Wild conditions

Nerone moves into the top spot at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds

Friday July 4th 2003, Author: Marcus Hutchinson, Location: Italy
The 37-boat Rolex Farr 40 World Championship has been blessed for the second day in a row with ideal sailing conditions. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's Race Committee, headed by Peter Reggio, got off three full races in 19-23 knot winds that blew steadily all day from the northwest. The action was again as tight as it can get in yacht racing, the big winner of the day being Massimo Mezzaroma's Nerone, now holding an eleven point lead over John Coumantaris' second-placed Bambakou.

Race three got off on time at 11:40 with a 2.2 mile long weather leg. The course had been set slightly further offshore than the day before but still the left hand side seemed to be the dominant option. The first start saw the fleet bunched at the pin end with Nerone moving out from the middle of the bunch half way up the beat. The Italian boat rounded the first mark in the lead, followed closely by Steve & Fred Howes' Warpath and these two dominated the front of the fleet for the rest of the race battling all the way down the last run with final honours going to Warpath. Other new faces at the front of the fleet included Takashi Okura's Sled and Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory.

Race Four started almost as soon as the last boat had finished and Ernesto Bertarrelli's Alinghi and Warpath that had won the first race were recalled for premature starts. The fleet was spread much more evenly along the line this time although once again the left seemed to be favoured with Jim Richardson's Barking Mad rounding the first mark in the lead. The first run favoured those who found and worked the puffs the best, most boats getting up to planing speed in the stronger gusts. Michel Illbruck's Nela moved sharply into the lead and proved impossible to catch for the rest of the race. The chasing pack was led again by Mezzaroma's Nerone, being perfectly guided around a consistent day by tactician Vasco Vascotto. Nerone picked up another second place and moved into the lead overall on points.

Race Five started just after 3pm into a building breeze, topping 24 knots in the gusts at the top of the course. Most of the fleet opting for their small No 4 jibs. Michael Illbruck placed his Nela at the leeward end of the line for a perfect pin end start, keeping the extreme left hand side of the fleet for most of the beat. Two thirds of the way up the leg, Kostecki called the tack that saw the German boat slip across the bows of three starboard tackers, the closest being John Calvert-Jones' Southern Star, and off to the
right to eventually round the weather mark with a four boatlength lead.

Starting well in the middle of the line was Jim Richardson's Barking Mad and after a long leg up the left hand side of the course rounded in second place behind Illbruck. These two then sailed away into their own private match race. Enthralling the spectator fleet the pair swapped the lead once on the first run and then chose opposite sides at the leeward gate for the second upwind leg. Illbruck again chose the left, Terry Hutchinson guiding Richardson on Barking Mad, felt the right was going to finally come good.

Sailing away to the right for several minutes, Barking Mad dropped back onto starboard to stay in touch with Illbruck. But half way up the last leg Hutchinson felt he had blown it and that Nela would cross ahead again. The long awaited right hand shift of just a few degrees came good at the end allowing Barking Mad to round the last mark first but with a much diminished advantage. The final run in the strongest winds of the day and with by now a one metre swell, was a thriller. Both boats planing and surfing down the waves were locked in a battle to see who would make the first mistake. Just yards before the finish the advantage seemed to have swung back to the German boat but a last minute surf saw the boats cross the line overlapped with the American just ahead.

"There are always close races wherever you are in the fleet," said Barking Mad's Jim Richardson. "If you make an error it doesn¹t take long before you pay the price. Often you think you have buried the opposition and you look up again and they are right back in it. Our stated objectives before this regatta were to not lose this regatta in the first two days of racing. After today's races we are still in the hunt and we feel pretty good about that."

For the second race in a row German boats were dominating with Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory picking up third. But the Italian Nerone was still there. Picking up its third top four place of the day and consolidating the overall lead in the process.

"This is big fun. It is a dream to be in this position right now," commented Nerone's Massimo Mezzaroma. "I think only Olympic classes racing could be better than this. The idea of this class is the real winner today. We have put in a lot of work over the last two years. We have sailed every race and have spent a lot of time two boat tuning with other boats. Our philosophy is to remain in the top ten in every race. Take no risks and stay out of the protest room."

Friday will be Day Three of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. The weather forecast is for 30 plus knot winds.

