Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
|DOUBLE TRIPLE WITH ICING ON THE TOP
|Robert Oatley’s Wild Oats XI was announced this morning as the Overall Winner of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. It had become clear overnight that none of the yachts still at sea could better the corrected time established by the 30.48m (100 foot) maxi skippered by Mark Richards. Wild Oats XI has repeated its historic performance of 2005, when it secured the treble of Line Honours, Overall Winner and Race Record.
Aside from Rani, in the very first race, Wild Oats XI is the only yacht ever to have achieved this impressive display of dominance. She has now done it twice. Bob Oatley was understandably impressed: “The main aim was the fastest time. To get the handicap too was fantastic, a real bonus. Getting the record trip was really the icing on the cake.”
By 15:00 AEDT on 29 December, 13 yachts had finished the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart including two of the international entries: KLC Bengal from Japan and Ambersail from Lithuania. Last year’s winner, Loki, has so far come closest to unseating Wild Oats XI. Finishing last night at just before 21:00 even she was two hours adrift on corrected time. Black Jack, which arrived an hour before Loki, lies in third overall. Chris Bull’s Jazz holds fourth.
Victorian yacht Calm had appeared to have the best opportunity of the yachts destined to arrive before dawn today. Needing to finish before 01:31, she was behind schedule yesterday afternoon. Owner Jason Van der Slot believed they would pick up pace but had not counted on stalling close to the finish: “We parked for two hours off Tasman Island and for an hour in the Derwent. We were aiming to finish in time to win and up to Tasman Island we were on track. It had all gone according to plan until then.” She eventually finished at 06:06 this morning and holds fifth place.
Five yachts have retired so far and, for the 58 yachts still racing, a difficult evening lies ahead. In the lee of northeastern Tasmania there is a substantial wind shadow. From midway down the eastern seaboard to Tasman Island spindrift is flying off 3 metre waves in a 26 – 36 knot west-southwesterly. These conditions are forecast to prevail through much of 30 December too.
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Wild Oats approaching the Hobart finish for 2012 Line Honors (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
|On the morning of 28 December 2012, Wild Oats XI once again stamped her name in the Rolex Sydney Hobart history books. From the moment the start gun fired on Boxing Day the silver wraith seemed intent on condemning her rivals for line honours to the position of also-rans. Wild Oats XI’s finish time of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds sliced 16 minutes 58 seconds off her own record. Another commanding performance in a race she has begun to treat as her own.
Without doubt skipper Mark Richard’s crew of thoroughbred racers had some luck, but their race was not without problems. The first night saw the wind drop in the scheduled transition and her opponents close down the lead she had worked to establish during the afternoon. The crew held their nerve and once the northeasterly settled in they were off.
Ragamuffin-Loyal’s endeavours to stay in touch with Wild Oats XI were hampered by a headsail gear failure from which the 100-foot maxi never recovered; Syd Fischer’s equally accomplished crew forced to accept the unwelcome role of bridesmaid. Ragamuffin-Loyal finished almost five hours behind Wild Oats XI. Had the apparent error of starting the race too early been converted to a penalty, her crew’s sense of disappointment would have been complete. Fortunately, the International Jury found that race officials failed to notify Ragamuffin-Loyal after five minutes that they had jumped the start, leaving the crew unaware that they should have returned and restarted.
By 20:30 AEDT only four yachts had completed the 628 nm course. Lahana rounded out the maxi contingent just before 19:00, while Black Jack was the first mini maxi some 40 minutes later. Loki and Ichi Ban will be next home. None have so far been capable of posting a time that knocks Wild Oats XI off the overall podium position. The door may be open for a smaller yacht if the weather obliges. Calm, Jazz, Quest and Shogun look best placed to foil a second triple crown. They need the wind to shift substantially in their favour, something it has singularly failed to do so far.
Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
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MALUKA OF KERMANDIE the smallest yacht in the fleet (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart got underway in exceptional conditions. The forecast southerly breeze providing the perfect angle for a spinnaker start and run down the harbour. The angle would prove less kind as the yachts exited the Sydney Heads and made their turn towards Hobart, finding the 20 – 25 knots now firmly on the nose. Mark Richards and Wild Oats XI looked to be in no mood to be interrupted in her bid to claim a sixth line honours, blasting off the line and showing Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin Loyal a clean pair of heels before popping out of the Heads comfortably in the lead.
