inside him and push Angophora out in a port/starboard worked a treat. “We had a good tussle with Guido and he being the sportsman he is congratulated us after racing, then reminded us it’s all on again tomorrow.

Estate Master -  photo by Crosbie Lorimer

“Three different winners out there – Estate Master, Zen and Edake - and Zen going from winning a race to last in the next shows how quickly things can change in this fleet,” Hill added. He suggested some loud motivational music playing “some modern stuff plus some Rolling Stones” on the way to the Manly Circle racetrack might have tightened-up the crew work. 

Boat of the day with scores of 4,2,2 and third overall, three points off second, is Lang Walker’s Kokomo.

Gordon Ketelbey’s topsy-turvy results mirrored the sea state off Manly.  Zen posted a win in race five and followed it up with two shockers. “We are calling it a one-third day,” Ketelbey said. “We were absolutely brilliant for the first race and shocking for the second and third. We went the wrong way after getting pushed out. Once you start back, you don’t dictate, you go where the other boats send you. Lumpy seas made it hard to steer and right now South Head reef is breaking. There’s still a lot left over from the low pressure system,” the class president said.

The Australian championship is the final event of the season and today Ketelbey paid tribute to the key organiser. “Our class secretary Jennie Hughes has been superb. She’s a very organised and social person who gees up the owner’s group and gets them sailing. I really think if we didn’t have her the fleet would be smaller. Everyone’s enjoyed another terrific season.”

Three races were sailed in SW to SE breeze 10-12 knots on the Manly Circle thanks to the host Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s race committee headed up by Rob Ridley.

The forecast for the final day of racing, Sunday March 12, is north-easterly winds 10-15 knots in the middle of the day increasing to 15-25 knots in the late afternoon. Four final races are scheduled to begin at 1100hrs in Sydney Harbour.

Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion, renamed Angophora for his brief return to the one design fleet this season, began winning major Farr 40 trophies in 2009. Over seven years they’ve amassed an extraordinary six Australian championships, a class dominance Hill’s team is keen to halt tomorrow. 

Alan and Tom Quick, the father and son combination who have bought Angophora joined in Friday’s dock party and cocktail party to meet the other Farr 40 owners and crews.  “Given this regatta will be Guido’s last with the boat, his contribution to the success of the class over the last nine or more years is definitely worth noting,” Tom Quick said. 

The 2016/17 Farr 40 Australian series is proudly sponsored by;

Instagram @Farr40_Australia  Facebook Website

By Lisa Ratcliff/Australian Farr 40 media
Zen in the Manly Circle swell - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
Nutcracker and Double Black day 2 Farr 40 Nationals - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer

Estate Master crowned Farr 40 Australian Champion; a decade for Hill to reach the peak 

12 March 2017
A practiced team with many seasons behind them mixed with fierce ambition, and a quick recovery from what could have cost them the main trophy, delivered Martin Hill’s Estate Master the Farr 40 John Calvert-Jones National Championship on Sydney Harbour by three points.

“We had a six point lead going into the last race and on form we thought that was a comfortable margin to have, but on the very first beat we heard a clunk and someone said  ‘the genoa’s coming down’,” Hill described. “It was the worst case scenario; we moved into last. The guys were excellent; they changed the halyard and we were sixth around the final top mark and ended up fourth in that race.

“We showed today why we are national champions. We won all three regattas beforehand and we had the form. It wasn’t easy, Angophora was right on our tail, they had similar speed and great tactics and we were both mixed up in tacking duels and gybing duels all series.

“The broken halyard was our test. The final result is usually determined on the last leg in Farr 40 racing and that’s how it ended today. We are happy. I’ve been in the class 10 years and have two state titles but never a nationals. It’s very pleasing to get our name on the trophy,” the emotional and relieved skipper added. 

In their final regatta now the boat has been sold, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Angophora crew threw the lot at Estate Master, but it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the latter’s season-long dominance and quest to finally claim the class’ revered Australian title.  

