This is the first time the Australian fleet have had a chance to fly the new class approved masthead spinnakers and the increase in size was evident in the increase in speed as the 11 boat fleet raced four windward leeward sprint races each day.
In typical Sydney summer conditions the two days of racing were raced in northeast breezes that built over the day to reach 12-14 knots. Day one and the fleet had the offshore course to themselves but it was a different story on Sunday.
The fleet raced from Clark Island on Sydney Harbour to the northern end of Shark Island for the first three races. For the last race the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Race Committee had to move the top mark by 30 degrees to the east to accommodate the breeze shift.
Sharing the harbour with the usual weekend traffic and a number of other large fleets, including the 18 foot skiffs, tested the crews as they had to work across the harbour to make gains and hold off the competition.
Day one of racing was a tussle for the top three places with the Evolution team, who has a few new faces in the crew including well known 49er and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Chris NICOLSON (AUS), fighting it out with Matt ALLEN's (AUS) Ichi Ban and Lisa and Martin HILL's (AUS) Estate Master.
Finishing top two for the first four races of the series, Evolution held on to a one point lead going into the final day. The Evolution crew managed to continue the winning streak on day two with three firsts and a ninth place enough to hold onto first place overall.
'We're very happy with the outcome and luck went our way this weekend. It's a pity we can't carry this result across to next weekend for the class Nationals. It's been great having Nico [NICOLSON] onboard as well as my son Chris who I think maybe be rethinking his crew spot after asking to be the grinder before realizing the new spinnakers are 40% bigger and you have to use the same size winches, luckily he's fit and the youngest on the boat,' commented PERINI after his win.
Estate Master, who have recently joined the class, won the first and sixth races of the series and the crew worked well to finish the first day in third place and move into second overall.
'This has been a great chance to practice before the nationals next weekend. It has given us a bit of confidence going forward and an opportunity to try new things including the new masthead kites which make things so much faster and you see the lead change a lot more with boats able to pull teams back like we did today,' said Martin HILL after collecting his trophy.
Rolex Trophy series winner, Ichi Ban, had their grip on second place after the first day but a couple of mid-fleet finishes on day two saw them finish in third overall.
'It's great to see Marcus BLACKMORE [(AUS)] and the Hooligan team back with the fleet and the team on Wired up from Tasmania. The fleet for 2007-08 is looking strong with the Australian fleet growing in strength in Sydney, Tasmania and Queensland. This weekend was a great opportunity to tune up for the Australian titles next weekend,' remarked ALLEN.
Returning to the fleet after a 18 month absence is BLACKMORE and his team on Hooligan. Hooligan finished fifth overall with two second places on the second day of racing. 'It's great to be back with the class and I really enjoyed the racing especially the new spinnakers,' said BLACKMORE.
The final event in the Australian Farr 40 2006-07 season will be the 2007 Hamilton Island Farr 40 Australian Championship being held 23-25 February and hosted by Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.