An interesting night lies ahead. The decision how far to head out to sea was the first conundrum facing the crews. So far the bulk of yachts appear firm in the belief that staying inshore, and inside the rhumb line will pay better. Only, one or two boats have shown a determination to head offshore for any length of time. Mike Broughton, navigator on Chris Bull’s Jazz, felt ahead of the start that the fleet would do well to stay inshore for the initial section of the race, certainly until the major swing in wind direction expected during the night. This transition should see the wind back to the northeast and will have the yachts running under spinnaker for an extended period.
Start of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart
Earlier this morning, Gordon Maguire, tactician on Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, indicated some of their pre-race routing suggested the bigger yachts could profit enormously from the predicted northeasterly. If it arrives on cue, they could bite a huge chunk out of the course during the hours of darkness and be lying off Green Cape by mid-morning on the second day, 27 December. The small boats, meanwhile, such as race veteran Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, might only find themselves parallel with Jervis Bay as dawn breaks. The difference in power between segments of the fleet will be all too apparent at this juncture.
Wild Oats XI leads out of Sydney Harbor (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
WILD OATS XI, after the start
At 17:30 AEDT Wild Oats XI was 8 nautical miles north east of Kiama travelling at 12 knots, with some 50 nm under her belt after 4.5 hours of sailing. Any thought of setting a new record seemed to be on hold as navigator Adrienne Cahalan called in to report the wind speed dropping as evening arrives. Ragamuffin Loyal lies within striking distance just astern. Lahana, Ichi Ban and Black Jack round out the top five on the water. Conditions have been wet and hard on crews during these first few hours and the measure of performance differential between front-runners and back markers is clearly demonstrated by Charlie’s Dream. Averaging just 3.4 knots, Peter Lewis and crew were parallel with Botany Bay having knocked a mere 13 nm off the 628nm course distance.
Black Jack charges down the harbor (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart is like few other yacht races. The natural amphitheatre formed by the deep-water harbour offers great viewing potential from the water, at water level from the beaches and coves, and grandstand opportunities from higher ground. Every Sydney-sider has a favourite location, and South Head must be one of the most popular and dramatic. A huge crowd always assembles to watch the fleet barrel down the harbour and make the sharp out into open water. This year’s spectacle was worth the effort involved. After a dreadful Christmas Day, when rain and wind battered Sydney, Boxing Day has been a joy. Blue sky and reasonably warm temperatures brought the locals out in their thousands to cheer the determined and enthusiastic crews off on their compelling adventure.
Crowds on the South End enjoy the spectacle. (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
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Syd Fischer and Tony Ellis (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race promises to be one for the true believers; if you admire people who constantly challenge your values, fire your imagination, refuse to quit when the going gets tough, can’t be told that they are too old, are too stubborn to give it away and who keep coming back for more, then this year’s race is a Christmas present you’ll never forget.
At centre stage of the race, again run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is Sydney yachtsman Syd Fischer, a national living treasure who is still in the grip of finish line fever. At the age of 85, when most men of his age might be shuffling around a retirement village in their slippers with their trousers braced up around their chest, Fischer wants to win line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race – again.
He’s taken over the boat to do it, Investec Loyal, last year’s first across the line. The 100-foot super maxi becomes the latest iteration of Fischer’s Ragamuffin series, Ragamuffin Loyal.
Syd – lean, leather-skinned, laconic, highly competitive and still the subject of discussion for his exploits on and off the water – personifies Sydney: he won’t lie down.
The challenge he mounts at the front of the 80-boat fleet caps off an indifferent year for Australian sport internationally, a disastrous year for world cycling, but a great year for Australian sailing.
We had success at the Olympics with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 Men’s, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er, Tom Slingsby in the Laser and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty in the Women’s Match Racing in the Elliott 6. The TV coverage at the superb Weymouth venue has reinvigorated interest in sailing and helped to demystify it for non-sailors.
