World champion in the Mumm 30 class, Sydney yachtsman Richard Perini, again underlined his prospects of achieving a unique double in international yacht racing when he scored a first and a third on frustrating opening day for the Farr 40 One Design class in the prestigious Rolex Trophy.
Perini, a member of the host Cruising Yacht of Australia, has his sights set on winning the 2005 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, to be conducted by the CYCA off Sydney in March next year.
Today he sailed Evolution to a hard-fought win on a day that saw the start of the first race delayed for more than two and a half hours because of fickle winds off Sydney Heads.
Two general recalls for the second race further delayed things and instead of four scheduled short races, only two were sailed as a severe storm loomed up the coast. The same happened in the Sydney 38 One Design class, except that they had three general recalls before race two finally got under way.
Evolution won the opening race of the Farr 40s from Australian class stalwart, Marcus Blackmore sailing Emotional Hooligan and early leader Belle Property skippered by Chris Meehan with a crew of youthful dinghy sailors.
In the second race, American World Farr 40 OD champion Jim Richardson led virtually all the way in Barking Mad, with Evolution a close second, followed by CYCA director Matt Allen at the helm of Ichi Ban.
Provisionally, Evolution leads the pointscore with 3 points from Belle Property (3-5) on 8 points, followed by Barking Mad (9-1) on 10 points, with John Calvet-Jones' Southern Star (6-7) and Matt Allen's Ichi Ban (10-3) equal on 13 points.
Race watchers described the day as one where 'tide and light winds be-deviled both officials and competitors.'
Throughout the day, the wind remained light and shifty, with boats struggling against a fast running southerly current as they beat to windward, but enjoying fast downwind sailing under spinnaker.
The three international entrants, War Path, Morning Glory (Hasso Plattner) from Germany and current World Farr 40 OD champion Jim Richardson in Barking Mad each had a mediocre race. War Path finished third last, Morning Glory (with America's Cup winning skipper Russell Coutts as tactician) placed seventh, while Barking Mad was back in ninth place.
In the second race, Barking Mad got an excellent start at the third attempt by the Race Committee and virtually led all the way to win from Evolution and Ichi Ban, followed by Team Shockwave, with super maxi yacht owner Neville Crichton at the helm.
A Sydney 38 dilemma - when out in front, know the course!
Middle Harbour Yacht Club member Peter McNamara will clearly remember today's opening race for the Sydney 38 One Design class in the prestigious Rolex Trophy - a race he should have won but lost at the finish line.
McNamara had sailed an excellent race in AMI Jade to always be up with the leaders and had a seemingly winning lead coming down under spinnaker to the finish, but sailed on the wrong side of the buoy marking the pin end of the line.
Realising their error too late, the crew had to hoist and headsail, then drop their spinnaker before tacking back to round the buoy and cross the finish line - in 11th place instead of first. Nor did they achieve a lucky number in race two, AMI Jade finished 13th.
After two races, the CYCA boat Cydon, skippered by Leon Christianakis, leads the Sydney 38 OD pointscore on three points from a first and a second, with the RSYS boat Estate Master (Martin and Lisa Hill) one point back following a third and a first. Team Lexus (Rupert Henry) is next on eight points from a second and a sixth, sharing this position with veteran Lou Abrahams who sailed his new Challenge to a fifth and a third.
FLASH QUOTE: 'It was very tedious sailing downwind in light and bumpy conditions. I am pleased with the overall results, but there is a long way to go.' Richard Perini, owner/skipper of Evolution, provisional overall leader after day one.