Owner Profile: Transfusion owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, two-time Australian Farr 40 Class Champion and second overall at the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, sets the record straight on success, crew work and racing.
Farr 40 News: As the Australian Champion for the past two seasons, perhaps you can summarize your success and thoughts on the competition?
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: I had to compete overseas to properly register that the Australian fleet provides a very high level of competition. Our first international regatta at Porto Cervo last year with 25 boats on the start line was an eye opener for us compared to the 6 to 8 boats we have lined up against in Australia. Yet we stayed calm and got on with our job. We finished eighth overall – a good result considering we were looking to finish in the top 10. I suppose a major reason for our success is that the core part of our crew has sailed together for a few years. We have been honed with a short coaching session leading up to the 2009 worlds. This really helped us get the discipline and mechanics really working on the boat. The last ingredient is a tactician who takes risks and gets us back in the pack if we goof off every now and then!
Farr 40 News: My congratulations to you for your second place finish at the 2010 Worlds. Can you tell us, perhaps, what was the highlight of the racing for you? Or was there a point during the regatta that stands out?
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: I think the highlight was just coming out in the first day and dominating. We surprised ourselves, but I suspect we surprised the fleet as we were dead last in the Pre Worlds! Then the next best thing was staying in front for three days to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. It was a very shifty course and we take our hats off to the Nerone team for seeing the crack in our strategy in the second last race and just sailing better than us to pip us at the post in the last race. That was a low point after being dominant until that stage in the regatta, but on reflection a really important lesson for all of us - protecting ones lead is just critical. We were very, very happy to be sandwiched in second by two previous Worlds winners, Nerone who took the regatta and 2009 winner Barking Mad who came third!
Farr 40 News: Please talk about your crew.
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: The crew are generally all young guys just keen to be on the boat. We have a really good dynamic and love to be out there together. We are a never-give-up team. We will fight until the last breath and this is the attitude that helps us stay at the top end of the fleets. Bob Wilmot, who runs our program, is always happier to have younger guys on board as they are often keener to learn and have a huge amount of energy. It keeps me young as well!
Farr 40 News: Can you tell us what Tom Slingsby brings to the boat, as the tactician? What is your relationship like on the boat?
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: Tom has been great to work with, but we always joke that as he has sailed so long on a Laser he never has to talk to anyone but himself! We have to remind him to let us know what he is thinking otherwise we just hear nothing from the end of the boat. It’s not that bad, but you get my drift. Tom is ultra-competitive and really takes it hard if he stuffs up; he can be volatile, but not as volatile as Vasco Vascotto by all reports!
Farr 40 News: You have had a pretty quick rise to the top of the Class. To what do you attribute this?
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: I think all of us on this boat just love to learn and get better. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet and we keep realizing there is so much to learn so we consider that there is still a long way to go. I think this attitude is the key in continually improving.
Farr 40 News: I’d like to know if you can speak on the Class and what your thoughts are with the Worlds coming to your home waters in 2011?
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: It is going to be a great honor for Australian to host next year’s Worlds in Sydney. It will put a lot of pressure on the local fleet, but what an opportunity for all of us local guys to see what we can do.
Farr 40 News: In addition to racing your Farr 40, what do you do for fun?
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis: I have a 50-foot cruising boat that my wife and I love to hang out on anytime of the year when the weather is good. We certainly are fair-weather sailors! I also race historic cars two or three time a year. I have a 1985 turbo charged Formula One and currently hold the historic outright lap record at one of the circuits I race on. The Farr 40 seems like a walk in the park compared to carbon fiber and metal monster my F1 is when it is at its limits!