Fischer will be on his 44th Sydney-Hobart. He has already won line honours wins with Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990, with an overall win in 1992 aboard an updated Ragamuffin.
This year he is leasing Investec Loyal with a view to knocking off five-time line honours winner and race record holder (1:18:40:10 set in 2005) Wild Oats XI, whose skipper, Mark Richards, is just young enough to be his grandson.
Last year Loyal, skippered by owner Anthony Bell, beat Wild Oats XI in the fourth closest finish in the race’s history; three minutes and eight seconds.
This month Richards and Wild Oats XI recaptured a psychological advantage over Fischer by taking line honours in the 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island Race, when Ragamuffin Loyal had to drop her mainsail after a pin dropped out of the port runner block. Sailing with a scratch crew, Fischer made repairs, but was unwilling to risk the rig. It must be noted she was eight miles behind Oats at the time and contesting her first ocean race with Fischer.
Prior to winning last year’s race, Loyal was second across the line in 2010 and fourth in 2009. Not only has Fischer leased Loyal for the next two Hobart races, he will buy it outright when the lease runs out.
For this year’s Hobart race, Fischer will have right-hand man, Tony Ellis, and David Witt as boat captain. Ellis will sail his 46th race (one behind the record), but will sail his 40 together with Fischer, while Witt was one of Australia’s best known 18ft skiff sailors in the 90s. He made the transition to ocean racing, via the great events: the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Melbourne-Osaka double-handed race and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Asked at today’s official launch if there are many arguments between him and Fischer on the boat, Ellis said: “We’ve had plenty of cross words over the years – but it stays on the boat.” Does Ellis win any of the arguments? “Syd’s won a few arguments with me,” Ellis quipped.
When asked about the crew that will be onboard for the Hobart race, Ellis said, “We’re going to have a pretty well rounded crew by the time we get to the start line… Andrew Cape (multiple Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart yachtsman) is going to come and navigate for us. The last time we sailed together (the 1992 Hobart), we won the race overall.
Geoff Huegill, the Aussie swimming legend and former butterfly world record holder, is back, sailing aboard the same boat he did his first race on in 2010; Ragamuffin Loyal. “To be part of a crew that has such great experience behind them is something that I am really looking forward to,” he said.
“Once you’ve got the bug for sailing it really gets you – the teamwork aspect is an opportunity that I really enjoy,” Huegill commented.
The hardest part of his first race, the retired swimmer said, was “Sleep deprivation – but I’m used to it now, because I have a 10 month old baby,” he said.
Owner, Bob Oatley, has gone back to the drawing board with Wild Oats XI after her defeat in the Derwent last year. Oats had been no match for Loyal in light weather. She keeps her retractable daggerboards that were fitted before last year’s race, but she has a new retractable, centreline fin, three metres aft of the bow.
The aim of all three is to reduce leeway, but they are each used in different phases of light weather sailing, the forward fin being used first before being retracted. In addition, there is a new fitting on the bulb of the keel, whose role is to minimise ‘tip vortex’, curling water at the tip of the bulb that can reduce lift.
Skipper, Mark Richards said at the official Rolex Sydney Hobart launch today, “Last year’s race was a great race all the way until the finish, but Loyal was quicker in light air – and we’ve made some radical modifications to rectify that. We’ve tested the new set-up and it’s
This then is the battle royale to which we can look forward to at the front of the fleet, the old bull versus the young bull for the fastest boat at sea, but there will be other contenders.
Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft maxi Lahana is back after finishing third across the line in 2010 and 2011. Also on the front row of the grid is Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, which took line honours in 2003, when she was named Skandia. The 98 footer has undergone modifications ahead of the race, including being lengthened to 100 feet.
Last year’s overall race winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki, is back to defend her title and still appears to be the boat to beat. In August, the CYCA boat broke the 13 year-old record for a conventional yacht in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race and won the race outright. This month she won the CYCA’s Cabbage Tree Island Race and she goes in to the Rolex Sydney Hobart as the pre-race favourite.
