The 17th edition of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will be held in San Francisco, California next month (15-18 October). More than 20 yachts are expected to take part in the defining juncture of the Farr 40 racing season: a competition noted for its fierce level of competition and close racing, where success is characterised by consistency, precision and teamwork.
The St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, last hosted this event in 2004; however, the Farr 40 fleet recently had the opportunity to test the famed wind and tidal conditions of San Francisco Bay during September’s Rolex Big Boat Series. The current Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, Italy’s Alberto Rossi, sailing Enfant Terrible, finished second overall at the event, succumbing to Rolex Farr 40 North American Champion Alex Roepers a native of The Netherlands who skippers Plenty. Rossi won his 2013 World Championship on a tie-breaker countback following the closest finish in the event’s history, and his crew will again be joined by skilled tactician Vasco Vascotto, fresh from an impressive Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup onboard the Mini Maxi Robertissima III. However, successfully defending a Rolex Farr 40 world title is a difficult task and has only been achieved by one team: Italy’s Mascalzone Latino in 2007 and 2008.
While Roepers and his Plenty will be watched closely, intense competition is also expected from last year’s runner up, American Kevin McNeil aboard Nightshift, and two former World Champions who won in their home waters: Australia’s Guido Belgiorno Nevis aboard Transfusion (Sydney, 2011) and German-born architect Helmut Jahn on Flash Gordon (Chicago, 2012). Though several California teams will compete, their local-knowledge advantage will be offset by tacticians who spent a year if not more in San Francisco, sailing in the 34th America’s Cup. They include Tom Slingsby (Transfusion), Terry Hutchinson (Plenty) and Ray Davies (Struntje Light).
Teamwork is a key component of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. The Farr 40 Class Rules are tightly drawn to create a level playing field. An amateur owner helms the boat and only four professional sailors are allowed among the usual 10-strong crew. The competing yachts are identical, required to comply with strict one-design rules concerning the number and size of sails, safety equipment, deck hardware, boat and total crew weight. As a number of the owners are significant figures in business, the event provides a unique meeting of the corporate and sporting worlds. Compatibility between an exacting owner and a driven professional tactician is essential, and stellar team work is essential.
Rolex has been title sponsor of the competition since 2001, and the reward for victory is the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship Trophy and a Rolex timepiece, true recognition for greatness on the water.
The first of four days of racing commences on Wednesday 15 October, with the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship prizegiving concluding the week’s activities on Saturday 18 October.
– Regatta News