14 February 2011
Australia prepares to host and challenge for Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
The standard of competition warming up for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2011 is as good as it gets with world class helmsmen, A-list tacticians and rock star status crew joining Corinthians with their own ammunition as the countdown to the four day world championship begins.
Twenty Farr 40s representing Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the USA will contest their annual international competition in Sydney from February 23-26. In an effort to bring racing to the spectators, Farr 40 Australian class president Martin Hill announced today that some of the races will be run within the natural amphitheatre of Sydney Harbour.
The decision to conduct inshore racing will bring the likes of defending America’s Cup royalty James Spithill and John Kostecki into the Harbour, offering locals a rare glimpse of such formidable talent.
In the owner/driver class, the owner must be a non-professional helmsman, which puts the onus squarely on the owner to oversee the campaign, and actively participate by steering the boat to its target speeds.
Recently, Italian co-owner Antonio Sodo Migliori and helmsman Massimo Mezzaroma have found the best pace among their Farr 40 class mates. Nerone is the current Rolex Farr 40 World Champion (and European champion), as well the Italian team handily beat the Farr 40 fleet at the Rolex Trophy in Sydney last December.
“They are an awesome team,” admits Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, head of Transfusion’s Australian challenge. Belgiorno-Nettis lost to Nerone on the final day of the last year’s Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in the Dominican Republic.
“We gave them a smell and they knocked us off the perch. You can’t underestimate them, or get too cocky,” Belgiorno-Nettis rues of the missed opportunity.
The Sydney businessman has invited American Olympian, America’s Cup and winning round the world sailor John Kostecki aboard to call tactics, but he’s well aware of the potential shortfalls of a new combination versus an owner and tactician who have spent years together, and subsequently think like twins. A number of key tacticians have switched boats for next week’s Worlds so Belgiorno-Nettis and Kostecki certainly won’t be the only new blend.
Martin Hill, who yesterday wrapped up the Australian Farr 40 Summer Sprint Series, says having the hometown advantage will mean zilch when it comes to Nerone’s ability to read the local conditions, “They are very comfortable in all conditions, they are seasoned campaigners”.
Hill will be flanked by ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and three-time Laser World Champion Tom Slingsby as tactician, and three-time world champion in the Moth and 49er class, Nathan Outteridge, as crew. “We’ve gone for a younger approach,” said Hill, who is set to challenge Nerone’s stranglehold with Estate Master, the Farr 40 he co-owns with wife Lisa.
The class’ decision to race both inshore and offshore will offer the most demanding racing ever encountered in a Farr 40 world championship according to the Australian class president. Hill said, “Sailing with tidal influence, on flat water and with backwash off Sydney Heads will make it a very testing event. It will produce a good mix of speed and tactics and good old-fashioned luck that should bring some snakes and ladders into the leaderboard. In effect it will give everyone a varied chance.”
Hill rates Transfusion, Lang Walker’s Kokomo and his own Estate Master Australia’s best chance to repeat Richard Perini’s success in 2005 with Evolution, the last time an Aussie held the trophy aloft.
There will be two divisions racing together in the 10 race series. Those entered in the Corinthian division will be racing with fewer professionals as part of their crew and have a restriction on the number of sails they can register each year. A Corinthian entry could potentially win the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2011 will preview with an invitational race on Sydney Harbour on Tuesday 22 February.
The following day, Wednesday February 23, the salt spray will start flying when principal race officer Peter “Luigi” Reggio and his race committee, assisted by members from the host club, the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, sound the starting gun for the Worlds.
The RSYS will host the Farr 40 Australian Championship this weekend, 18 – 20 February.
February 22, 2011
Tomorrow morning the hearts and minds of the crews of the twenty Farr 40s berthed at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron will be focused on one thing: the 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. The word on the dock is that this championship is there for the taking. There is no clear favourite, figuring the top three proving as hard as guessing the top ten.
