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“Mascalzone Latino” toppar resultatlistan efter 8 Race. Foto: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Batten down the hatches

August 31, 2007

The cold and rainy weather continued but with it, finally, some good breeze for the third day of racing in the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship off Copenhagen. With more than enough wind, the race committee was able to get off three races, though postponing a few starts to contend with the shifting breeze and squalls that came through the race area.

Eight races have been sailed to date and each one has had a different winner – the leader board changing race to race. Though at the end of day three, a clear leader has emerged in Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (ITA) with 37 points (a race average of better than 5th/race). The Italian team is sailing strongly, and with a 3-5-3 today, appears almost untouchable.

Second overall to date is Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad (USA) with a 14-6-2 today and stands on 61 points, and third is Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi (SUI), with 75 points. The Swiss team effectively lessened their chances for first place overall when they were over the starting line early in the last race of the day and had to return to restart. After that Alinghi went to the right side of the course and were never able to claw their way back to the front.

In the overall standings, the point totals climb steadily after fourth place into the 120s and 140s, and many of these from boats that have had top five finishes during the week – a clear indicator of the incredibly shifty breeze. As Adrian Stead, tactician on Mascalzone Latino quipped, ““This has been the three most difficult days of sailing, ever.”

In the first race of the day, the breeze at the start was WSW at 8-10 knots, shifting during the first downwind leg 15 degrees, which required a course change. Erik Maris’ Twins (FRA) had a good start at the pin end. Maris said, “We went left, a bit further left than the rest of the fleet and went around the top mark in 4th place, and at the bottom mark we climbed to 3rd. Up the beat Alinghi and Mascalzone Latino went right, then we got a lefty and took off.”

While it always sounds easy in the retelling, the pressure was up and down and shifty all day. Twins won that race, but in a series where winners seem to cycle through the standings they then went on to post a 15-23 in the next races. Said Maris, “It was an ugly day out there”.

Today’s second race was postponed twice as the race committee, ably led by Peter Reggio, worked quickly to reset the pin end with the shifting breeze that had increased to 15-20 knots. For the third restart, the Z-flag was flown (10% penalty if over course side 1 minute before the start) to ensure the fleet got away cleanly in the building breeze. Sputnik (AUS) and Alinghi were up near the committee boat end of the line and headed out to the right side of the course and made great gains on the right side in the shifty conditions. The Australian team led around the track and prevailed to finish first which put them in 4th place with 78 points.

Ivan Wheen, helmsman on Sputnik, recounted the racing to date, “It’s a little bit of a blur really. I didn’t quite expect to be where we are – Tom [King, tactician] might have expected this, but the crew is elated and the most important thing is keeping a cool head going into tomorrow. Dealing with every day has been a new set of problems. There’s a good chance of us being in the top ten tomorrow, and that is something that we would love to be and have to aim for.”

In the third race today, a windward/leeward course of five legs, finishing upwind, Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon (USA), was launched at the start and led at every mark, fighting off Barking Mad to finishing in front.

Jahn has been in the Farr 40 class for over seven years, and sails with his son Evan; Helmut steering on the upwind legs and Evan downwind, which today proved a winning combination. Jahn said, “We had the feeling we had a breakthrough this time because we’ve really been training a lot and the crew has been working together for a long time and it didn’t just click that well. You know how that is, you can try and try but if it doesn’t happen, you can only push yourself so much. Today, it probably came easier, it’s always easier when things go well.

Our problem has been the starts, in five races we were over (the line) three times and we fought our way back, (gaining back) thirteen boats total in both races. In the one race we lost about 8 boats at the finish because we tried to cover both sides and we should have covered one side. But today we got out in front and stayed in front. You can call your own race, your race is not dictated by someone else.”

With the final races tomorrow and no throw-outs, this fleet has proven time and time again that it’s not over until it’s over. Racing concludes tomorrow, Saturday 1 September with a first race start at 1100; two races are planned with no start later than 1530.

The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2007 in Copenhagen with 36 teams from 13 countries: Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, Ukraine and U.S.A. The World Championship has been sailed in North America, Europe or Australia every year since the class was established in 1997.

The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship joins other prestigious Rolex-sponsored 2007 events including the Rolex Fastnet Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Big Boat Series and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Today’s post-race social events at the Farr 40 Lounge at the Royal Danish Yacht Club’s headquarters in Tuborg Harbour included the Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Race Day awards presentation.

1) Mascalzone Latino, ITA, Vincenzo Onorato, 2-2-7-12-1-3-5-5, 37
2) Barking Mad, USA, Jim Richardson, 7-16-5-1-10-14-6-2, 61
3) Alinghi, SUI, Ernesto Bertarelli, 18-5-4-2-5-5-2-34, 75
4) Sputnik, AUS, Ivan Wheen, 5-30-2-5-6-10-1-19, 78
5) Nerone, ITA, A. Sodo Migliori & M. Mezzaroma, 3-6-1-11-18-21-31-7, 98
6) Opus One, GER, Wolfgang Stolz, 4-3-6-16-28-32-7-3, 99
7) Warpath, USA, Steve Howe, 23-13-22-4-19-2-12-12,107
8) Twins, USA, Erik Maris, 33-4-15-7-17-1-15-23, 115
8) Calvi, ITA, Carlo Alberini, 1-9-14-30-14-34-8-10, 120
10) Norwegian Steam, NOR, 26-18-19-3-24-11-14-6, 120