On board again are sailing master Gordon Maguire and navigator Michael Bellingham. Ainsworth has also declared this is his last. He will be selling Loki and spending future Christmases with his family (unless he suffers the Fischer Syndrome at some stage).
Fischer first took line honours in 1988 in a gale-strewn race that ended with one of the smallest boats in the fleet, the Davidson 34, Illusion, win the race outright. Illusion is back as well this year, this time in the hands of Kim Jaggar and Travis Read.
The two bought the boat in April and, according to Jaggar, have spent more on its reconfiguration than the actual purchase. They are seeking to reduce the boat’s rating by going to a masthead kite, smaller headsails and a longer spinnaker pole. It will sail with a crew of eight.
“We’d like to beat Hicko (Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose) and Simon (Simon Kurts’ Love & War),” Jaggar said, “but it has to be right race for us.”
Love & War is always a sentimental favourite for handicap honours in the race. Peter Kurts won the race in 1974 and 1978 and, after his death in January 2005, son Simon gave the nod for his navigator Lindsay May to sail the wooden boat to Hobart the following year.
May sailed her to an emotional third win in 2006 and is back in his role as navigator, while Peter’s son Simon will skipper the yacht with his 21-year-old son Phillip having his second crack at the race.
Bob ‘Robbo’ Robertson’s top performing Queensland yacht Lunchtime Legend is on a mission, coming off a win in the Magnetic Island Race Week series and second in both the Audi Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks.
“This is our year; we have to do it this year,” Robertson said, having built and launched the Beneteau 40 in time for the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart race and scoring a highly creditable third in IRC Division 4 after scoring the exact same overall time as Andrew Saies’ same design Two True (SA) and in the company of pacesetters of the calibre of Hickman’s Wild Rose (NSW) and David Rees’ Whistler from Tasmania.
This time, Lunchtime Legend has a younger crew fired up, Robertson says, after the Australian successes at the London Olympics: “That has done so much to get young people involved again in sailing. I reckon our average age will be 20 years lower than in the 2011 race.”
This is a strong fleet of 80 boats: four maxis and nine previous winners of the major trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup, presented to the overall winner.
Joining Illusion, Loki, Love & War, Wild Rose and Wild Oats XI in the previous winners’ club are Geoff Boettcher’s 2010 winner Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Andrew Saies’ 2009 winner Two True, which is one of four South Australian entries, Bob Steel’s 2008 winner Quest and Luna Sea, which won the nightmare 1998 race as AFR Midnight Rambler, which is now in the hands of James Cameron.
Anthony Lyall’s Cougar II, which was second overall in 2008 in the hands of Victorian Alan Whiteley, leads the Tasmanian contingent in this year’s race. She has just won the Maria Island Race in record time and claimed the treble of record, line honours and overall win.
All states and the ACT have boats in the fleet with the NSW fleet numbering 43, Victoria 13, Queensland nine, Tasmania and South Australia four each, WA two, the ACT one and there are four overseas entries.
The overseas boats include the first Lithuanian entry, Ambersail (Simonas Steponavicius), a Volvo 60 that had been the Assa Abloy training boat for the 2001/2 Volvo Ocean Race.
Beneteaus make up the biggest design contingent, 12 of them, all in the 40-foot range. Two True and Lunchtime Legend will be up against the other form boat, the reigning Blue Water Point Score champion, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire and the chartered Balance, now known as Peugeot Surfrider, which will feature a mostly French crew headed by Sebastien Guyot.
Once again, David Kellett will lead an experienced team on the Radio Relay Vessel (RRV), JBW, which accompanies the fleet to Hobart each year, generously loaned again by John Winning. Young Endeavour will act in the role of Communications Support Vessel to the RRV this year, under command of LCDR Michael Gough, Commanding Officer STS Young Endeavour.