There are plenty of pointers to form. The defending champion, Massimo Mezzaroma’s Nerone (ITA) is on song having won the Rolex Trophy in December and the Australian Championship over the past weekend. Three-time Rolex Farr 40 Worlds winner Jim Richardson and Barking Mad (USA) came second at the Australians with new tactician Hamish Pepper bedding in well; the 2010/2011 Australian Circuit winner Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master (AUS) with its triumvirate of world champions, and, Olympic medallists and hopefuls (Tom Slingsby, Malcolm Page and Nathan Outteridge) was third. Today, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and Transfusion (AUS), second at last year’s worlds and with John Kostecki in the tactician’s role this year, were runaway winners of an exhibition race around Sydney Harbour.
Tomorrow, the formbook will be torn up. What happens in the future counts for more than what happened in the past. Certainly, until the final race on Saturday.
The helmsman of Nerone, Antonio Sodo Migliori, considers Sydney a fantastic place to race, even though it has its share of quirks, “it’s a fantastic place, a little bit tricky sometimes, but beautiful. In certain conditions it’s difficult, especially when the wind drops down. There is a lot of current outside the harbour, so you have to be very careful in light air.” Sodo Migliori will read little into Nerone’s string of stellar results leading into the championship, “we are confident about our boat speed. The boat is fast, we have a good set of sails and a good crew. But every race is different.”
Jim Richardson, is one of the longest standing owners in the Farr 40 Class. Former class president and winner of the worlds in 1998, 2004 and 2009, he knows he is up against it this year sailing with a new tactician. Like many others he believes the 2011 worlds could be one of the most open yet, ”it’s definitely up for grabs there are a number of great boats. Obviously the Italians [Nerone] are defending champions, they’re sailing very well, their boat is very fast and Vasco is a great tactician. But you have Martin Hill on Estate Master with Tom Slingsby, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year; John Kostecki on Transfusion; Goombay Smash with Jimmy Spithill. There are some great programmes out there.”
Geoff Stagg, Farr 40 Class, confirms the open nature of the event, “the action starts tomorrow. We’ve got twenty boats primed, loaded and ready to go, with some of the absolute best tacticians in the world onboard.”
Off the Wind
The partnership between Rolex and sailing started back in the late 1950s. The extent and depth of its involvement has grown steadily in the intervening years.
Sailing, though, is just one of eight major activities with which Rolex is associated. In sporting terms, in 2011 particularly, Australia plays a major role.
Alongside the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, Australia’s number one sailing event holds a significant place in pantheon. The 628 nautical mile Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, launched in 1945, which starts from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day (26 December) each year, was first partnered by Rolex in 2002.
The Rolex association with golf, often cited by many yachtsmen as a favourite past time after sailing, dates back to 1967 when Arnold Palmer became a Rolex Testimonee. In November 2011, in the Royal Melbourne Golf Club hosts the Presidents Cup, becoming the first golf course outside the United States to host the competition more than once. The biennial Presidents Cup, of which Rolex is a global partner, offers twenty-four of the world's best non-European players an opportunity to compete in head to head match play competition.
The link between Rolex and tennis commenced in 1978 when the Swiss company took the role of Official Timekeeper of the Wimbledon Championships. Since then it has added a second Grand Slam to its portfolio, becoming Official Timekeeper of the Australian Open, held annually in Melbourne each January.
The previous time the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds were held in Sydney was 2005. Richard Perini's Evolution won the championship by a hair's breadth from fellow Aussie Neville Crichton on Shockwave. Both teams finished the final day on 66 points, and it was Evolution's race win in the big wind two days beforehand that secured victory on the tiebreak. Just a point behind the two Australians was Italian boat TWT.
Evolution’s performance in the on-the-edge conditions of day two of the championship had been exemplary. “The breeze was getting into the 30 knot range and these boats are a serious handful over 25,” Perini said after stepping ashore, exhilarated and relieved in equal measure to have come through unscathed.
Despite this significant race win, Perini and his team almost made a mess of the championship. In the last race, the final run saw Evolution lying 21st in the fleet as she lurched towards the finish in desperately shifting winds. She scraped across the line just seven seconds ahead of Panther, in 22nd. Seven seconds further back, Perini would have ended the worlds in 3rd overall.
