Former world champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and his crew of Transfusion blasted through another day of strong winds on Brisbane's Moreton Bay today to win the inaugural Farr 40 Queensland state championship.
"We had three bullets and lost the second last race of the day to Kokomo by just half a metre," the delighted owner/skipper said as Transfusion headed back to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron late this afternoon. (The official margin was just one second!)
"It was a long and hard day on the water with a really strong sou'easter blowing at 20 to 25 knots, gusting to 27 knots, but we didn't put a foot wrong today," Belgiorno-Nettis said, referring to yesterday's spectacular capsize to windward in a 30 knot gust.
"We really had the boat going, hitting 14 to 15 knots…all very exciting," added the Sydney yachtsman who races out of Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron did an outstanding job in running four races today in the strong wind and short steep seaway east of St Helena Island. This completed the scheduled six race championship after racing had been cut to just two races on Saturday because of strong winds.
"The club management team put on a fabulous championship; everything spot on, ashore and afloat,"added Belgiorno-Nettis, the recently elected president of the Australian Farr 40 Owner's Association.
With no discard race out of the six, Transfusion finished with 8 points from four firsts and two seconds, well clear of fellow New South Wales boat Kokomo (Lang Walker) on 18 points.
Kokomo had to carry a disqualification from yesterday's race one after a late night hearing of a protest lodged by Estate Master (Martin Hill).
Estate Master claimed Kokomo had not given them sufficient room to gybe as they approached the finish line, resulting in Estate Master wrapping its spinnaker around the committee boat and ripping its mainsail. Estate Master was unable to start in race two.
The protest committee disqualified Kokomo, elevated Estate Master from third to second place and gave her average points for race two.
While this lifted Estate Master to second place and Transfusion to first place in overall standings, it was short lived; Estate Master slipped down the ladder with a sixth in today's race four of the championship.
Despite a 2-3-1-2 scorecard today, Kokomo could not close Transfusion's big points lead, finishing the series with 18 points and second place overall.
Estate Master finished the day with two thirds for an overall score of 20.5, closely pressed for third place by Mooloolaba yachtsman Ken Down, helming Bribie Star. The former international yachtsman finished with 25 points, his best result being second in race four.
Prominent RQYS member Howard Lambourne sailed Lambourdini into fifth place on 27 points.
However, there was no catching Transfusion in all but one of today's races, owner/helmsman Guido Belgiorno-Nettis showing the heavy weather steering skills that have given him a 2-1-3 score in three Farr 40 world championships.
He was full of praise for the skills of his crew in the Queensland championship. "We got clear of the fleet in most races today… David Chapman did a fine job as tactician…he is a talented young sailor," he said.
This inaugural Queensland championship will be followed by the Tasmanian championship on Hobart's River Derwent in early January with the owners of Transfusion, Kokomo and Estate Master all committing to bring their boats down for the regatta.
"These state championships will do a lot to invigorate the Farr 40 class in Queensland and Tasmania and, hopefully, see an increase in fleet size and competition," Belgiorno-Nettis said. "Then it's back to Sydney for the NSW state championship and the nationals for the John Calvert-Jones Cup." -- Peter Campbell
Overall results (top five):
1. Transfusion (Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, MHYC, NSW) 1-2-1-1-2-1, 8 points
2. Kokomo (Lang Walker, CYCA, NSW) 9dsq-1-2-3-1-2, 18 points
3. Estate Master (Martin Hill, MHYC, NSW) 2-3.5-3-6-3-3, 20.5 points
4. Bribie Star (Ken Down, RQYS, Qld) 6-3-5-2-5-4, 25 points
5. Lambourdini (Howard Lambourne, RQYS, Qld) 3-5-6-4-4-5, 27 points