Jim RICHARDSON and his Barking Mad team entered the history books in San Francisco by becoming the first team in the history of the class to win the coveted world championship title for a second time.
"I'm very, very proud,"
said a beaming Richardson, clutching a glass of champagne minutes after his boat reached the dock at the St. Francis Yacht Club. "We've been working at this since the first Worlds I won in 1998,"
he continued. "It is hard to win this regatta and everything came together perfectly for us. I had a teacher at school who said 'you learn from doing and being done.' We've been done enough that we've started to learn some things from our competitors and figured out ways to improve and it all worked out."
In the first race yesterday Barking Mad got into trouble with Norwegian Steam in a port-starboard incident at the end of the first beat, dropping it to the middle of the fleet. It was exactly the type of incident Richardson's team has strenuously managed to avoid all week. Tactician Terry HUTCHINSON said that this came about due to a miscommunication. "We had a 35 point lead,"
he said. "I screwed up what I was thinking, but we put the hammer down in the second race and sailed like we know how to sail."
Hutchinson will soon go to Valencia, Spain to serve in the afterguard of the Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup challenge, but will continue to sail with Barking Mad.
In the second race, Barking Mad took a commanding lead and was fifth to round the top mark. Up the long final beat, as the San Francisco Bay fog shrouded the race course, the team lost the charge to be first to the finish line by five seconds. This did not matter to Richardson. "It was close going up that last leg,"
he said. "but it doesn't matter whether you win by one point or one hundred."
With 47 points total and an exceptional single digit scoreline -counting a ninth place in the first race as its worst finish - Barking Mad finished 40 points ahead of the defending World Champions Massimo MEZZAROMA and Antonio sodo MIGLIORI (ITA) on Nerone.
Geoff STAGG, president of Farr International, put Barking Mad's win into perspective. "It is the biggest margin in a Farr 40 world championship by miles, ever," he said. "I was thinking an average of an eighth-place might win it, but they did it with an average of fourth, which is great.
Barking Mad was very well prepared and the team was very well trained. They had good starts. They didn't get brilliant starts, but they were never in trouble on the start line. Terry was brilliant with the laylines particularly when the ebb tide was kicking in. It's the old story of their stars being aligned."
After a dismal set of results to date in the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, Stuart and MarrGwen TOWNSEND's (USA) Virago, on which Chris LARSON (USA) has been calling tactics, came from nowhere to win yesterday's first race while fending off a strong challenge from Scott HARRIS and Alex GEREMIA's (USA) Crocodile Rock and John KILROY's (USA) Samba Pa Ti. Aside from Barking Mad's exceptional win, Kilroy's team was the class act of the day finishing third in the first race and winning the second, to finish 13th overall.
Samba Pa Ti was one of the favourites going into the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, but its early results in this regatta were disappointing in the extreme, including five uncharacteristic finishes in the 20s. "We spent the week trying to get the tune of the boat right," explained Samba Pa Ti tactician Paul CAYARD (USA). "Basically we used a brand new mainsail and it wasn't what we thought it was, so it took us a while to get things sorted out with the tune. We got going better yesterday afternoon and then today we went a bit more in the same direction and had good speed and had two great starts and were out in front from the get-go which helped a lot."
Nerone held on to second place overall, having scored some better results than yesterday's, while the fight for third place was closely fought between five boats. Steve and Fred HOWE's (USA) Warpath eventually beat Steve PHILLIPS' Le Renard for third place.
With the 2004 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds over, the main contenders in the class do not have long to wait before the next running of this regatta - set to take place on Sydney Harbour on 1-4 March, 2005. Full results are available on the event website at the address below.