Currently Notable, Previously Quotable
Hamish Pepper, Evolution’s tactician in 2005, said of the final race, “Evolution didn't spark up like she usually does. The stress levels were pretty high. We were just trying to figure out what we needed to do down that last run.”
Nerone came into the 2005 Worlds exhibiting serious intent following a world championship win in 2003 and runners-up position in 2004. Mainsheet trimmer Massimo Bortolotto laughingly complained ahead of the regatta, “we said that if we won in San Francisco, we would party in Sydney. As that hasn't happened, we find ourselves in Sydney having to diet and going to bed early.” Not good for the gastronomically enthused Italians.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship 2011 is organised by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the Farr 40 Class Association. Racing will be held in the waters off Sydney from Wednesday, 23 February to Saturday, 26 February.
For more information about the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds including entry and crew lists, and, results please visit www.farr40worlds.com
February 23, 2011
TIGHT AT THE TOP
A second row start to the first race of the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds 2011 by Transfusion (AUS) did not result in a second rate day for owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis. A 4-4-2 scoreline leaves Belgiorno-Nettis in second place tonight by virtue of countback. Martin and Lisa Hill, with Estate Master (AUS), hold top honours thanks to two impeccable races and a 1-8-1 series. Defending champions Massimo Mezzaroma’s Nerone (ITA) showed a crack in their recent cloak of invincibility; a premature start in the day’s third race blotted an otherwise impressive scorecard. Finishes of 2-1-10 leaves them in third overnight.
Racing took place off the Sydney Heads in a significant swell and building breeze that ranged between 8 and 15 knots from the south-east. Bright sunshine for much of the day brought a shining lustre to the racing as the title contenders went head to head. The top three boats are all sporting different helm and tactician combinations, compared to last year’s worlds. The Nerone duo is certainly the more familiar pairing. Sodo Migliori was only absent from last year’s win due to an accident just ahead of the regatta. He and Vasco Vascotto have been racing recently as though they had never been parted. Tom Slingsby was the tactician on Transfusion last year. This time he is on Estate Master. Change appears good in both cases. On Transfusion, Olympian, and, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race winner, John Kostecki has slipped into the role with ease.
The relationship between the owner/helmsman and the tactician is critical to the level of performance achieved by each crew at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds. The owner needs to judge well the type of character his crew will get along with. The tactician needs to accurately assess the skill levels at his command, and how to get the best from the crew. The relationship between the owner, often a corporate titan, and the tactician must work on many levels: advisor, coach, friend, and even boss.
Some of the partnerships are fresh to the game this year. America’s Cup winner James Spithill joined Doug Douglass’ Goombay Smash (USA) only a few weeks ago. Douglass has a clear objective of a top five finish at this event. In selecting to work with Spithill he looked for “someone calm and who knows where to go on the race course”. Spithill has a worthy reputation for both attributes, despite Goombay Smash ending today in twelfth overall.
Ivan Wheen and Olympic gold medal winner, Tom King, started sailing together on Sputnik (AUS) back in 2006. Wheen sought out someone “who would work with the crew and feel part of the family.” In King’s opinion he is working with a very good crew that, whilst predominantly amateur on paper, is wholly professional in approach. Still, according to King, “it takes a good year to develop a good system and the more sailing you together the easier it gets.” Sputnik shows signs of a good system in place, lying ninth after three races.
Bill Hardesty joined Helmut and Evan Jahn’s Flash Gordon (USA) some five years ago. According to both the Jahns, one of the benefits of Hardesty is that he is very direct and honest. None of the three hesitates to say what’s on their mind. Helmut once laughingly remarked, “Bill says to me some things no one else tells me, not in my office or even my clients. But it’s in the heat of the battle, so you take it because you know he’s right.” The Flash Gordon combo got plenty right today and sits in fifth place.
Vascotto and Sodo Migliori have been sailing together on Nerone for about fifteen years. The owners of Nerone were looking for someone who would stay with them for a long time. They seem to have struck lucky. So well has the crew bonded over that time, that Vascotto admits that even were he given the opportunity, “he would not want to replace any of the amateurs on board with professionals“. He is comfortable with the team, and enjoys the fact that the post-race congratulations and criticisms come from friends not colleagues.