The CYCA’s annual race starts at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour. The fleet will sail from two start lines off Nielsen Park. The start will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 and the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
By Bruce Montgomery, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team
THE 2012 RACE
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Rolex Farr 40 Barking Mad Crew (Photo by Daniel Forster)
Over four days of racing at the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship, held off Newport, R.I. from Wednesday, July 4 through Saturday, July 7, it was anyone’s guess as to who would win, since leading up to Saturday’s final two races there had been seven different race winners over the previous eight races and each day had yielded a different overall leader. The event, headquartered at the Newport Shipyard and sailed on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound, hosted 11 teams that kept the bets going through to the last day, when Jim Richardson’s (Newport, R.I.) Barking Mad finally settled everything by clinching the championship after the day’s first of two races and finishing with an overall lead of six points.
“It’s great to win a continental championship,” said Richardson, who is a three-time Farr 40 World Champion (1998, 2004, 2009) and counts this as his first North American championship in the class. “It has only taken me 15 years,” he added with a smile at Saturday’s Rolex Awards Ceremony where he was presented with a Rolex Submariner timepiece for his team’s performance. “Today was a great day, and we got off to a great start in Race 9 and were able to finish second, which helped us to sew up our position for the event.”
Crewing for Richardson were Eric Aakhus (Newport Beach, Calif.); Dave Armitage (Newport, R.I.); Lindsay Bartel (Chicago, Ill.); Skip Baxter (Annapolis, Md.); David Chapman (Sydney Aus/Cowes UK); Zac Hurst, Zac (Valencia Spain); Martin Kullman (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Linda Lindquist-Bishop (Leland, Mich./Seoul Korea); and Matt Mcdonough (Jackson Hole, Wyoming).
In Race 10, with Richardson holding an unassailable 13-point lead, a dogfight broke out among three teams separated by only one point from each other. Fates weren’t sealed until the last leg, however, when the wind lightened, allowing an escape for Alberto Rossi’s (Ancona, Italy) Enfant Terrible to pass Alexander Roepers’ Plenty and cross the finish line in first. It put Enfant Terrible in second overall with 45 points, just two-points ahead of Struntje light, skippered by Wolfgang Schaefer (Germany), which finished in third-place overall with a fourth-place finish. Plenty had to settle for fourth overall with a fifth-place finish and 50 points, while Richardson, who cruised to ninth in that race, posted 39 points in the final standings.
Enfant Terrible took second-place overall (Photo by Daniel Forster)
“We won only two races in the regatta, but we have been really consistent,” said Enfant Terrible’s Rossi, who held onto second-place overall throughout the entire series. “Unfortunately, in the first race today we made a mistake when we had the opportunity to fight for the first position, but the best thing for me is that in the last race we showed that we could fight until the end.”
In addition to Barking Mad, Enfant Terrible and Struntje light, other first-place finishers throughout the week were Onur Erardag’s (Istanbul, Turkey) Provezza 8, John Demourkas’s (San Diego, Calif.) Groovederci, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’s (Sydney, Australia) Transfusion and Kevin McNeil’s (Annapolis, Md.) Nightshift.
Barking Mad’s Jim Richardson was presented with the Rolex Submariner timepiece by Rolex USA’s Colette Bennett
Photo Credit Daniel Forster
“This was actually quite an unusual regatta because normally it’s so close going right down to the last race,” said Race Chair and Class Manager Geoff Stagg. “The fleet was mixing it up on day one, day two, and day three, but then Barking Mad secured a lead where they really didn’t have to sail the last race. Overall, it was a fantastic event. The weather couldn’t have been better: we got ten races in, everyone loved Newport, and as a consequence, there is a high probability we’ll be back here for our world championship next year.”
Stagg explained that this year’s Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is scheduled for Sept. 17-20 in Chicago, which accounts for why so many foreign teams entered the North Americans in Newport. “You are going to see many of the same boats that you saw here contesting for the world championship plus a few more,” said Stagg. “What I get the most pleasure from is watching how good these owner/drivers are; I’d put them up against any of the pro sailors in the world.”
Struntje light's Wolfgang and Angela Schaefer with Rolex USA's Colette Bennett by Daniel Forster
In addition to Rolex as title sponsor, supporting sponsors were Apollo Jets and Newport Shipyard. Vanquish Boats and PURE Yachting provided logistical assistance. The Organizing Authority was the Farr 40 Class Association in conjunction with The Storm Trysail Club.
