One team that has been focussed on Newport ever since their victory at the 2005 Worlds in Sydney, Australia is current World Champion Richard PERINI's (AUS) Evolution, from Sydney. To win a second World Cup among what many call the toughest one design fleet racing in the world, his Evolution team will need to focus on flawless boat handling and a little luck as Newport's fall weather conditions can be tricky to analyze.
'One of the things we've improved on our team is eliminating our condition specific weakness,' said PERINI. 'We used to do poorly in light air, but we're pretty comfortable now. We don't have a favourite condition, but given the choice we like more wind than less… We're quite comfortable in all conditions.'
The fleet in Sydney was 28 boats strong and included many of the 2006 entries. The fleet in Newport may be tougher to compete in, not only because of its size, but for the fact that every boat has been training for this moment, selecting the very best amateur and professional crew members. Four teams that will be hard to beat include four World Champion teams: 2004/1998 World Champion and Newport summer resident Jim RICHARDSON (USA) on Barking Mad with tactician Terry HUTCHINSON (USA) of Emirates Team New Zealand and Morgan TRUBOVICH (USA) of BMW ORACLE Racing; 2003 World Champion Massimo MEZZAROMA (ITA) and Antonio SODO MIGLIORI (ITA) on Nerone with tactician Hamish PEPPER (NZL), an Olympian and America's Cup tactician; 2002 World Champion Steve PHILLIPS (USA) on Le Renard with tactician Mark REYNOLDS (USA), the two-time Olympic Gold medallist; and 1999 World Champion Ernesto BERTARELLI (SUI) on Alinghi with tactician Brad BUTTERWORTH (NZL), three-time America's Cup winner and skipper of Team Alinghi, current holder of the America's Cup.
The team on PERINi's Evolution also will be up against their countrymen aboard Matt ALLEN's (AUS) Ichi Ban and Lang WALKER's (AUS) Kokomo, seventh and 14th, respectively, in 2005. 'Matt has had some good results since he's been racing in Newport,' said PERINI of Ichi Ban's recent triumph in the 16 boat Farr 40 class at the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. 'He is the only thing we have as a bench mark for our team.'
More Big Names
Another team PERINI looks at as serious competition is Mascalzone Latino, the eponymous entry of Vincenzo ONORATO (ITA). With tactician Russell COUTTS (NZL), the three-time America's Cup winner and two-time ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year on the team, ONORATO has a good chance of winning the Worlds, something he has attempted since joining the class in 2000. This year alone, ONORATO has won the Rolex Farr 40 European Championship, the Sardinia Rolex Cup, Rolex Capri Sailing Week and Acura Key West Race Week. 'Vincenzo has been doing really well, he beat us in the Rolex Trophy Series One Design in our other boat,' said PERINI of the Australian event lead up to the Rolex Sydney Hobart held over the Southern Hemisphere summer.
In addition to the World Cup, the winning skipper will be presented with a commemorative Rolex timepiece. The recently created Corinthian Trophy will be presented to the best performing team that declares itself in the Corinthian category. Basically, those teams have a maximum of two professional sailors on board and a reduced number of new sails in the calendar year. Corinthian Trophy competitors race with the rest of the fleet, and owners who register for the Corinthian trophy are also eligible for winning overall event prizes. Already, ten teams - roughly one-third of the fleet - have registered their intention to compete for this trophy. The Service Academy Trophy will be awarded to the top military academy crew. Currently, there are two such teams entered from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.
Taking place on Rhode Island Sound, daily races will use the same course configuration - short windward-leeward courses lasting a little over one hour each - under the guidance of Principal Race Officer Peter 'Luigi' REGGIO (USA) with assistance from the New York Yacht Club's Race Committee. On 1-2 September the Worlds fleet will participate in a tune-up regatta, the Belle Mer Farr 40 Pre-Worlds.