World Champion Arrives in Fine Form at Rolex Trophy Series

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    Massimo Mezzaroma’s Farr 40 world champion Nerone (ITA) gave the rest of the fleet a lesson in sailing on the opening day of the Rolex Trophy One-Design Series in Sydney today, the only yacht to sail consistently and start their campaign with a five point buffer over World’s runner-up, Transfusion, after two races.

    Maybe the light and shifty conditions similar to those the Mediterranean provides suited the Italian yacht and its tactician, Vasco Vascotto, who helped his team to a second and a win.

    “It was quite crazy actually – it was hard for tacticians – one of those days it would have been better to have another job,” Vascotto said laughing. He conceded that: “while we are very happy, the Championship has a long way to go and all the boats here are very good. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?”

    The Italian said they were a bit lucky in Race 2. “We saw breeze on the right and we went there; it was the right way to go. We came to Sydney to learn (for the World’s) and I’m glad we did. We’re finding it can be a very tricky place to sail.”

    Next best in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia series were two Australian entries. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ (Transfusion) and Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master finished the day on equal eight points after both scored third and fifth places. Transfusion leads on countback having scored third place in Race 1. Their long-living battle continues.

    Brett Neill and his White Cloud crew from New Zealand opened their account well to win Race 1, but like others who had opportunities, fell down the leaderboard in Race 2 to ninth to end the day in fourth place overall.

    Even three-time Farr 40 World Champion, Jim Richardson and his Barking Mad (USA) team were thrown for a loop, eighth and fourth places have left them sixth overall.

    Racing started over one and a half hours late on the Macquarie Circle, as Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson waited for the nor-easter to fill in. It came in at 5-7 knots, allowing racing to finally start at 12.40pm.

    Thompson described the breeze as challenging. “It was a really weird breeze; a nor-east offshore was fighting a north-westerly in the Harbour. The breeze swung between 005 and 025. There were big holes in the course and sometimes the breeze was left, sometimes it was right.

    “The boats that went left were dumped when the breeze swung around to the right and they had no hope of catching up, but the race finished in a nice 10 knot nor-easterly,” he said.

    Race 3 was started in even more difficult conditions of a meagre 4 knots. “It went really soft and we had to abandon. Very unusual conditions for the Macquarie Circle at this time of year,” Thompson maintained.

    As the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds to take place off Sydney in February, performance at the three-day Rolex Trophy One-Design could prove critical.

    Racing continues today with a further three races planned, should the weather play ball. South-westerly winds of 10-20 knots are forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology. Should the prediction prove correct, there could be change in results.