Taking on the world

Preparations are on in earnest as local boats get ready to face hot international competition at the rescheduled Farr 40 World Championships on Sydney Harbour in March 2021.

Written by Scott Alle

16 June 2020


Up to 18 boats from five countries are now expected to gather for the World Championship that has traditionally featured some of the tightest one-design racing around.

Sails understands a number of Sydney-based Farr 40 owners have used the COVID-19 shutdown to undertake work on and substantial overhauls of their boats, ahead of a busy succession of pre-Worlds tune-up events.

The lead-up to the Worlds kicks-off on 19–20 September with the MHYC One Design Trophy, followed by the NCYC One Design Trophy on 17–18 October, and the rescheduled 2020 National Championships on 14–15 November, hosted by the CYCA.

Pre-COVID, the form boats were Outlaw and Edake. Tom and Alan Quick’s Outlaw clinched the NSW state title from Jeff Carter’s Edake, the current best-performed Australian boat on the international circuit, twice Corinthian World Champion and third overall at the 2019 World Champs, held off Long Beach California last October.


The NSW State Championships were held back on 22–23 February in light and variable winds, marking the last competitive hit-out as a class for the Sydney based Farr 40s.

In the interim, various owners have been busy honing their campaigns for the World Championships. Rob Davis and Andy Baker’s new Nutcracker, purchased after last year’s World’s in California at which the Melbourne-based team came fourth, will also head north for the season.

The old Nutcracker has been bought by David Urry from Adelaide and named Azzura. For Urry, it’s a welcome return to the class after a fifteen-year break from competitive racing.

Like many Farr 40 sailors, he retains fond memories of previous Australian-hosted World Championships. Urry was on board War Games, one of the 29-strong fleet that contested the 2005 event in Sydney. The start list for that regatta read like a who’s who of sailing with Olympians and America’s Cup sailors, including Terry Hutchinson, now the head of the American Magic challenger syndicate.

Local owner Richard Perini steered Evolution to victory at the 2005 Worlds, just edging out Neville Crichton and Team Shockwave via a tiebreaker.

Sydney again hosted the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in 2011 and that time it was Guido Belgiorni-Nettis and the Transfusion team that came out on top.

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease in Europe and are anticipated to ease in the US, Class Administrator Jenny Hughes says a number of overseas teams have declared their intention to be in Sydney in 2021.

“We are receiving positive communications with our international teams who, at this stage, are still very much planning to participate,” she confirmed.

Locals can currently expect teams for US, Germany, Mexico and Uruguay to line up against them out on the water.

It’s unknown whether the reigning World Champs Drew Freides and Vince Brun will definitely bring their Far Niente team for the match-up, which will most likely include a mixture of inshore and offshore courses.

Just what effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the preparation of both home-grown and international Farr 40 teams is difficult to quantify. It may have evened out the field a little, or even given the Australians an edge as they can resume training earlier than their competition still enduring yachting lockdown. Slick crew work is vital in the big Farr 40 regattas where a poor tack or hoist can easily cost a race.

Either way, it’s shaping up to be an absorbing contest that will evolve over the coming summer Down Under.



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