On the limit

Crocodile rocks on shortened day at Farr 40 Worlds as breeze pipes up further

Friday July 4th 2003, Author: Marcus Hutchinson, Location: Italy
The third day of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships proved to be a short one with only one race being sailed in the ever windy conditions. With 25 knots blowing across the course by late morning and more forecast for the afternoon, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's Race Committee, headed by Peter Reggio, brought the fleet to a more sheltered part of the Costa Smeralda coastline, inside Caprera Island. The highly spectacular race was won by Scott Harris and Alexia Geremia's Crocodile Rock but it is still Massimo Mezzaroma's Nerone that leads overall.

A short delay before the start saw the 37-boat fleet make final preparations for what was going to be a physical race on a new race track area that many of the entries had not sailed before. Due to shoal water on one side and the physical extremities of the landlocked bay a course of only 1.9 miles could be set. The fleet seemed more interested in the right hand side of the course, due to the shelter offered from the current by the Southern tip of Caprera Island. The same piece of land also meant a tack back on to starboard below the final weather mark layline, meaning the beat was indeed complex.

The favoured right hand side meant plenty of congestion at the committee boat end and overall leader Nerone misjudged the approach and were blocked out to weather of the line at the gun, eventually crossing the startline in last position. Initially the left hand side looked favoured but half way up the leg when those that had chosen the right side started to feel the benefits of the tidal shelter starting last proved to be far from fatal, with Nerone moving swiftly through the fleet and back into contention. And indeed at the top mark those that were still unconvinced about the wind driven current had a sharp lesson as they saw what looked like a good layline call to the mark fall short by the time they reached the turn.

Several boats in the cluster approaching the mark missed the buoy and finding no way out had to bare away and gybe around for another attempt to find the true layline, only to be confronted with a wall of starboard tack boats ultimately requiring a second go around and the loss of 20 places.

Jim Richardson, owner of Barking Mad, has consistently been a leader at the first mark right through this regatta and today he rounded the top mark in the lead again. Next back was Crocodile Rock and Ernesto Bertarelli's Alinghi. The run was nothing other than fast with flat water and strong gusts propelling the fleet straight downwind. Gybing was an adventure for many, but the strong gusts were the real danger, boats that weren't already planing when the gusts hit loaded up and many broached out one way or the other. The trick was to anticipate their arrival, make sure the boat was planing fast so that the gust just meant another few knots added to the already mid-teens boat speed.

Boathandling was key today and the leaders showed how easy it is to pull away from the pack of boats that weren't so foot sure with the various manoeuvres required. By the first leeward gate Tony DeMulder's Victric VII had passed Alinghi and then opted for the starboard hand leeward mark leaving Barking Mad and Crocodile Rock to head for the right hand side of the course for the second weather leg. By now the top ten had broken away from the following pack, the consensus still being to work the right hand side of the course, exploiting the shifts on the way.

By the last weather mark, and with the wind building all the time, Crocodile Rock and Barking Mad were effectively overlapped, with Barking Mad to weather. Jim Richardson's dark blue hull with a bit more speed on the spreader leg, rolled up beside the leader who then luffed to keep the agressor behind. Victric VII, just behind, used the opportunity to drive in to leeward and hoist the spinnaker before the others. The three way race for
the lead lasted all the way down the high speed run, the boats reaching speeds of 18 knots at times in the puffs. Calling the moment for the final gybe was going to be key and once again boathandling would decide the outcome. By the finish Crocodile Rock had escaped from Barking Mad's clutches and was now concentrating on keeping the British boat Victric VII behind who by now had moved up to second.

Other consistent teams on the water today included Michael Illbruck's Nela who with today's fourth place moves into third overall. The most consistent boat to date is Nerone, who goes into the final day with an eight-point buffer on the second placed boat Barking Mad. The Race Committee's decision to abandon hopes of further competition on Friday instigated an amendment to the race instructions which will allow three races to be held tomorrow, Saturday, the first of which will start at 10:30. The forecast is once again for fresh winds although they should moderate in the late afternoon.

Alinghi helm and owner Ernesto Bertarelli gave his comments on the racing: "A lot of fun today, we were really reaching the limits of what you can do in a Farr 40. The adrenalin was really pumping downwind. We had an average start, but we sailed amazingly well up the first beat. When we rounded in third place I couldn¹t believe it. Russell (Coutts) as ever had a great first beat. We also seemed to have pretty good speed today.