Rolex Farr 40 World Championship - Provisional Results after five races

More of Carlo Borlenghi's exceptional images can be seen on the following pages

Pos. Sail no Yacht Name Owner Tactician R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total
1 ITA1972 NERONE Migliori/Mezzaroma Vasco Vascotto 14 1 2 2 4 23
2 USA52104 BAMBAKOU John Coumantaros Chris Larsen 1 7 6 12 8 34
3 USA50955 BARKING MAD Jim Richardson Terry Hutchinson 15 2 14 4 1 35.5
4 GER40101 MORNING GLORY Hasso Plattner Dee Smith 13 20 3 7 3 46
5 GER931 NELA Michael Illbruck John Kostecki 19 16 18 1 2 56
6 GBR7040R GAME ON Oswald/Bainbridge Anthony Haines 11 11 16 8 10 56
7 ITA2272 ALINGHI Ernesto Bertarelli Russell Coutts 11 12 7 15 13 57.5
8 USA69 WARPATH Fred/Steve Howe John Cutler 22 8 1 20 11 62
9 AUS1770 SOUTHERN STAR John Calvert-Jones Grant Simmer 17 34 9 5 5 70
10 ITA1161 SEVEN Alberto Signorini Tommaso Chieffi 8 10 15 14 24 71
11 GER5055 STRUNTJE LIGHT Wolfgang Schaefer Michael Coxon 3 18 11 13 27 72
12 NOR40 NORWEGIAN STEAM Eivind Astrup Herman Horn Johannessen 5 19 13 23 12 73
13 GBR9040R WARLORD Philip Tolhurst Chris Main 10 4 19 24 18 74
14 USA46957 GROOVEDERCI Deneen/John Demourkas Mark Reynolds 7 30 10 6 21 74
15 GRE42 ATALANTI George Andreadis Rod Davis 17 15 17 11 14 74
16 USA40076 LE RENARD Steve Phillips Kevin Hall 4 3 23 23 23 76
17 GBR8888L KATANGA Robin Paterson Ian Walker 18 9 22 10 19 78
18 NED40105 MEAN MACHINE Peter De Ridder Stuart Bannatyne 24 38 8 3 9 82
19 USA46999 CROCODILE ROCK Harris/Geremia Vince Brun 2 38 31 9 7 87
20 FRA29039 HAGAKURE Michel Tiberini Francios Brenac 22 5 28 18 15 88
21 ITA4038 MADINA MILANO Dario Ferrari Thierry Peponnet 18 13 12 38 26 107
22 GBR25R GBR25 Mark Heeley Iain Percy 9 6 34 30 29 108
23 GBR5R VICTRIC 5 Tony De Mulder Adrian Stead 6 31 12 36 28 113
24 ITA13711 TWT Marco Rodolfi Tiziano Nava 12 38 21 25 17 113
25 JPN5095 SLED Takashi Okura Yutaka Takagi 30 24 4 32 25 115
26 ITA1 BREEZE Vincenzo Onorato Flavio Favini 29 25 27 22 20 123
27 ITA103 BOTTADICULO Arrivabene/Mincione Sergey Chestov 28 21 32 38 6 125
28 ITA4080 RROSE Riccardo Bonadeo Gabriele Benussi 37 32 24 19 16 128
29 USA50051 SARASTRO JP Delmotte Marc Bouet 32 14 25 29 32 132
30 GBR46R ALEPH Lepic/Detroyat Luc Pillot 35 17 35 26 22 135
31 AUS8888 KOKOMO Lang Walker Roger Hickman 27 23 30 21 35 136
32 FRA9383 FARRFELU Alain Bompart Alain Fedensieu 26 28 26 28 33 141
33 USA40040 ALBABLU Renato Irrera Francesco Bruni 31 29 20 33 30 143
34 ITA0091 SHINING SR. Domenico Cilenti Mitja Kosmina 33 22 33 27 38 153
35 ITA4088 ZZENZERO Renato Mazzeschi Michael Ivaldi 25 26 37 34 31 153
36 GBR8940 FARRFALINA Rob Goddard Nick Meadow 34 34 29 31 34 162
37 AUS69R CACHARAZO Marcos Vivian Nick Haigh 36 35 36 35 38 180

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