Miami Beach, Fla., USA – In a stark contrast to yesterday’s 18-knot winds and lumpy seas, today’s light-air conditions gave the international fleet competing in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship a new challenge. With a total of six races completed so far in the 10-race series, Italian teams hold the top two spots — Mascalzone Latino in first, with a three point lead, over Joe Fly in second.
Stepping into the tactician’s role on Mascalzone Latino was John Kostecki, who assisted owner and helmsmen Vincenzo Onorato in putting together finishes of 14-3-5. The 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and winner of the 2001/02 Volvo Ocean Race as skipper onboard illbruck, Kostecki is one of the world’s top sailors. An Olympic silver medalist (1988) and 10-time world champion in a range of one-design classes, he has also been involved in four America’s Cup campaigns as tactician.
Two-time world champion Barking Mad (USA) climbed up from seventh place into third overall. “The conditions are difficult to sail in,” said Barking Mad’s owner Jim Richardson (Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I.) “It was a decent day for us. We were over early in the first race and managed to get a few good breaks and ended up second, so that was a great start of the day.” In addition to Barking Mad, Groovederci 127 (USA), Twins (FRA), and Plenty (USA) were called over early and required to re-start.
Opus One (GER) led the fleet from start to finish and finished over three minutes ahead of second-placed Barking Mad. “We didn’t have a good day yesterday, so we came out knowing we had to do a good job to do for Wolfgang (Stolz, owner),” said Opus One’s tactician Kelvin Harrap. “We didn’t have a good start, but we managed to get out to the left-hand side of the course and it was the way to go up that beat,” said “I think Barking Mad came out with us after being over early. We had a bit of luck and got our nose out there. We had enough of a lead to sail our own race the entire time and managed to extend after that and lead all way. If you can get a little break out at the top mark your options are wide open. It’s not always that easy.”
The second race of the day was a little less textbook for Opus One than the first, however the team now stands in seventh place overall. “Tomorrow we have to go as well as we can,” said Harrap. “We have not been starting well, and we need to get off the line to give us a chance. The boat is going well, we have good crew and Wolfgang is doing a great job, so it’s up to me.”
The second race – the fifth in the series – was won by Nerone (ITA) co-owned by past world champions Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio sodo Migliori. Mascalzone Latino led on the first lap but Henrik Jensen’s Silver Bullet (DEN) slipped by and took the lead, followed by Nerone, Ramrod (USA) and Morning Glory (GER). Silver Bullet held onto the lead but was challenged on the last downwind leg by Nerone, which crossed the finish line inches ahead of the Danish boat.
In the final race of the day, Peter de Ridder’s Mean Machine (MON) won followed by Joe Fly (ITA) and Asterisk (DEN). “We did a good job in minimizing the damage,” said de Ridder of the race. “At one stage in the race we were pretty deep, but we had a good (downwind) run and got into the first half of the results with a 14th.”
Tactician Ray Davies (New Zealand) explained the race strategy. “The key for us today was to try and get clear air off the line and sail in decent water,” said the America’s Cup sailor. “We did that quite well in a couple of races and still managed to make a couple of mistakes and end up back in the pack. The team we have with us is fantastic. We fought and had some good recoveries.”
De Ridder gave credit to his team, especially Davies with whom he has sailed since Mean Machine won the 1990 Admiral’s Cup. “He’ll stay forever,” he said. “He’s a team leader, a good guy and a good tactician as well.”
Tomorrow’s forecast for less wind doesn’t seem to bother the seasoned helmsmen such as de Ridder. “If we have good starts and the breeze settles, I think we have pretty good boat speed,” he said. “We’re one of the quickest boats around and if we can utilize our tools we’ll be fine, but better is always looming around the corner.”
Second overall is Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly, which counts among its talented crew tactician Francesco Bruni. “We are very pleased, very happy, it’s been a great day,” said Bruni. “We started with a 15th. We didn’t have a good start, but we had fantastic speed upwind. The guys are doing a great job keeping the boat fast.”
For Bruni, who is one of Italy’s most talented, competing in the Olympic class Star and the America’s Cup, the tactician’s role has a bit of pressure on it. “A little bit,” clarified Bruni. “At the beginning we want results in the top 10. Today, with results in the top five, that is a dream. We never thought it was possible. Results in the top three? Oh my god. For sure it’s not going to be easy. We have Barking Mad behind and other people who are usually at the top on the score list.” Joe Fly came second in the final race to hold its second place overall.
America’s Cup champion Ernesto Bertarelli and his Alinghi slipped from third and finished the day in fifth overall.
Racing continues tomorrow, Friday, April 18 at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship (April 16-19) on the Atlantic Ocean south of Government Cut. The Regatta Village is based at Miami Beach Marina, in Miami Beach, Florida. For more information about the 2008 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, including the full list of entries and crew, racing commentary results, and photos go to the official event website www.farr40worlds.com.
Rolex is the title sponsor of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship and also a race day sponsor with Slam and Casa de Campo Marina. Supporting sponsors include Mad Fish Wines, Southern Spars and Harken; supply sponsors include North Sails and EdgeWater Boats; and official hotels are South Seas Hotel and Avalon Hotel.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship joins other prestigious Rolex-sponsored yachting events including the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Swan Cup, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, New York Yacht Club’s Race Week presented by Rolex and the Rolex Big Boat Series.
Rolex Farr 40 World Championship – 2008
Preliminary Results – Top 10 of 33
Three races held, April 17, 2008 (6 races completed in 10-race series)
Boat name (country representing), owner, Race 1-2-3-4-5-6, total points
1. Mascalzone (ITA), Vincenzo Onorato, 3-12-1-14-3-5, 38 points
2. Joe Fly (ITA), Giovanni Maspero, 9-1-8-15-6-2, 41
3. Barking Mad (USA), Jim Richardson, 25-5-3-2-16-6, 55
4. Mean Machine (MON), Peter de Ridder, 24-3-9-9-14-1, 60
5. Alinghi (SUI), Ernesto Bertarelli, 8-14-6-6-7-20, 61
6. Atalanti (GRE), Stratis Andreadis, 5-2-25-7-24-11, 74
7. Opus One (GER), Wolfgang Stolz, 15-16-21-1-5-23, 81
8. Ramrod (USA), Rodrick Jabin, 22-8-17-3-10-21, 81
9. Kokomo (AUS), Lang Walker, 20-7-20-12-15-7, 81
10. Warpath (USA), Fred & Steve Howe, 12-13-14-24-11-8, 82
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