2 February 2015
Winning formula nets Transfusion the Aberdeen Asset Management Victorian Farr 40 State Title
When it comes to repelling their Farr 40 classmates time and again, the defence mechanisms on Guido Belgiorno-Nettis' Transfusion are in place. Despite best efforts from Voodoo Chile and Kindergarten, the successful Sydney sailing team headed up by the Transfield Holdings managing director took out the class' first state title for the 2014-15 season.
Transfusion is beatable. In recent years Voodoo has done it, so has Estate Master and Kokomo. And all of these teams finished higher in the rankings at last year's Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.
Undeniably Belgiorno-Nettis, a multiple Australian class champion and world champion when the title came to Sydney in 2011, knows the winning formula. On Port Phillip he and his crew completed the 10 race Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 Victorian Title yesterday afternoon; consolidating the lead position they held from day one, Friday January 30, 2015 to finish seven points in the clear.
Andrew Hunn's Voodoo Chile from the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania wasn't able to reproduce Saturday's blinder and menace the clubhouse leader. Voodoo clinched second overall and third place went to Rod Jones' Kindergarten, sailing for both Mooloolaba and Middle Harbour yacht clubs with a mixed QLD/NSW crew.
Conditions on Port Phillip over the three-day title reminded Belgiorno-Nettis of Chicago, "Conditions were pretty much at the extreme end of the spectrum and it was great to see everyone hang in there and finish. The shallow water and long fetch with 6-8 foot waves made it very challenging to keep the boat moving. It was the same for everybody; we seemed to be able to keep our nose out in front to finish with a good score."
The winning skipper paid tribute to his tactician Katie Pellew-Spithill "who brought great energy and mojo and worked in well with Mike Leigh", the Canadian Olympic 470 who is Transfusion's part-time coach and strategist. He also acknowledged Will Mackenzie for the usual laughs and a couple of new younger fellas on board, including Matt Stenta, recently crowned Australian 13ft skiff champion.
"I want to congratulate Jeff Carter; he should be on top of the world after a couple of really good bullets today in planing conditions and 22-25 knots of wind," Belgiorno-Nettis continued post racing.
"Thanks to Sandringham Yacht Club for putting on a great event and for the use of their excellent facilities and to Brett Jollie and Aberdeen for supporting the class. Compliments also to the Melbourne boats, Rob Pitts with Double Black and the Richardson team from Local Mocean. Hopefully we can encourage them to come to Sydney for the March regattas."
One point off being named boat of the day on the final day of racing was Jeff Carter's Edake (MHYC). Smart decisions by tactician Evan Walker and a beefed-up effort by the one design crew to stay on the waves when running under kite in the building SSW breeze, plus the confidence they took from better results on the second day delivered two toots from the race management team to signal first Farr 40 over the line.
"It's not a bad result," said the humble owner/driver. "The sea-state was still lumpy but with a bit more distance between the waves. Steering-wise that meant we could get up and around them. We had some pretty good surfing conditions, the crew really had to work hard to stay on the wave and get up on the plane. In the final race we only led the last leg after we out-surfed Transfusion and Voodoo. We were pretty happy to beat those two guys downhill."
One negative for Carter was the temperature. What a Melbournian calls a mild summer's day a Sydney-sider considers frosty. "I'm over rover going south, this was my first time sailing on Port Phillip and I was reminded it's damn cold south of the border," he lamented.
Carter recognised season and class sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management and the high quality race management provided by SYC. To his one design compatriots he noted, "Not one protest was lodged in the whole series, everyone was pretty reasonable".
A change to the original calendar keeps the Farr 40 fleet in NSW for a One Design Trophy regatta hosted by MHYC at the Spit in Sydney, rather than the Tasmanian State Title planned for 27 February to 1 March. The stage two of three events will run over the same long weekend and remains a point earner towards final season tallies.
The Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron is hosting the Aberdeen Asset Management Farr 40 NSW State Title March 21-23 and the John Calvert-Jones Trophy National Championship, scheduled for March 25-28, caps off the season.
Check out this excellent video recap of the event - Aberdeen Asset Management 2014/15 FARR 40 Victorian State Title Summary