It was a quiet day at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney as sailors took a final opportunity to relax before the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds, which begin at 11:00 hours (local time) tomorrow with three back-to-back races.
Some crews were sweating it out in the sauna this morning before the compulsory weigh-in, but all 28 teams came in under the maximum combined crew weight of 760kg. A few boats headed out from Rushcutters Bay for some of last-minute boathandling and sail testing outside Sydney Heads.
But for the majority of teams, who have been here for some weeks, it was an opportunity to get away from it all before the intensity of three days competition, in which race officer Peter 'Luigi' REGGIO is planning to hold nine windward/leeward races. For Russell COUTTS it was a chance to play a round of golf, before he resumes duty tomorrow as tactician on board Hasso PLATTNER'S Morning Glory.
Although Morning Glory
did not perform particularly well on the weekend in the Hamilton Island Farr 40 Australian Championship, Coutts says he is having a lot of fun getting back into the Farr 40 scene. He won the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in 2001 as tactician on Ernesto BERTARELLI'S Alinghi
, and he is relishing the challenge of emulating that success with a different team in Sydney.
Despite her lacklustre performance at the weekend, Morning Glory
proved herself as a serious contender for the world title following her victory in Key West Race Week last month in Florida. However, Coutts acknowledges that the prevailing conditions outside Sydney Heads present some of the most challenging tests of any venue that he has experienced, 'it's very choppy, you're getting a lot of backwash off the cliffs, there's the sun on the water [making it hard to see the wind on the water]. I think it's one of the trickier places I've sailed. I certainly haven't got it all worked out, but that's what makes it fun.'
Adrian STEAD, tactician on Vincenzo ONORATO's Mascalzone Latino
, says the key to winning any Farr 40 regatta is to treat each day as a mini-regatta. 'If you can come top five overall in each day's racing, you stand a good chance of winning the event.
' To do that, of course, demands enormous consistency and with the lack of a discard in the series it places huge pressure on every team member to perform their job flawlessly.
With a light-wind forecast for the next three days, the ocean swell outside Sydney Harbour will present a significant challenge. But this regatta should prove a useful shakedown for the sailors as they move into the final phase of their build-up to the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, which take place next week from 1-4 March.
The 2005 Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds take place from 24 to 26 February.
The 2005 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds take place from 1 to 4 March.