Though he would have relished a seventh Australian title as his parting gift, Belgiorno-Nettis said, “Estate Master has sailed well all season and put pressure on us the whole time. Congratulations to Martin and Chappo (David Chapman). 

“My ten years in the class has been an extraordinary journey. We won six Australian titles and the places in the world I’ve travelled with my crew….the Dominican Republic, Newport RI, San Francisco…. all those great waterways you wouldn’t get to sail on otherwise. And to sail against the best in the world, and have them on board – Tom Slingsby, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, and John Kostecki – has been a privilege.

“I really have to thank my crew, in particular the originals Bob Wilmot, Sam Williams and Pete Sheldrick. I haven’t quite given up, I still have a set of sails and I might come back with a chartered boat. They are a pretty sweet little ride.”

Third overall was Lang Walker’s Kokomo and first Corinthian team was Jeff Carter’s Edake. 

“We are always in the transition between the pro boats and the Corinthian boats, which are all improving rapidly as they learn how to get that last one percent,” Carter said. “They shouldn’t give up, it takes a long time. I’ve been at it for 11 years and had my time at the back of the fleet. Putting together the whole program, working it yourself, it’s almost harder being Corinthian as you have limitations on sails and sailors. 

“I thought Zen winning two series races was excellent for Gordon (Ketelbey), who’s only had two full seasons in the class, and Double Black was extremely fast in the heavy airs. This is a tough class. There are no favours handed out to get in the top three,” Carter added.

Following  a fortnight of southerlies in Sydney, the eight-boat Farr 40 fleet and all the other classes and recreational boaties out on the harbour enjoyed a welcome late blast of summer – warm temperatures and a classic north to nor’easter up to 19 knots by mid-afternoon.

At the final trophy presentation Farr 40 Australian president Gordon Ketelbey said, “Today the class says farewell to Guido. He’s been a stalwart, though we all expect him to get tired of his Melges 20 and come and sail on a real boat again,” he teased.

The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron has been the home of the Farr 40’s season pinnacle event for many years and PRO Rod Ridley and his team ran another successful schedule both inshore and offshore.

Final results John Calvert-Jones National Trophy 2017

POS         Pts           Name                    R1           R2           R3           R4           R5           R6          R7           R8           R9         R10         R11
1              25.0        Estate Master        3.0          2.0            2.0          2.0          2.0          1.0          6.0          1.0          1.0          1.0          4.0
2              28.0        Angophora             1.0          3.0            1.0          1.0          3.0          3.0          7.0          3.0          2.0          3.0          1.0
3              39.0        Kokomo                  2.0           5.0           4.0          3.0          4.0          2.0          2.0          4.0          3.0          5.0          5.0
4              46.0        Edake                     6.0          4.0            3.0          4.0          7.0          4.0          1.0          6.0          4.0          4.0          3.0
5              52.0        Double Black         5.0          6.0            5.0          6.0          8.0          6.0          4.0          2.0          6.0          2.0          2.0
6              63.0        Zen                          4.0          1.0            6.0          5.0          1.0          7.0          8.0          8.0          8.0          7.0          8.0
7              68.0        Nutcracker             7.0          7.0             7.0          8.0          5.0          8.0          4.0          5.0          5.0          6.0          6.0
8              75.0        Exile                       8.0          8.0             8.0          7.0          6.0          5.0          4.0          7.0          7.0          8.0          7.0

The 2016/17 Farr 40 Australian series is proudly sponsored by;

Instagram @Farr40_Australia  Facebook Website

By Lisa Ratcliff/Australian Farr 40 media
Hiking on Estate Master on day 3 JCJ National Trophy - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
                                                                                              Angophora runner-up - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
                                                                   Jeff Carter's Edake Corinthian Australian Champions - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
                                                                                               Zen & F40 fleet downwind - Photo by Crosbie Lorimer
Farr 40 John Calvert-Jones National Championship 2017 Reports by Lisa Ratcliff- Photos by Crosbie Lorimer, 2017