Off the Wind
Sailing in Sydney as tactician on Martin & Lisa Hill’s Estate Master is Olympic hopeful Tom Slingsby. A three-time Laser World Champion, Slingsby is more generally regarded for his dinghy racing skills. In 2010, though, he broadened his experience racing at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in the Dominican Republic as tactician on Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Tranfusion, almost achieving the dream result of an overall win. That performance combined with his Laser skills and victory in the Etchells worlds led to his nomination for and eventual award of the highest accolade in the sport of sailing: ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2010.
Rolex has supported the World Sailor award since 2001, coincidentally the same year it started its partnership of the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds. Whilst Slingsby is the only winner of that award here this week, there are plenty of heavy hitters on the crews. Slingsby gives the impression of being a child in a candy store as he lists some of his heroes against whom he competing this week, “I’ve always looked up to James Spithill, he’s a great ambassador; Hamish Pepper, Vasco [Vascotto], John Kostecki…all the big names are here. I would like to emulate what they’ve done in their careers.”
Rolex first became involved with the Farr 40 class at the worlds in 2001. That year, the event was hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, a yacht club with whom Rolex enjoys a special relationship. The 2001 championship was no less hard-fought than any of the others before or since despite taking place in the terrible aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist hijackings in the USA.
Twenty-two Farr 40s contested the trophy on The Solent. Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi (SUI) won overall by three points from the 2000 winner, John Calvert-Jones and Southern Star (AUS). Most impressive about the win was the way in which the Alinghi team recovered from indifferent placings at the first mark. It was as though they were able to change gear, accelerate, and pick their way through to the front. Their first windward mark placings were 5-7-13-9-19-7-3-8-2 and their final finishes were 5-7-1-1-2-5-1-6-2. In all, they improved 40 places and never made a loss.
Currently Notable/Previously Quotable
According to Bertarelli, whose team had won the 12-Metre Worlds just a few weeks before their victory at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, “this Farr 40 win was better than the 12s because I was helming!” It was not all down to his steering he admitted, “I just put the bow straight and Simon [Daubney] and Warwick [Fleury] steer the boat for me with their trimming.” He omitted to mention that he had Russell Coutts as his tactician.
Day 1 – Top 10 Provisional Results
Place, Boat Name, Country, Owner-Helm, R1-R2-R3 TOTAL
1) Estate Master, AUS, Lisa & Martin Hill, 1-8-1, 10
2) Transfusion, AUS, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, 4-4-2, 10
3) Nerone, ITA, Antonio Sodo Migliori & Massimo Mezzaroma, 2-1-10, 13
4) Struntje Light, GER, Wolfgang & Angela Schaefer, 3-13-3, 19
5) Flash Gordon, USA, Helmut & Evan Jahn, 11-2-9, 22
6) Hooligan, AUS, Marcus Blackmore, 13-3-6, 22
7) Voodoo Chile, AUS, Andrew Hunn & Lloyd Clark, 5-9-8, 22
8) Kokomo, AUS, Lang Walker, 19-5-4, 28
9) Sputnik, AUS, Ivan Wheen, 6-12-11, 29
10) Barking Mad, USA, Jim Richardson, 15-10-5, 30
February 24, 2011
Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
DAMAGE LIMITATION PROVES DIFFICULT
Consistency and minimizing damage have always been watchwords at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds. No less so this year, as the 14th class world championship moves beyond the halfway point. None of the leading three got it completely right. Each bled more points than they would have liked over the course of three testing races.
Top of the pancake pile this evening are Guido Belgiorno-Nettis and Transfusion (AUS), but only just, after posting a 1-7-4 scoreline to gain the overall lead by three points. Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori’s Nerone (ITA), moved into second, putting on the afterburners following a shoddy start to the day, and nailing a 10-1-1 to the door. Lisa and Martin Hill’s Estate Master (AUS) slipped back into third following a less than satisfactory 7-9-10. Estate Master heads a chasing pack that struggled to keep pace with the leading pair. The gap has widened. Not insurmountably with four races remaining, but what margin for error that might have existed has disappeared completely.