Daily race reports and photos are available at www.Farr40.org, along with video coverage provided by T2PTV.
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
1. Barking Mad, James Richardson , Boston, Mass., USA, 3, 3, 10, 2, 3, 3, 3, 1, 2, 9, ; 39
2. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi , Ancona, ITA , 4, 6, 2, 6, 1, 5, 6, 7, 7, 1, ; 45
3. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer , Lueneburg, GER, 2, 4, 8, 1, 2, 10, 10, 5, 1, 4, ; 47
4. Plenty, Alexander Roepers , New York, N.Y., USA, 7, 7, 5, 4, 10, 2, 4, 2, 4, 5, ; 50
5. Provezza 8, Ergin Imre / Onur Erardag , Istanbul, TUR, 10, 1, 7, 8, 4, 7, 1, 8, 3, 8, ; 57
6. Groovederci, John Demourkas , Santa Barbara, Calif., USA, 6, 5, 3, 7, 7, 1, 9, 11, 8, 2, ; 59
7. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis , Sydney, NSW, AUS, 9, 10, 1, 3, 5, 9, 8, 3, 6, 7, ; 61
8. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil , Annapolis, Md., USA, 1, 8, 6, 10, 9, 4, 2, 4, 10, 10, ; 64
9. Asterisk Uno, Hasip Gencer , Istanbul, TUR, 8, 9, 9, 5, 8, 6, 5, 6, 5, 3, ; 64
10. Charisma, Nico Poons , Monaco, MON, 5, 2, 4, 9, 6, 11, 7, 9, 9, 6, ; 68
11. Yellow Jacket, Bulman Scholz Syndicate , Annapolis, Md, USA, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 8, 11, 10, 11, 11, ; 106
Barking Mad Team by Daniel Forster
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Ran and Shockwave Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes
With three races conducted in strong winds, there was opportunity for boats to make a significant move in the standings on the second day of Quantum Key West 2012. Or in some cases it was a chance to further increase leads taken on Day 1. Pisces fit into the former category, moving into the overall lead in Melges 32 class by winning two of three races on Tuesday. Skipper Benjamin Schwartz and company showed superb boat speed and made some sound tactical decisions and now lead the 19-boat fleet by tiebreaker over John Kilroy and the Samba Pa Ti team. “We are a new program so it is a tremendous feeling to be doing well in a big-time regatta like Key West. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Schwartz, who joined the class last summer and promptly placed fourth at U.S. Nationals. Schwartz has America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew. Today was very challenging because the wind velocity was up and down and the sea state was not very forgiving, but the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.” Race committees on all three courses completed three races in 8-14 knot easterly winds.
With five races in the bag, organizers with Premiere Racing are already halfway to the stated goal of holding 10 races during the five-day regatta. There was a lead change in the Farr 40 class as well with Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany) overtaking Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Cal.). Struntje Light has posted a pair of seconds and finished no lower than fourth in the seven-boat fleet, but Charisma holds the overall lead via tiebreaker by virtue of winning Race 5. “We had a very good day on the water and are happy with where we stand at the moment,” Schaefer said. “We have nice boat speed upwind and our crew work has been excellent. We have a very good tactician and he’s made some fantastic calls that have kept me in phase.” Renowned Italian professional and America’s Cup veteran Vasco Vascotta is calling tactics aboard Struntje Light, which has competed in Farr 40 class at Key West ever since 2002 with a top finish of third. “Wolfgang is doing a good job of driving and is getting better every day. The guys onboard have a great attitude and are ready to fight to the end. The good news is that we can still improve our performance.” PowerPlay lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey, trimmer Dave Scott and bowman Geordie Shaver among the superstars aboard. “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.” Quantum Racing, skippered by Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by six points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to victory in three races and second in the two others. “Today was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said. In other classes, the three-race day merely served as an opportunity for the early leaders to extend on the competition.
