|SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-(13-12-2004) Sydney yachtsman Richard Perini today won the Farr 40 One Design class of the prestigious Rolex Trophy on a dramatic, windy end to the international series off Sydney.
Perini, who holds the Mumm 30 World championship, won the final race with his Farr 40, Evolution, as two of his rivals were forced to retire with injured crew.
Marcus Blackmore's Emotional Hooligan had bowman Tim Wiseman washed overboard, suffering a suspected fractured leg (which later proved to be ligament and muscle injuries), while Emma Kirby, a foredeck hand on American Jim Richardson's Barking Mad suffered a cut to the head when hit by the spinnaker pole.
With severe thunderstorms lashing Sydney and the coast, winds gusting to 30 knots and confused seas creating difficult sailing on the course out on the Tasman Sea, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia abandoned racing after the seventh heat, ending competition for the Rolex Trophy.
For Perini this was his fourth major regatta win in the Farr 40 class this summer as he continues his campaign to win the Rolex World Championship in Sydney next March.
He sailed a near faultless series, with light winds for the first two days and then today, demanding conditions on the offshore course. With New Zealander Hamish Pepper as his tactician, he finished the series with a scorecard of 1-2-3-2-10-4-1 for 23 points.
His nearest opponent at the end of seven races was Australian Farr 40 class president Matt Allen, sailing Ichi Ban with Roger Hickman as tactician, who took second place on a countback with placings of 10-3-10-7-5-3-2 to finish with 40 points. Allen also owns the grand prix ocean racer Ichi Ban in which he will contest the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Race at the end of month.
Also on 40 points, but fourth overall, was maxi yacht owner Neville Crichton in Team Shockwave, with a scorecard of 11-4-6-5-2-5-7, while the best of the international competitors was Germany's Hasso Plattner with Morning Glory on 44 points.
Owner/skippers of the first four Farr 40s overall are members of the CYCA which next year will host the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship off Sydney Heads.
Emotional Hooligan, which had been second overall after winning the first race today, slumped to fifth place after being forced to retire from race seven to bring injured crewman Tim Wiseman back ashore.
Wiseman, one of the best bowmen in sailing, was on the bow of Wild Oats when it led the Australian team to victory in the 2003 Admiral's Cup in England. He and Emma Kirby were discharged from hospital late this afternoon.
Final placings, Farr 40 OD class of Rolex Trophy:
1. Evolution (Richard Perini, NSW) 1-2-3-2-10-4-1, 23 pts
2. Ichi Ban (Matt Allen, NSW) 10-3-10-7-5-3-2, 40 pts
3. Team Shockwave (Neville Crichton, NSW) 11-4-6-5-2-5-7, 40 pts
4. Morning Glory (Hasso Plattner, Germany) 7-10-4-10-8-2-3, 44 pts
5. Emotional Hooligan (Marcus Blackmore, NSW) 2-12-11-1-3-1-16, 46 pts
6. Southern Star (John Calvert-Jones, Vic) 6-8-7-13-1-10-4, 49 pts.
Sydney 38 Battle to Hobart still Wide Open
After two days of frustratingly light breezes off the Sydney coast the wind finally freshened up on the final day of the Rolex Trophy and gave the eight Sydney 38s also competing in the 60th anniversary Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race a chance to see how they are shaping up for the big race.
Leon Christianakis on Cydon had reinforced his growing reputation in the class, winning the Rolex Trophy with consistently good performances that included two wins and two second places in the seven race series.
It was a fantastic performance for a team that has only been together a year, and the self-effacing Christianakis is tickled pink. “It was a very challenging three days,” he says. “I have a great crew, it's a lovely quiet boat, the racing is fast and furious but great fun. I do what I am told.”
Of the 38s going to Hobart, Christianakis identified Estate Challenge, sailed by Martin and Lisa Hill, and Lou Abrahams' Challenge as having been particularly quick during the Rolex Trophy.
Challenge is a brand new boat, and ominously Abrahams says he and his crew had not had time to tune the boat before the series. They had been hoping for lots of wind over the three days and found the first two days very frustrating.
He was very relieved when the fresher breeze and jumbled seas of the third day finally kicked in. These were more like “Hobart” conditions, and even though ferocious storms truncated the day he feels that he saw enough to know what adjustments he needs to make to get Challenge optimised for Boxing Day.
The top six placings in the Sydney 38 Rolex Trophy were:
1. Cydon (Leon Christianakis) 1,2,6,3,1,2,2 place in the seven races for 17 points
2. Estate Master (Martin & Lisa Hill) 3,1,3,4,7,1,1 for 20 points
3. Challenge (Lou Abrahams) 5,3,8,1,4,4,6 for 31 points
4. Ami Jade (Peter McNamara) 11,13,2,5,2,3,3, for 39 points
5. Team Lexus (Rupert Henry) 2,6,7,13,12,6,5 for 51 points
6. Chutzpah (Bruce Taylor) 14,4,4,14,3,9,4, for 52 points