The 17th edition of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is underway in San Francisco.
Alex Roepers' Plenty, the pre-competition favourites, dominated racing on the Berkeley Circle winning all three of day 1's races. A genuine statement of intent.
Plenty leads the overall standings with three points, followed by 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on the Australian-flagged Transfusion which posted finishes of 3-2-4 for nine points. Two other Australian teams are next in the standings: Lisa and Martin Hill, on Estate Master, finished 4-3-8 for 15 points and third place in the overall standings; while Andrew Hunn, on Voodoo Chile, achieved 9-6-3 for 18 points to stand fourth. Tied for fourth is the defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Alberto Rossi, on Italy's Enfant Terrible, with finishes of 5-7-6.
Today's breeze ranged from eight to 11 knots over the course of the day, with a few subtle shifts. "Hopefully we are not peaking, but we need to win a world championship; that's what I've been after for a long time and hopefully this is the year," said Roepers. Plenty will hope to continue her dominant form during tomorrow's second day of racing.
Proof of the high regard the sailing world holds the Rolex Farr 40 World championship is provided by the impressive array of professional sailing talent taking part. Calling tactics this week in San Francisco are Vasco Vascotto (Italy, Enfant Terrible); Ian Williams (Great Britain, Flash Gordon 6), Cameron Appleton (New Zealand, Groovederci); Malcolm Page (Australia, Kokomo); Terry Hutchinson (United States, Plenty); Ray Davies (New Zealand, Struntje Light) and 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Tom Slingsby (Australia, Transfusion).
The tactician's role is a crucial one: compatibility between the highly skilled but amateur owner/helmsman and driven professional tactician is essential. Furthermore, with each ten-strong crew comprising at least six amateur sailors, the tactician needs to guide, encourage and help gel together a cohesive unit. "The team element is a big part of it," explained Williams ahead of Day 1. "The professionals onboard need to help the people around them achieve their best performance. It's about building an effective team where everyone has a role and is pulling in the same direction."
The objective for each team is consistent sailing. "You can't win it on the first day but you can definitely lose it," warned Williams. "The teams out there today will be looking to put together three solid races and not have any howlers." "Last year's average (score) was 4.1 to win the regatta," said Hutchinson. "That tells the story of what you have to do. It's not so much the races you are in the lead, it's the races you are in tenth or eleventh at the top mark that you turn into a fifth or a sixth. It's an 11-race series, a long regatta, and the first half of the event is purely survival and working for consistent finishes. That to me is the best part about it."
The 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Belgiorno-Nettis is delighted to have Olympic champion Slingsby calling tactics on his all-Australian crewed Transfusion. "He's a wonderful tactician, great sportsman, a truly magnificent athlete. Not many people are aware that he started off with me in 2004 as a mainsheet trimmer on another one design boat."
On Transfusion, the team make-up is carefully considered. "It's about chemistry," admitted Belgiorno-Nettis. "Like in business, it's about building the right team. We've got a nice group, who all get on, and when it gets serious they know what it takes."
Racing at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, sponsored by Rolex since 2001, continues tomorrow Thursday 16 October.
A video recap of the action from the first two days of competition will be available with tomorrow's press release.
2014 ROLEX FARR 40 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Preliminary Cumulative Results Day 1
1. Plenty (USA) Alex Roepers 1-1-1-3.0
2. Transfusion (AUS) Guido Belgiorno-Nettis 3-2-4-9.0
3. Estate Master (AUS) Lisa and Martin Hill 4-3-8-15.0
4. Voodoo Chile (AUS) Andrew Hunn 9-6-3-18.0
5. Enfant Terrible (ITA) Alberto Rossi 5-7-6-18.0
Photo Credit: Rolex / Daniel Forster
TWISTED (USA) AND ENFANT TERRIBLE (ITA) MARK ROUNDING Photo By: Rolex / Daniel Forster
TRANSFUSION (AUS), TOM SLINGSBY (TACTICIAN) & GUIDO BELGIORNO-NETTIS (OWNER) Photo By: Rolex / Daniel Forster
CONCENTRATION ONBOARD FLASH GORDON (USA), WITH IAN WILLIAMS CALLING TACTICS
Owner: Helmut and Evan Jahn, Tactician: Ian Williams Photo By: Rolex / Daniel Forster
PLENTY (USA), RACING DOWNWIND
Owner: Alex Roepers, Tactician: Terry Hutchinson Photo By: Rolex / Daniel Forster
FOIL (USA), SKIAN DHU (USA) AND KOKOMO (AUS) RACING UPWIND Photo By: Rolex / Daniel Forster
TRANSFUSION (AUS) AND KOKOMO (AUS) CREW CONCENTRATE ON THE LIGHT CONDITIONS OF RACE 1Photo By: Rolex / Daniel Forster