The action on Rhode Island Sound was fast and furious on the penultimate day of the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Newport, R.I., as the 15 teams contesting the 16th edition of this championship were challenged by three races sailed under a low cloud ceiling.
The first race started in 12 knots of steady breeze from the north-northeast, which increased over the three races to 17 knots.
"We did a lot of back and forth before the start to get our rig tuned properly and we think that helped us a lot,"
said Kevin McNeil (USA) who stands first overall with his team on Nightshift
after finishes of 2-5-3 today for 26 cumulative points with two races to go in the series. "We got pinned a little when the Italians [Enfant Terrible] came over and tacked on us and pushed us out. Strategically it was the right thing to do as they pushed us back a little bit and got another boat in front of us. We hung in there. We'll just continue doing what we're doing. Everybody is tuned in and doing their job, and they're doing a great job. I'm just the jockey; they [the crew] really pull it off. We had good clean starts today, which were helpful. The boat was going really well. We went fast upwind and downwind. We had a couple of little mistakes, but all in all it turned out pretty well. So we're very happy, but we're cautiously optimistic."
When asked about his strategy for the final day of racing, McNeil added, "A lot could happen tomorrow in two races. Too bad hope is not a strategy."
The point spread from first to second overall only diminished by one point, but the team breathing down McNeil's back switched from local sailor Jim Richardson's Barking Mad to Alberto Rossi's Enfant Terrible. Rossi won the first race of the day, while Richardson took the wins of the next two races. With 32 cumulative points, Richardson is now only two points out of second, and six points off the lead, as he works to claim his fourth world championship title in the class.
"Tomorrow is a new day,"
said Richardson on the dock after racing. "With two races remaining there is a lot of potential… and a lot of danger out there as well. On the other hand, we don't really have anything to lose because we're not winning. You don't' feel like you need to defend as much as attack, so we'll see how it plays out. Nightshift has been sailing great. Kevin's a terrific sailor, Commodore of Annapolis Yacht Club, and he's a great guy. He's sailing really well, but he's always been a great sailor. They've put it together here. They've got a solid crew and he's sailing great. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to lose to him, but we'll try not to. He deserves to be where he is right now. Enfant they're always there [at the top of the competition]. It's going to be a fight to the finish. Right now it's looking like a three boat regatta."
Asked why he is still racing in this class after 16 years, Richardson added, "I love the fact that the boats are so evenly matched and the racing is so tight. We have some really great people in the class; the world's best tacticians and amateur sailors, and great owners. And, they're fun boats to sail. I've been a part of it for a long time and hopefully will continue to be."
As the hometown favorite, Richardson acknowledged it would mean a great deal to win in Newport. "It's great sailing in Newport. We've battled a long time and you just feel if you win this event you've done something really special. We haven't won since 2009, and it would be nice to be back on the top again. We would be very, very happy to win here."
Eight countries are represented in the fleet of 15 boats which are racing from New York Yacht Club's Harbour Court clubhouse overlooking Newport harbor. Racing concludes Friday, August 30, when the winner of the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will be crowned.
2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship Results
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Country, Results; Total Points
1. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, USA, 2-8-3-1-2-2-5-3; 26
2. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, ITA, 5-5-8-3-1-1-2-5; 30
3. Barking Mad, James Richardson, USA, 4-3-6-2-6-9-1-1; 32
4. Charisma, Nico Poons, MON, 1-1-1-11-9-16/DSQ-4-2; 45
5. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, USA, 7-2-2-9-8-6-13-4; 51
6. Asterisk Uno, Hasip Gencer, TUR, 9-7-4-4-4-5-14-9; 56
7. Nanoq, HRH Prince Frederik, DEN, 6-6-7-14-7-4-9-6; 59
8. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer, GER, 13-10-5-5-3-13-7-8; 64
9. PLENTY, Alexander Roepers, USA, 3-9-12-13-5-11-3-11; 67
10. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, AUS, 11-4-11-7-11-10-6-7; 67
11. Endorphin, Erik Wulff, USA, 8-12-9-12-13-7-11-10; 82
12. Groovederci, John Demourkas, USA, 12-15-13-8-12-3-8-12; 83
13. Flojito y Cooperando, Bernard Minkow/Julian Fernandez, MEX, 15-11-15-6-14-12-10-13; 96
14. White Knight, Zoltan Katinsky, USA, 10-14-14-10-10-14-12-14; 98
15. Oakcliff Racing, Seth Cooley, USA, 14-13-10-15-15-8-15-15; 105
For more information about the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds please visit www.farr40worlds.com