Traditional sporting rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales will take to the water this weekend when three top crews from Sydney take on the best of Brisbane sailors in the Queensland championship for the Farr 40 class.
The Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored championship, to be sailed from Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, is the first in a series of regattas for the prestigious international one-design class this summer, with others to follow in Hobart and Sydney.
The Brisbane fleet of five Farr 40s will be joined by the prominent Sydney boats, Transfusion, Estate Master and Kokomo, whose owners have had them sailed and/or trucked them north especially for the Queensland titles.
The championships will be sailed on Moreton Bay on Saturday and Sunday with up to six windward/leeward races scheduled on a testing course east of St Helena Island.
RQYS regatta manager Carl Webster says the forecast breezes will be ideal for the Farr 40 class, with 11-15 knots forecast for racing on Saturday and fresher 15-18 knots for Sunday.
“We have four Farr 40s that regularly race with the club and they are looking forward to matching their skills against the strong interstate contingent.
While the Queenslanders will be racing on their home waters, the competition from the south will be exceptionally strong, headed by Transfusion, the 2011 world championship boat skippered by Sydney yachtsman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis.
Belgiono-Nettis, the newly elected president of the Australian Farr 50 Yacht Owners Association, defended his world title on Lake Michigan at Chicago recently, finishing a close third overall in this classic owner/driver class.
Estate Master will be skippered by former Middle Harbour Yacht Club commodore Martin Hill with Olympic bronze medallist Michael Blackburn as tactician.
The Kokomo team comes with vast international experience in the Farr 40 class, with the boat being trucked up the Pacific Highway this week to join Transfusion and Estate Master, which had been sailed north.
Owner/skipper Lang Walker has put together a top crew for the series with Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page as tactician. Walker returned to Farr 40 racing after a break of almost a year, competing in the recent worlds in Chicago, with Kokomo placing ninth overall.
Heading the Queensland team is Bribie Star, skippered by former Admiral’s Cup winning crew member and Yachting Queensland president Ken Down, from Mooloolaba.
Sailing with Ken will be his son Lucas, while another father and son combination will be the experienced Moreton Bay team of Howard and David Lambourne, sailing Lambourdini.
The Lambournes have been the outstanding team in Queensland Farr 40 racing over the past two seasons through the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and could have an advantage of local knowledge.
Other Queensland Farr 40s entered for this inaugural state championship include Bobby’s Girl (John Leman), Keel Train (Kevin Miller) and Cracklin’ Rosie (Matt Percy). -- Peter Campbell