Red (Copyright 2012 Ingrid Abery)
Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer, continues to sail impressively in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1), winning all five races so far. Red, skippered by Joe Woods of Great Britain with Paul Goodison aboard as tactician, has accomplished the same feat in the inaugural Farr 400 class. “I guess we’ve just figured the boat out a little faster than the other teams,” said Woods, who has previously sailed a Melges 32 at Key West. “We’re winning, but not by much. The racing has been awfully close.” West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes has posted straight bullets in Melges 24 class and built a commanding 10-point lead over Alan Field and the WTF team. Detroit resident Bora Gulari is steering and getting tactical advice from Australian native and North Sails pro Jeremy Wilmot as West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes seeks to follow up on its 2011 national championship. Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., has won all five races in Farr 30 class. Teamwork, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., has posted two bullets and a pair of seconds in grabbing a narrow one-point lead over the 1D35 Tres Hombres in PHRF 1. “We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. Rush is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.” Rush, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser of Annapolis, was named Lewmar / Navtec Boat of the Day after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1. Tom Babel is calling tactics while Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on Rush, which is currently third in PHRF 1 and second in the J/Boats Subclass. “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.” It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said. Regatta dates are January 15 – 20, 2012.
Melges 32 Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes
For more Key West Race Week photos by Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography
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Transfusion and Estate Master (Photo by 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.
Farr 40 Worlds Fleet (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
“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.
POS BOAT NAME OWNER / HELMSMAN
1 TRANSFUSION GUIDO BELGIORNO-NETTIS AUS 6422 1 1 3 5
2 BARKING MAD JIM RICHARDSON USA 50955 4 3 1 8
3 NERONE MASSIMO MEZZAROMA ITA 1972 2 5 5 12
4 GOOMBAY SMASH DOUG DOUGLASS USA 2 8 8 2 18
5 FIAMMA ALESSANDRO BARNABA ITA 252 5 7 6 18
6 ESTATE MASTER LISA & MARTIN HILL AUS 615 7 2 10 19
7 PLENTY ALEX ROEPERS USA 60059 3 9 7 19
8 ENFANT TERRIBLE ALBERTO ROSSI ITA 20091 6 10 4 20
9 STRUNTJE LIGHT WOLFGANG SCHAEFER GER 40 9 4 9 22
10 FLASH GORDON 6 HELMUT & EVAN JAHN USA 60002 10 6 8 24
Nerone and Fiamma (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
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Estate Master Winner Farr 40 Pre-Worlds (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The sailing conditions off the Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic lived up to expectations as the Farr 40 fleet finished up a five-race series for the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds. Ten boats and teams from four countries – United States, Italy, Australia, and Germany – are in the Caribbean to tune up for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship which will run from April 21 – 24, 2010.
After five races for the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds, it was Lisa & Martin Hill’s Estate Master (AUS) that finished on top, with Doug Douglass’ Goombay Smash (USA), and defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad (USA) in third place.
Though the fleet is smaller than in recent Farr 40 Worlds, the racing was just as tight and competitive: in the five races, eight teams posted scores in the top three, the shifty conditions over the weekend giving all teams a shot at coming out on top.
On Saturday, Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio and his race committee ran three races — two nautical mile leg windward/leeward courses — that gave the fleet of ten boats a taste of the local conditions.
The 2008 Rolex North American Champion Doug Douglass and his Goombay Smash team won the first race of the regatta and went on to finish the first day of racing at the top of the leader board. Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master took second in race one and held off the Nerone (ITA), steered by Alberto Signorini to finish second. Defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad took the gun in race two ahead of Enfant Terrible (ITA) crossing in second and fellow Italian team Alessandro Barnaba’s Fiamma (ITA) sliding into third.
On Sunday, two more windward/leeward races were run, and going into the fifth and last race, Estate Master was tied with Goombay Smash for first place overall. Both boats had a plan to start at the pin end, but it was Estate Master that pulled it off. Added to that, at the top of the first windward beat, Goombay Smash incurred a penalty for a port-starboard incident and had to do a 7200 turn, which effectively ended their chances of catching Estate Master.
