Farr 6000 – National Champs 2009

By Allan Sutherland – F6 Hot C Air

The nationals were held in conjunction with the NZ Trailer Yacht Champs on 6th & 7th February, being hosted by the Otago Trailer Yacht Squadron, and based from Port Chalmers Yacht Club.

[SinglePic not found]Fleet numbers have been quite small over recent years, with boat owners reluctant to travel too far from their home waters. So it was great to see 3 yachts travel from Canterbury to this event, with Tim Hughes (and family) on Blue Tack, Michael Furston (and son) on Farr Sighted and Farr president, Geoff Swan on Kilex all making the effort to make it a real competition. Only the 3 regular local boats turned out, with Russel Phillips in Chione, past double winner Rob English in Aphrodite and Allan Sutherland in Hot-C-Air making up a fleet of 6 boats.

The format was to have 4 races on the Friday and another 3 on Sunday, and this worked out well with steady light breezes for the first races, before it lightened right off with all boats having to work hard in the sometimes shifty breezes. The wind came up to a steady 10-12 knots on the last race and as is the way of sailing, the best winds came in after the last race.

Hot-C-Air  had a good start to the series picking up wins in the first two races, having come from behind other boats after poor starts, with Aphrodite 2nd, and Farr Sighted 3rd in each. Despite the above boats finishing in this order, all boats were competitive at different parts of the races, with Blue Tack and Chione always in the mix, often right near the front for periods of each race.
With the wind lightening off and swinging to the south, the positions in the third race were mixed right up with Russell Phillips in Chione hanging on to his well deserved lead to beat Farr Sighted, Blue Tack, and the remainder fighting for the last three positions. Kilex featured at times in this race, proving that all Farrs can go the same speed at times!

In race 4, the final positions of the first 3 boats was the same as races 1& 2, and whilst Chione and Blue Tack fought it out for 4th & 5th, both were right up with the leaders at various times.

The first race of day 2 was again in a light variable breeze and again positions were reversed with Chione picking up a second win, Hot-C-Air second and Blue Tack third. Competition was still  tight as there were 2 races to be dropped if all 7 races were to be sailed and you couldn’t afford too many bad results. The breeze picked up a little for races 6&7, with Hot-C-Air and Aphrodite picking up wins. Blue Tack picked up 2nd in race 7, however the consistency of Aphrodite and Farr Sighted, enabled these two to just beat Chione and Blue Tack into 5th & 6th  (all 1 point apart).

[SinglePic not found]Whilst Kilex was not able to pick up any major placings, they were competitive with other boats in every race,  and never gave up pushing the other boats right to the end.

Whilst there may not have been a big fleet of boats, I know that everyone that sailed in this regatta really enjoyed the camaraderie and fair sailing on the water. As with most regattas like this, there is always a good social time off the water, and in this case, there was an emphasis to keep people at the clubrooms to enjoy a review of their days on the water. It was great to have a quiet beer and get to know the other crew members over the couple of days.  I know that all of the Canterbury boats enjoyed the event and the 3 Otago crews wish to extend a huge thanks to them for making the effort to come to Dunedin and take part in this event. I’m sure they’ll think back to the nice flat waters of Otago (a bit like Lake Hood for Geoff) when they next battle the Easterly swell in Lyttelton.

For me it was satisfying to finally win the nationals, having competed several times over the 8 years I’ve had the Farr, and it was good to have son Scott and good friend Alistair Campbell aboard when we finally got there.

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