After beating Australia’s best in the Grand Prix Division at Geelong’s Festival of Sails, kiwis Jim Farmer as well as Chris Meads are now strongly concentrated on Australia’s largest keelboat regatta, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012.
Farmer, an Auckland-based Queens Counsel and highly successful ocean racing yachtsman, is very much a Race Week enthusiast, something all too evident when he lodged the entry for their yacht, the impressive 52ft sailing yacht Georgia, five months before the start of racing in August.
Georgia yacht was the 25th entry in a fleet that is expected to be near 200 when entries close in early August, and while hers is the first to be lodged for the Grand Prix IRC Division, the Cruising Yacht class is showing the way with 19 nominations at this early stage. The entry list is expected to grow into the 30s this week, a number that is satisfyingly more than at the same time in the lead up to last year’s regatta.
Georgia yacht was so dominant at Geelong that she did not need to start in the final race to claim the Grand Prix title in an event dominated by 52-footers. She won by 12 points from Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm on 21 points and Rob Hanna’s much touted, Shogun V, which was third on 24 points.
Farmer and Mead decided to modify their yacht following a disappointing fifth place overall at last year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. After consulting with designers involved with New Zealand’s 2013 America’s Cup campaign they fitted a deeper and more efficient keel, and headsails made using the very latest technology.
These changes have taken Georgia into a new league when it comes to performance, so much so that she could well be the boat to beat in the Audi IRC Australian Championship, which will be part of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012.
The sailing and party agendas being developed for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2012 promise to take what is Australia’s most awarded regatta to an even higher level of satisfaction on all fronts.
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