After recent weather fronts brought high winds and squalls to most of Italy, today the wind gods smiled on Porto Cervo and the first of four scheduled race days in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2009 was held in near perfect conditions. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and taking place from June 24-27 hosts 25 teams featuring many of the world’s top racing sailors. West northwesterly breezes ranging from 15 to 20 knots allowed the YCCS Race Committee to set three races today which were won, respectively, by Jim Richardson (Boston, Mass./Newport, R.I.) on Barking Mad (USA), Massimo Mezzaroma on Nerone (ITA) and Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on Transfusion (AUS). The provisional overall classification now sees Barking Mad, with 2008 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) calling tactics, in the lead on 11 points. Rounding out the crew is Morgan Trubovich (Middletown, R.I.), James Baxter and Derby Anderson (both Annapolis), Zach Hurst (NZL), Linda Lindquist-Bishop (Leeland, Mich.), Marty Kullman (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Matt McDonough (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) and Curtis Florence (Cleveland, Ohio). Owner Jim Richardson is President of the Farr 40 Class and has won the world championship twice (1998, 2004) over the course of its 12 editions. Reigning world champion Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA), which has Adrian Stead (Poole, Dorset, England) calling tactics, is second overall on 14 points with Giovanni Maspero’s Joe Fly (ITA), which placed second in last year’s world championship, in third – also on 14 points.
Race one started on schedule in approximately 22 knots of wind. Barking Mad led Joe Fly and Mascalzone Latino round the first windward mark. By the second windward mark Mascalzone had overtaken Joe Fly which then fell further back in the fleet to cross the finish line in fourth place behind Barking Mad, Mascalzone Latino and Alessandro Barnaba’s Fiamma (ITA).
By the start of race two the breeze had dropped to approximately 16 knots and at the first windward mark Nerone, with Vasco Vascotto (ITA) calling tactics, led the fleet ahead of Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible (ITA) and Lang Walker’s Kokomo (AUS). Nerone and Enfant Terrible, with Pietro D’Ali on tactics, held their lead through the leeward gate while Goombay Smash, owned by Doug Douglass (New York, N.Y.) moved up to third place. Goombay, which has 2007 49er North-American Champion Morgan Larson (Santa Cruz, Calif.) calling tactics, overtook Enfant Terrible on the second windward leg to finish second behind Nerone.
The wind shifted slightly to become a true Mistral for the start of race three which saw Australia’s Transfusion take the lead from the start ahead of Flash Gordon, owned by Helmut Jahn (Chicago, Ill.), and Barking Mad. While Flash Gordon took over the lead on the downwind leg, Transfusion clawed back on the final windward leg and as the fleet reached the finish line Mascalzone had edged into second between Transfusion and Flash Gordon.
“We had the kind of conditions we like today. The Mascalzone Latino team does well with brisk winds. We took second place overall today but there is still a lot of racing left in this championship,” commented Onorato who has won the last three Farr 40 world titles. “I think we have made an error: we didn’t go to sail on the Australian circuit where the winds are strong and constant so we haven’t fully completed our training for strong wind conditions.”
Tom Slingsby (AUS), tactician on Transfusion and 2008 Laser World Champion, was pleased with today’s performance. Although the team are current Australian National Champions, this is the first time they have sailed with an International fleet. “Definitely the unknown factor played a part today. We didn’t know how we would go, being lined up with international fleet for the first time, but all in all we are happy with our first day and we hope to continue the trend!”
“It was great to get a bullet on the first day in the best sailing location in the world,” confirmed Guido Belgiorno-Nettis (AUS), owner of Transfusion. “The issue for us was to see how we sailed against the international fleet. The win in last race was the highlight of our day, the team put in when it was needed.”
Vasco Vascotto (ITA), tactician on Nerone, was disappointed with his team’s 13th place in race three. “Unfortunately, we did a really bad third race and it’s quite bad for the results because we were leading after two races, and now we are fifth. Still a long way to go but obviously we’re a little disappointed with the shift, it’s something that we cannot control.”
Racing continues tomorrow with a prediction by onsite meteorologist Major Filippo Petrucci for conditions similar to today with a west northwesterly breeze of approximately 15 to 20 knots which could drop slightly in the late afternoon.
Mail (will not be published) (required)