Small, but perfectly formed
The TP52 fleet has packed up and shipped off to Europe. The Olympic class sailors of the Bacardi Cup have de-rigged and trailered their boats back home. Now the Farr 40 class takes the sailing spotlight on the waters off South Beach.
A typically talent-laden fleet of seven boats has gathered in one of the world's greatest locales to contest the Miami Beach Invitational Regatta, being held over 13-16 March. This is the second stop on the United States circuit for Farr 40 class, coming two months after Quantum Key West 2013 kicked off the season.
"Miami is one of the few locations you can go and it never gets old," said Geoff Stagg, longtime class manager for the venerable Farr 40 one-design. "It's a spectacular backdrop for sailboat racing and it's absolutely impossible to beat the night life."
Peter 'Luigi' Reggio, arguably the world's premier professional race officer, will orchestrate the action with assistance of experience race committee personnel from Coral Reef Yacht Club. Reggio, with numerous America's Cup and world championship events on his resume, plans to complete 10 races during the four-day regatta.
The Farr 40 World Championship was held off Miami Beach in 1998 and the class has been coming here almost annually ever since. Class veteran Jim Richardson has fond memories of Miami, having captured the first of three world crowns at that 1998 event. Richardson has also sailed Barking Mad to victory at this venue during Miami Race Week, the Lewmar Cup and the 10th Anniversary Regatta.
"There is no doubt this is one of the best places in the world to sail. The water is so beautiful, the weather is always wonderful and the breeze is usually quite consistent," Richardson said. "Our team feels very comfortable here. We've enjoyed considerable success is this venue."
Barking Mad is coming off an impressive victory at Quantum Key West 2013, winning two races and placing second or third in six others in totaling 21 points. Richardson and team took the lead on Tuesday and held it the rest of the way to finish five points ahead of defending world champion Flash Gordon.
Renowned professional Terry Hutchinson will once again call tactics aboard Barking Mad, which will have a slightly different crew in Miami. America's Cup veteran Morgan Trubovich is back on as jib trimmer while Zack Hurst will serve as downwind trimmer to complement regular mainsail trimmer Skip Baxter. Steve Inman, recently reclassified as an amateur, will be on the bow along with Matt McDonough. Ted Hackney (mast), and Linda Lindquist-Bishop (pit) are carry-overs from Key West.
"We are getting close to what we hope will be our worlds crew," Richardson said. "Hopefully, we can build on our success in Key West. We stayed out of trouble and had solid boat speed upwind and downwind in that regatta. We would love to sail as consistently as we did in Key West."
Skipper Helmut Jahn and his crew aboard Flash Gordon 6 got stronger as the regatta went along in Key West, steadily climbing the standings and moving into the runner-up position on Thursday then holding it on Friday. Jahn, the Chicago-based architect, felt good about the result considering he was without six regular crew members. Tactician Bill Hardesty returns for Miami, but Evan Jahn, who normally handles starts and upwind legs for his father, does not.
Struntje Light, the German entry skippered by Wolfgang Schaefer, also had a relatively successful week in Key West - placing third with 35 points. Peter Holmberg, the U.S. Virgin Islands-based professional, comes aboard as tactician after Jonathan McKee handled that role in Key West.
Italian skipper Alberto Rossi and his Enfant Terrible team will be looking to bounce back after a difficult time in Key West. Rossi was also missing numerous members of his normal crew and things just never came together. Renowned Italian professional Vasco Vascotto steps on as tactician and should provide an immediate lift.
"In my mind, we are starting the season now. We have our official crew here in Miami and should be at full power," Rossi said. "Vasco is one of the world's best and I am very much looking forward to sailing with him. We were not in a good mood when we left Key West. Our crew is very motivated to improve upon that result."
Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA), which finished fourth and fifth in Key West, will work to move up in the standings in Miami. The fleet will grow by one boat with the addition of Plenty, skippered by Alex Roepers of New York. Roepers could not compete in Key West due to business commitments, but will be looking to recapture the form that led to a fourth place finish at the 2012 North Americans and sixth place result (out of 20 boats) at the 2012 World Championship.
Annapolis-based professional Chris Larson will call tactics while America's Cup veterans Marco Constant and Ross Halcrow will trim the main and jib, respectively, aboard Plenty. This particular Farr 40 is new to Roepers as it was the former Nerone.
"We have a new boat and are very excited to sail it," said Larson, who just completed a week of sailing the Gaastra 52 World Championship off Miami. "We had a great showing at the worlds in Chicago and are looking forward to carrying on that success in 2013."