The boats of the day were certainly Transfusion and Nerone, but Helmut and Evan Jahn’s Flash Gordon (USA) deserves some praise too. The father and son team, aided by tactician Bill Hardesty accumulated three top-ten finishes and moved into fourth, two points ahead of Wolfgang and Angela Schaefer’s Struntje Light (GER) who were motoring exceptionally well until an unlucky thirteenth in race six spoilt their promising day.
If today was long for the racers, it was just as much a test of stamina and skill for the Principal Race Officer, Peter “Luigi” Reggio, the man charged with setting the racecourses at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds 2011. Reggio is well-known in yachting circles. A sought after manager for some of the best grand prix events in sailing; he has been a ‘must have’ at this championship since 2004.
Typically his day starts early and, particularly when the wind is light, decision-making time is quickly upon him, “I get here at around eight o’clock, thinking about where we’re going to go and how we’re going to do it. This morning we talked to the weather guys and decided to hold off for an hour because the racing would be better.” Good decision; the racing may not have been perfect, but it would have been much, much worse had Reggio not delayed.
With the winds from the northeast initially struggling to stabilize around 8-10 knots, and a strong current from the south, the race area moved north from yesterday’s location to just off Manly Beach, affording crews and spectators an exceptional backdrop for the racing. By the last race the winds were up to 12 – 15 knots and with a choppy sea-state kept everyone on their toes.
Reggio asserts that contrary to popular opinion he works harder after the start than before. Active management of the racecourse is essential in his view, “I have to be on top of the boats, watching their angles. The race boats will tell me of a wind shift far before the mark boats.” With the wind swinging from 070 degrees to 035 degrees during the afternoon, more than once Reggio’s team were forced into action shortening course lengths and resetting marks.
The result of his efforts today was certainly some tired competitors. Three races all completed. A job done by the man in charge, only too aware that if the owners and crews are unhappy they will let him know. No complaints were noted as the crews stepped onto the dock at the end of the day, despite a flurry of protests that will keep the Jury busy tonight.
Racing on two of the boats this week, are two tacticians that have been with the class since its very early days. Adrian Stead is a three-time Rolex Farr 40 Worlds winner. Most recently with Mascalzone Latino in 2006 and 2007, his first success came in the inaugural championship, in 1998, with Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad. John Kostecki is a two-time winner, with Mascalzone Latino in 2008 when he stepped into Stead’s shoes after he returned home for the birth of his first child. Kostecki’s initial achievement was also early on, in San Francisco in 1999 with Jim Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti. Both then have witnessed the development of the Farr 40 class at first-hand, and both hold similar opinions on the nature of the change.
Kostecki first, “it’s a lot more competitive these days. If you get back in the pack it is hard to come back. The standard of sailors is very high.” A sentiment echoed by Stead, “the level of sailing is exceptional. The standard of the owner/drivers, the standard of the amateurs and the standard of the professionals is really, really good.”
Both enjoy the racing immensely and for all but identical reasons. Stead feels, “it’s a level playing field. The class rewards teamwork. I’ve seen a lot of very good teams in my time, and they are always up there battling it out. People who put the time in like Barking Mad, Flash Gordon, Transfusion, Nerone reap the rewards.” In turn, Kostecki confirms this view, “it’s close, and it’s well organized. It takes the best team to win. It requires a lot of teamwork. The action is always close and it makes for great racing.”
Currently Notable/Previously Quotable
In 2007, shortly after winning his second Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Vincenzo Onorato remarked, with typical Neapolitan style, “I feel wonderful. Mascalzone first, Alinghi second! It's my dream. Next dream is to do that in the America's Cup maybe."
Onorato was keen at the time to pass on the reasons for his success, “the secret was just to be relaxed. It is just a sail race and you must stay relaxed all the time. When things are happy you must not be so happy. When things are wrong you must not be so unhappy. This is the secret to be successful at the end.”
Barking Mad’s Owner Jim Richardson put Onorato’s 2007 win into perspective, “winning in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is always a very, very difficult task. To win it two times in a row is fantastic. Our hats are off to Vincenzo Onorato and his team. It is sincerely a great accomplishment.”
