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.
“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.”
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
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.
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.
For more Key West Race Week photos by Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography