8 December 2010
Top fleet ready to face up to the Rolex Trophy Series
Sailing enthusiasts will be treated to spectacular racing when a world-class fleet lines up for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Trophy One-Design Series off Sydney from 10-12 December.
This usually eye-catching event is sure to draw even more interest as all the Farr 40’s taking part will be in tune-up mode for the 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in February, also taking place off Sydney.
At the top of the list is reigning world and European champion, Nerone, an Italian yacht owned by Massimo Mezzaroma, who also won the Worlds in 2003. Another highly credentialed international is American Jim Richardson (Barking Mad), who won the World’s in 1998, 2004, 2009.
Nerone and Barking Mad went head-to-head for the 2009 World and 2010 European titles. Australia’s Transfusion (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis) came between the two at the 2010 World’s, leaving Barking Mad third overall. A tough hombre, Richardson has netted a handful of minor placings to add to his wins over the years.
Brett Neill’s White Cloud from New Zealand rounds out the international list. He and the crew regularly make the trip across the ditch to Australia to familiarise themselves with the Aussie fleet and the local conditions.
Neill realised the benefit of all their travels after finishing second in the SSORC series in late November to fellow Rolex Trophy One-Design competitor, Lang Walker (Kokomo). Walker backed up with a win in the Farr 40 Sprint Series early this month, showing a well-prepared crew.
The Aussies will be out in force. Top of the pile is Estate Master (Martin and Lisa Hill) and Transfusion. The latter finished second at the 2010 Worlds to Estate Master’s fourth, but results have see-sawed back and forth at Australian events, including the Hills’ win of this event last year, with Kokomo second and Transfusion third.
Easy Tiger II (Chris Way), Twin Edake (Jeff Carter), Sputnik (Ivan Wheen), Enigma (David Gotze) and Voodoo Chile (Andrew Hunn) make up the rest of the Australian field, and each has had its moment in the sun.
Crew and crew work will play a vital role in deciding the winner and teams will need to be at their best every day. Local knowledge will make the Aussies feel a little more comfortable, while patience, nerve and fitness could make the difference.
Owners have topped up their crews with some of the hottest names in sailing. On Estate Master alone there are three Australian Olympians; reigning world champions Malcolm Page (470) and Tom Slingsby (Laser) and former double world champion Nathan Outteridge (49er), while Transfusion has Olympian Bobby Wilmot.
Challenging conditions off Sydney Heads; prevailing big nor’ easters with some southerly busters thrown in, lumpy seas, short sharp chop, shifty breezes that can go from light and flukey to lusty and gusty - and the pressures of one-design sailing at its best are like being in a pressure cooker.
The Rolex Trophy One Design nine-race windward/leeward series commences from 11.00am from Friday 10 December to Sunday 12 December.
Results, reports and images will be published daily at http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=821
9 December 2010
Italy versus Australia take two
The wind gods off Sydney Heads played cruel games today with the Farr 40 fleet contesting the Rolex Trophy waiting an hour and a half for their first start.
Eleven teams from Australia, Italy, New Zealand and the USA are taking part in the three day event weekend event and utilising the time on the water in preparation for the upcoming Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in February 2011.********
The fleet drifted on the Macquarie Circle course area off South Head on a glassed out ocean under a postponement flag for more than an hour while the race committee waited for a very light northerly breeze to increase to five knots so they could start the first race.
“The wind has been all over the place, it’s been the luck of the draw”, commented principal race officer Denis Thompson.
The international teams have shown they are here to win with the first two races of the day being won by overseas boats. New Zealander Brett Neill’s White Cloud took the bullet in race one and the current Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Italian team of Nerone (Massimo Mezzaroma) took the gun in race two.********
After what was a very challenging day, the top two teams, Nerone and Australian Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion, have a sense of déjà vu after finishing in the same order in April when they last raced against each other at the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds.****
The third race of the day was abandoned after the start due to the uncooperative breeze outside Sydney Heads.
Results, reports and images will be published daily at http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=821
9 December 2010
World champion arrives in fine form at Rolex Trophy Series
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 tomorrow 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.
Full results at: https://www.topyachtsoftware.com/db/...ID=92&key=4965
10 December 2010
Red, white and green continues to reign
The polished “out of towners” Nerone gave the local fleet a lesson in racing off Sydney Heads today when they continued their world champion form, winning all of today’s four Rolex Trophy Series races and awarding themselves a seemingly unbeatable lead.
The Farr 40 fleet had a half hour delay this morning before commencing their second day of racing in a beautiful 10 knot nor’easter on a smooth sea on the Macquarie Circle off South Head. A visiting pod of dolphins completed the postcard scene.
Conditions improved dramatically from yesterday to provide a new canvas for the Italian team to paint a very clear picture, and they repeated day one’s final score.
Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master improved from their first day’s results to finish second overall after six races with the New Zealanders on White Cloud keeping in touch and rounding out the overall pointscore podium.
Red flags seemed the order of the day with the penalty flags being displayed by a number of boats whose crews felt they had been infringed.
The fleet tested the race committee on a number of start lines resulting in the general recall flag being hoisted for three starts, and then Estate Master was given an individual recall in the last race of the day.
The course was shortened in the final race which tightened the fleet up. “Everyone’s sailing has improved over the course of the day’s racing and the quality is of a very high standard”, commented PRO Denis Thompson.
Up to three races will be sailed tomorrow to wrap up the series.
11 December 2010
Nerone invincible in Rolex Trophy Series
Reeling off four wins from four races, Nerone from Italy has proved herself a class above the rest in the Rolex Trophy One-Design Series being sailed in Sydney today; Massimo Mezzaroma’s world champion taking a commanding 18 point lead after scoring a second place and a win yesterday.
Having won five of the six races sailed so far, the Italian boat is whipping the other 10 entries, leaving crews to lick their wounds, fight over the crumbs and wonder what it is they can do to combat the onslaught. It is a wake-up call looking forward to the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds to be held on the same waters in February.
By definition, Nerone is an opera in four acts, composed in Italian, by an Italian. The Rolex Trophy is in its second day – or its second act – and is being controlled by the Italian boat of that name with an Italian crew.
To score so many wins in a hot one-design class is mind boggling, and Nerone’s tactician, Vasco Vascotto’s words tumbled out of his mouth, such was his obvious shock of their huge lead.
“It’s almost unbelievable – it just doesn’t happen in Farr 40s – it’s almost confusing, it’s amazing,” the exuberant tactician said.
“Yesterday I said we were a bit lucky, today I say our driver (Antonio Sodo Migliori) drove fantastic. I told him to go for a pin start in two races; he did, and we won. In the other two, I told him to go to the boat end and to leave some space. He did exactly that. He made my job very easy.”
Questioned on why they were a cut above the rest, Vascotto responded: “We are very fast. We knew that when we won the World’s, but we also take care of all the little details properly.”
On feeling secure in their position with the World’s coming up, Vascotto said, “I am really worried. It’s strange to win like this, but I feel proud to be a tactician alongside people like Tom Slingsby (three time Laser world champion and Etchells world champion aboard Estate Master) and Adrian Stead (a British sailor aboard Kokomo whose resume spans Olympic Games , America’s Cups and ocean racing).
“Those guys must be upset for sure and will have a lot thinking to do between now and the Worlds.”
Afraid he’d upset with his comment about the Aussies, Vascotto threw a little bone. “You know Antonio (co-owner of Nerone) is part Australian – he spends a lot of time here – it can be said there is Australian influence on our boat!”
Organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, PRO Denis Thompson took advantage of 7-12 knot shifty north-easterlies to fire off four races in succession on the Macquarie Circle to catch up the race schedule, after delaying racing until 11.30am when the breeze had time to settle in.
Thompson, who described the wind as “wobbly”, said: “There were shifts all day and it shifted in each start of the four races.”
From his prospective on the start boat, Thompson commented on the racing, and in particular, Nerone’s efforts: “Nerone didn’t lead every race all the way. It’s not as simple as it looks on the results, but they are very good at starting, picking where they want to go and sailing in clear air.
“The racing is actually quite close, it’s just that Nerone is doing all the right things all of the time. The Kiwis (Brett Neill’s White Cloud) and Voodoo Chile have improved markedly, but everyone except Nerone is having their ups and downs.”
Not even defending champions Martin and Lisa Hill with their boatload of world champion Olympians have been able to overcome the Italian machine, but a pair of second places today has kept them in second place overall, in what is a close series behind Nerone.
“They are just a cut above the rest; they’re fast, getting great starts and are smooth on all corners;” Malcolm Page from Estate Master said tonight.
On what they need to do get up to scratch, Page, the Beijing 470 gold medallist and reigning world champion replied: “We have to do a little bit of a lot of things - polish things like trimming and crew work – just keep chipping away at it. We have to stay focussed and pull it all together.”
Page conceded that beating Nerone this weekend was not on anyone’s cards. “They’re just too good; I can’t see any of the teams beating them this week.”
Only eight points separates second to sixth places, with White Cloud in third place overall, with Lang Walker’s Kokomo and Andrew Hunn’s Voodoo Chile right behind them.
In racing of this calibre there were always going to be protests and at the time of writing there were three; Twin Edake, Transfusion and Easy Tiger. It was not known who the protests were against or the incidents that provoked them, but while others will be relaxing back at the CYCA, the ‘night sailors’ will be sitting it out in a protest room.
Only one day and three races remain in the Rolex Trophy One-Design Series and according to the forecast, the fleet of 11 can expect more of today’s conditions.