"I'm not sure this class is any harder than it was two years ago when we won the World Championship. We didn't do a great job at the beginning of the regatta, but now we are getting better. The Farr 40 is the best One Design Class in the world right now, and being consistently strong makes you win regattas."


Pos. Sail # Yacht Name Owner Tactician R1 R 2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Total
1 ITA1972 NERONE Migliori/Mezzaroma Vasco Vascotto 14 1 2 2 4 7 30
2 USA50955 BARKING MAD Jim Richardson Terry Hutchinson 15 2 14 4 1 3 38.5
3 GER931 NELA Michael Illbruck John Kostecki 19 16 18 1 2 4 60
4 USA52104 BAMBAKOU John Coumantaros Chris Larsen 1 7 6 12 8 26 60
5 GER40101 MORNING GLORY Hasso Plattner Dee Smith 13 20 3 7 3 17 63
6 ITA2272 ALINGHI Ernesto Bertarelli Russell Coutts 11 12 7 15 13 6 63.5
7 GBR7040R GAME ON Oswald/Bainbridge Anthony Haines 11 11 16 8 10 15 71
8 AUS1770 SOUTHERN STAR John Calvert-Jones Grant Simmer 17 34 9 5 5 5 75
9 ITA1161 SEVEN Alberto Signorini Tommaso Chieffi 8 10 15 14 24 8 79
10 GBR9040R WARLORD Philip Tolhurst Chris Main 10 4 19 22 18 9 82
11 GER5055 STRUNTJE LIGHT Wolfgang Schaefer Michael Coxon 3 18 11 13 27 11 83
12 USA40076 LE RENARD Steve Phillips Kevin Hall 4 3 23 22 23 10 85
13 USA46999 CROCODILE ROCK Harris/Geremia Vince Brun 2 38 31 9 7 1 88
14 USA69 WARPATH Fred/Steve Howe John Cutler 22 8 1 19 11 32 93
15 GBR8888L KATANGA Robin Paterson Ian Walker 18 9 22 10 19 22 100
16 GBR5R VICTRIC 5 Tony De Mulder Adrian Stead 6 31 12 23 28 2 102
17 GRE42 ATALANTI George Andreadis Rod Davis 17 15 17 11 14 28 102
18 USA46957 GROOVEDERCI Deneen/John Demourkas Mark Reynolds 7 30 10 6 21 29 103
19 FRA29039 HAGAKURE Michel Tiberini Francios Brenac 22 5 28 17 15 19 106
20 NOR40 NORWEGIAN STEAM Eivind Astrup Herman Horn Johannessen 5 19 13 23 12 35 107
21 NED40105 MEAN MACHINE Peter De Ridder Stuart Bannatyne 24 38 8 3 9 27 109
22 ITA4038 MADINA MILANO Dario Ferrari Thierry Peponnet 18 13 12 38 26 20 127
23 GBR25R GBR25 Mark Heeley Iain Percy 9 6 34 29 29 21 128
24 ITA13711 TWT Marco Rodolfi Tiziano Nava 12 38 21 24 17 18 130
25 ITA103 BOTTADICULO Arrivabene/Mincione Sergey Chestov 28 21 32 38 6 12 137
26 JPN5095 SLED Takashi Okura Yutaka Takagi 30 24 4 32 25 25 140
27 ITA1 BREEZE Vincenzo Onorato Flavio Favini 29 25 27 21 20 23 145
28 GBR46R ALEPH Lepic/Detroyat Luc Pillot 35 17 35 25 22 13 147
29 ITA4080 RROSE Riccardo Bonadeo Gabriele Benussi 37 32 24 18 16 24 151
30 USA40040 ALBABLU Renato Irrera Francesco Bruni 31 29 20 33 30 14 157
31 USA50051 SARASTRO JP Delmotte Marc Bouet 32 14 25 28 32 30 161
32 ITA4088 ZZENZERO Renato Mazzeschi Michael Ivaldi 25 26 37 34 31 16 169
33 FRA9383 FARRFELU Alain Bompart Alain Fedensieu 26 28 26 27 33 31 171
34 AUS8888 KOKOMO Lang Walker Roger Hickman 27 23 30 20 35 38 173
35 ITA0091 SHINING SR. Domenico Cilenti Mitja Kosmina 33 22 33 26 38 34 186
36 GBR8940 FARRFALINA Rob Goddard Nick Meadow 34 34 29 30 34 33 194
37 AUS69R CACHARAZO Marcos Vivian Nick Haigh 36 35 36 35 38 36 216

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