Representing 10 nations, 26 Farr 40s are ready and waiting for the start of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship today, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS).
Racing will take place from 24-27 June with a maximum of 10 races scheduled for this highly competitive class in which victory often hangs on a team's performance in the final race of the series.
(ITA), winner of the last three Farr 40 World Championships, will certainly be a frontrunner in the fleet. ONORATO fields a long-standing team on Mascalzone Latino (ITA), which includes veteran America's Cup sailor Adrian STEAD
(GBR) on tactics, 2007 match race champion Matteo SAVELLI
(ITA) and Whitbread sailor Gerry MITCHELL
(GBR). The Italian contingent also includes Giovanni MASPERO
's Joe Fly with two-time America's Cup veteran Francesco BRUNI
(ITA) calling tactics. MASPERO came second at the 2008 World Championship in Miami but did not compete in the European Circuit events in Porto Rotondo and Capri. Massimo MEZZAROMA
's Nerone, winner of the World Championship in 2003 and the European title in 2007, both held at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, is also a strong contender and has Vasco VASCOTTO
(ITA) as tactician. Mascalzone Latino and Nerone lead the current European Circuit classification followed by Alessandro BARNABA
's Fiamma (ITA) which has Olympian Tommaso CHIEFFI
(ITA) calling tactics.
The majority of the Farr 40 fleet has been in Porto Cervo for several days giving owners and teams a chance to eyeball the competition during practice sessions and making them well aware of the task ahead. "We are very determined, we hope to do well,"
affirmed MASPERO, owner of Joe Fly. "Obviously we are here to win. The strong teams to watch are Mascalzone Latino and Nerone, who won here in 2003, as well as Barking Mad, a well known American team which does very well. Goombay Smash with Morgan LARSON on tactics should also do well."
Reigning champion ONORATO was cautious: "The statistics are against us: we have won three world titles in a row, this never happened before and we know that it can't last forever! This will be an interesting worlds for us, a very competitive world championship, but if we have a Mistral wind, tactically it will be simple and this means that a lot of boats can come through. On the water in these past few days I have seen that the Australians are very good, also the new team, Transfusion: they are very fast."
Aside from Transfusion, which has 2008 Laser World Champion Tom SLINGSBY
(AUS) calling tactics, a number of strong international participants will be vying for victory. Australian entries Estate Master, owned by Lisa and Martin HILL, and Lang WALKER's (AUS) Kokomo both have strong teams. Estate Master boasts 2008 49er World Champion Nathan OUTTERIDGE
(AUS) and 2008 470 Men's Olympic gold medallist Malcolm PAGE
(AUS), while Kokomo can call on the expertise of tactician Colin BEASHEL
(AUS), 1983 America's Cup winner with Australia II and 1998 Star World Champion. Jim RICHARDSON (USA), President of the Farr 40 class and two-time winner (1998, 2004) of the Farr 40 World Championship, is competing aboard his Barking Mad (USA) with tactician Terry HUTCHINSON
(USA), the 2008 US SAILING's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.
Racing is scheduled to start on 24 June at 11:00. Mistral winds of 15 to 18 knots are forecast for the early afternoon which should build later in the day.