Rolex Farr 40 World Championhsip
Day 2 – Top 10 provisional results – pending protests
Place, Boat Name, Country, Owner-Helm, R1-R2-R3-R4-R5-R6, TOTAL
1) Transfusion, AUS, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, 4-4-2-1-7-4, 22
2) Nerone , ITA, Antonio Sodo Migliori & Massimo Mezzaroma, 2-1-10-10-1-1, 25
3) Estate Master, AUS, Lisa & Martin Hill, 1-8-1-7-9-10, 36
4) Flash Gordon, USA, Helmut & Evan Jahn, 11-2-9-2-8-5, 37
5) Struntje Light, GER, Wolfgang & Angela Schaefer, 3-13-3-3-4-13, 39
6) Voodoo Chile, AUS, Andrew Hunn & Lloyd Clark, 5-9-8-17-3-2, 44
7) Barking Mad, USA, Jim Richardson, 15-10-5-11-2-3, 46
8) Kokomo, AUS, Lang Walker, 19-5-4-9-5-9, 51
9) Hooligan, AUS, Marcus Blackmore, 13-3-6-5-16-14, 57
10) Plenty, USA, Alex Roepers, 10-7-13-4-13-11, 58
February 25, 2011
TO THE WIRE AGAIN
Another fascinating day of dog eat dog at the 14th Rolex Farr 40 Worlds. Two races, two intriguing tales and all square at the top. A more enthralling setting for a final day of a world championship? Get the master of suspense, Hitchcock, to write it better. Defending champions Massimo Mezzaroma & Antonio Sodo Migliori’s Nerone (ITA) holds a one-point advantage over the local heroes, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion (AUS). No one else is in sight.
Wind back to last year and the positions were reversed. Nerone had to overcome a two-point deficit to beat Transfusion to the title. Will Transfusion avoid the disappointment of twelve months ago and stop the seemingly unstoppable? Transfusion had a chance today. Leading race seven to the halfway point, three boats slipped inside her before the finish, whilst Vasco Vascotto’s relentless tactical efforts saw Nerone claw back three places to end up sixth. None too significant until Nerone crashed through the fleet in race eight to grab an unshakable lead on the first downwind leg. Transfusion, stumbling in the slipstream ended up in fifth. Will this reversal of fortune prove a fatal psychological blow? At least this year, Transfusion has another day of racing to make amends and win their first Rolex Farr 40 Worlds.
Whilst the frontrunners played their own game, elsewhere teams were making some moves. William Douglass’ Goombay Smash (USA), with James Spithill riding shotgun, put together her best day to date with an extraordinary bullet in race seven followed by a six in race eight. Wolfgang & Angela Schaefer’s crew on Struntje Light (GER) dusted themselves off after their disqualification from race four to post a 2, 8; and were extremely close to a race win, shaded on the line by the thickness of the Goombay Smash spinnaker. Helmut & Evan Jahn’s Flash Gordon (USA), working hard under Bill Hardesty’s guidance, took advantage of another below par day by Martin & Lisa Hill’s Estate Master (AUS) to move into third. Worse was to follow for the early event leaders as Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad (USA) barged past into fourth.
The Rolex Farr 40 Worlds is a tough event: four days, up to ten races and no discard. Yesterday the crews got back to the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron at 7pm. No place for the timid and a surprising backdrop for three teams to be fielding husband and wife combos. Steve and Maxine Phillips on Le Renard (USA) have proved a successful formula: they finished overall winners of the Worlds in 2002. The Schaefers on Struntje Light may not have a championship win to their credit, but they are stringing together a set of fine results. The Hills on Estate Master came into the event with high hopes, and whilst they will not be realised, they have certainly left their mark with their young crew.
The Schaefers met at Kiel Week in Germany forty years ago and have sailed together ever since. For the Phillips, too, sailing together has been a natural fit after meeting at a regatta in the USA. Maxine explains, “Steve and I are very busy people. Running his company consumes much of his time, and really his only downtime is sailing. With sailing being our mutual passion it works out perfectly.” Steve complains that he suffers a critique after each race, but accepts this because “Maxine is a very good sailor and she puts the team together, managing the whole programme. She is very positive and keeps the crew motivated.”
