Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rolex Farr 40 Worlds: HOT, HOT, HOT

Photo credit: Rolex / Daniel Forster
For the teams competing at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in the Dominican Republic, it was a long, hot morning waiting dockside at the Casa de Campo Marina for the breeze to fill in. PRO Peter Reggio postponed the 11am start and kept the fleet dockside where they could find shade and stay hydrated. After an hour and a half delay, the fleet was sent out to the race area just a mile out from the marina entrance and racing was underway by 1pm. But the tropical Caribbean – temperatures in the 900F and high humidity – tested crewmembers’ concentration and focus.

The SSW breeze was light at 6-8 knots for the first race. The race committee sent the fleet on a 1.7 nautical mile W-L-W-L course. Transfusion (AUS) led the pack down the line on starboard and was at the pin end at the gun.

Owner/helmsman, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis said, “We decided we wanted to go conservative at the start – we got ourselves a nice little lane, and we had a good start. And then the boat was fast and we just kept out of trouble, but Tom (Slingsby, tactician) must have felt it was just worth staying were we were -- we didn’t do many tacks, and we got to the top mark first. Then we just kept that gap all the way. Very light, very challenging conditions…very exhausting, I’ve got to say it was really hard work.

“I think the first race was very nice, it was very satisfying, particularly with the Pre-Worlds result for us (Transfusion finished 10th). It was nice to come back and get a first in the first race and keep the good result going.”

For the second race, the race committee reset the starting line to the west and sent competitors on the same course as the breeze increased slightly up to 12 knots. The fleet was even more tightly packed and hard by the pin end of the start line, Massimo Mezzaroma’s Nerone (ITA) was very close to being over early. Clearly they thought they were, though there was no flag or call from the RC boat, and after a boat length, Nerone turned around, sailed back and recrossed the start line. But the team was impressive as they clawed back from last place to finish in 5th place.

A frustrated Vasco Vascotto, Nerone’s tactician said, “We were supposed to be over the line, and we came back (to restart). It was a big present to everyone. We have an opportunity to do better – we made a present of four points today, I hope it is enough for the competitors!”

Alex Roepers’ Plenty (USA), overlapped and to windward of Lisa & Martin Hill’s Estate Master (AUS), tacked away for clear air and went to the right side of the course. Transfusion, midway down the start line was in clear air and stayed left up the first beat, slowly working they way through the fleet. At the top mark they were in third place and from there worked up to second at the leeward mark and by the windward mark the second time, they were in the lead, which they held to the finish.

The breeze dropped back to 6-8 knots for the third and final race of the day. At the start, it was Doug Douglass’ Goombay Smash (USA) at the pin end leading Estate Master, with Transfusion and Wolfgang Schaefer’s Struntje Light (GER) on their hip. Goombay Smash led the fleet all the way around the course and down the last leg they were under attack from Barking Mad.

Jim Richardson, Barking Mad owner/helmsman said, “The wind had lightened up a bit, and when you’re out in the heat all day and it’s light, it’s hard to concentrate. People get cranky on the boat, and people get cranky on other boats. But I thought our crew did a really good job of sailing in those conditions and everyone kept their focus. We realized how difficult it is to sail in those conditions, so factoring all that we were pretty pleased.”

Barking Mad was second around the first mark and second around the leeward gate – they rounded the left gate, while Goombay Smash and Nerone went for the right hand gate. Heading downwind to the finish, Barking Mad started to reel in Goombay Smash, and Richardson said, “It’s hard to defend downwind in light air, and we got inside of them a little bit and we had a little bit of pressure. We were quite a distance away from them, but we were on their air.” The finish was looking to be too close to call until Barking Mad got into a bit more pressure and they crossed the finish line just ahead of Goombay Smash.

Today was the Casa de Campo Race Day. Day One’s overall leaders after three races – Transfusion, Barking Mad, Nerone – were presented with Farr 40 boat models built by Abordage. The company, based in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, has been proudly producing beautifully hand-crafted ship models since 1989.

For more information about the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, including results, crew lists, and media accreditation, please visit

Rolex Farr 40 Worlds Results – Day 1

(Position, Name, Owner, Country, R1, R2, R3= Points)
1. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (AUS), 1-1-3, 5
2. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson (USA), 4-3-1, 8
3. Nerone, Massimo Mezzarona/Alberto Signorini (ITA), 2-5-5, 12
4. Goombay Smash, Doug Douglass (USA), 8-8-2, 18
5. Fiamma, Alessandro Barnaba (ITA), 5-7-6, 18
6. Estate Master, Lisa & Martin Hill (AUS), 7-2-10, 19
7. Plenty, Alex Roepers (USA), 3-9-7, 19
8. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi/Roberto Strappati (ITA), 6-10-4, 20
9. Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer (GER), 9-4-9, 22
10. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut & Evan Jahn (USA), 10-6-8, 2