Owner/helmsman Martin Hill plan to start at the pin end paid off, “We noticed there’s a trend at the bottom of the course — there’ s a right breeze and you get to the top mark and it goes left, so ideally you try to start on starboard as far as you can towards the pin, and then tack onto port and go for the top mark. That was our plan and we got down there and no one was around us, so happy days! I don’t know what was wrong, so we tacked and led the entire race. We’re not stupid enough to know that this is a practice race for the Worlds. Still I take any win, and it was lovely – the wind, the sunshine, and just being in the Caribbean, it’s just fantastic here.”
Barking Mad 3rd Overall Farr 40 Pre-Worlds (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
Hill, clearly enthused about his teams Pre-Worlds win, cautioned, “The only thing is there’s always a type of voodoo about winning the Pre-Worlds, it’s bad luck. But I said, ‘I’m not into superstitions, I’ve got to take any international regatta that I can’.
Hill’s wife, Lisa, sails on the boat in the pit position. Apparently a quick learner, she’s only been sailing six years, four of them on their Farr 40. After raising three kids in Sydney, she was looking around for something to do to fill her time. Hill said, “So I thought, well Martin’s not going to stop sailing, and so I sort of turned up one day and said ‘I’m here boys, and they sort of looked horrified’. And I thought, ‘I’ve brought up three kids I think I can do this. Just be patient.’”
Given the distance they had to travel from Australia, Hill and his crew arrived in the Dominican Republic last Saturday a full week before the Pre-Worlds began, to get acclimatized to the time difference. They put the days to good use, sailing in the local conditions. Hill said, “We had a new mast and things to test out. It gave us a lot of confidence in testing the breeze and also we’ve been recording for the last month the wind direction, so we’ve been watching the trend.” “It’s a little obsessive”, he said with a laugh, “but you need a certain amount of confidence. We had the patience to wait for the shifts, we knew that it would come.”
Indicative of several teams whose scores trended up through the series, Alex Roepers’ Plenty (USA) had a second in the last race. Tactician Tony Rey said, “ We pulled some magic out there. We had a reasonable start and hit the first two shifts and sort of put our elbows out from there and tried to put everyone behind us.”
About the upcoming Worlds, Rey said, “It’s going to be shifty enough, especially if we sail close to land – they’ll be plenty of lead changes to follow. This week is about getting off the starting line and being able to go straight for the first eight minutes. If you can do that, without tacking, you’re going to be in the top four at the top mark.”
Added to that is the fleet size which makes it even more critical to sail well, Rey said, “With ten boats you have to be very fast and you have to get a good start, it’s very hard to come back.”
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship racing begins on Wednesday, April 21 through Saturday, April 24, and is organised by the Casa de Campo Yacht Club and the Farr 40 Class Association. Racing will be led by Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio, with Henry Menin as Jury Chairman. The Race Committee intends to conduct as many races as practical on each scheduled day of racing, with up to a maximum of ten races for the series.
A charity fundraising golf tournament for the competitors, on the famed Pete Dye-designed “Teeth of the Dog” golf course, will be held tomorrow, Monday, April 19. Monies raised from the tournament will be donated to benefit the Haitian disaster relief effort, through Partners in Health (PIH), a Boston-based non-profit organization that has been on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. PIH operates world-renowned clinics and health care programs with 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants in eight sites across Haiti. For more information, go to www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti.
Goombay Smash 2nd Overall Winner Farr 40 Pre-Worlds (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds – Final Results
(Position, Name, Owner, Country, R1-R2-R3-R4-R5, Total Points)
1. Estate Master, Lisa & Martin Hill (AUS), 2-4-4-1-1, 12
2. Goombay Smash, Doug Douglass (USA), 1-5-3-2-6, 17
3. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson (USA), 4-1-6-4-4, 19
4. Fiamma, Alessandro Barnaba (ITA), 9-3-1-7-5, 25
5. Nerone, Massimo Mezzarona/Alberto Signorini (ITA), 3-6-2-9-7, 27
6. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi/Roberto Strappati (ITA), 6-2-7-5-10, 30
7. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut & Evan Jahn (USA), 10-9-9-3-3, 34
8. Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer (GER), 5-7-5-8-9, 34
9. Plenty, Alex Roepers (USA), 7-10-8-10-2, 37
10. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (AUS), 8-8-DNF-6-8, 41
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