The Hills take a similar view to their sailing. Time together, even racing, is a good thing Martin notes, “many years ago I used to go sailing and Lisa would be looking after the children. She would ask how was my day and I would be simply exhausted. Now when we get home she’s exhausted too, which makes us quite compatible!”
Lisa enjoys the opportunity, “it’s very business like on the boat. We don’t really talk much, but he is not a different person; he doesn’t turn into Captain Bligh. He even does what he is told.” And Martin finds her presence an oasis in an otherwise highly charged, highly professional environment, “sailing with people like Tom Slingsby, Michael Blackburn and Malcolm Page, it is a very high standard and at times that standard is beyond my capabilities. Lisa gives me great encouragement. The boat does not leave without her.”
For Martin there is no doubt that the formula works, “I advise all families to sail together.”
In 2009, Jim Richardson took Barking Mad to Sardinia for the second time. No American crew had ever won outside of home waters in the ten-year history of the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds – if the Bahamas are counted as a quasi-US locale. Richardson and his crew, which included Terry Hutchinson as tactician, were desperately keen to right this scenario. More so, since archrival Vincenzo Onorato had won his third title in a row the previous year.
Barking Mad pressed the gas pedal hard from the off. Linda Lindquist-Bishop, former America's Cup sailor and one of two women on the team was clear what they had to do, “in the words of my great sailing mentor, Buddy Melges, the best strategy is to get out in front and stay there.”
Barking Mad did just that, leading the event from start to finish and winning her third title with a points-score average of 3.8 over the ten race series. It was an impressive display of calm under pressure as Nerone pushed her hard. Entering the last race of the championship, one point separated the top two boats. It was all about nerve. According to Richardson, immediately before the start, “we just looked at each other and said this is why we're here. We're here for an opportunity to win the regatta on the last race. What more could you want.”
It looked easy in the end, a seven-point margin, but it was a dream come true for Richardson, “we're very, very happy. Coming to Italy and winning the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Porto Cervo is an amazing feeling. There are so many good teams out there, particularly the Italians, and to be able to win in their home waters is a great thrill for us.”
Noted & Quoted
After the nail-biting finish to the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds 2009, Terry Hutchinson, a man at the top of his game was full of praise for his opposite number Vasco Vascotto, “sailing against somebody like Vasco makes you a better sailor and we hold the highest respect for that team.”
Meanwhile, Vascotto remained his usual entertaining self, when processing his team’s performance, “it's quite difficult to stay consistent, but I think that we have had a great Championship except for the third race of the first day and the third race of the last day. With a little more conservatism maybe we could be leading.” Would he have been happier if he had sailed more conservatively? “I'm not able to sail conservatively!” was the reply.
Day 3 – Top 10 provisional results (pending protests)
Place, Boat Name, Country, Owner-Helm, R1-R2-R3-R4-R5-R6-R7-R8, TOTAL
1) Nerone , ITA, Antonio Sodo Migliori & Massimo Mezzaroma, 2-1-10-8-1-1-6-1, 30
2) Transfusion, AUS, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, 4-4-2-1-7-4-4-5, 31
3) Flash Gordon, USA, Helmut & Evan Jahn, 11-2-9-2-8-5-11-3, 51
4) Barking Mad, USA, Jim Richardson, 15-10-5-9-2-3-10-2, 56
5) Estate Master, AUS, Lisa & Martin Hill, 1-8-1-5-9-10-12-12, 58
6) Kokomo, AUS, Lang Walker, 19-5-4-7-5-9-3-7, 59
7) Struntje Light, GER, Wolfgang & Angela Schaefer, 3-13-3-21-4-13, 67
8) Hooligan, AUS, Marcus Blackmore, 13-3-6-4-16-14-8-4, 68
9) Voodoo Chile, AUS, Andrew Hunn & Lloyd Clark, 5-9-8-15-3-2-16-16, 74
10) Goombay Smash, USA, William Douglass, 9-6-17-10-11-16-1-6, 76