The Farr 40 Class celebrates ten years in 2007, the same year in which ISAF celebrates its own landmark anniversary - the ISAF Centenary. Since being granted ISAF Recognized Class status in 1998 by ISAF, the class has continued to grow, attracting new owners to the helm and impressing every level of sailor along the way.
'The calibre of amateur owners driving their own boats never ceases to amaze me' said Geoff STAGG, president of Stagg Yachts, the management company behind the Farr 40 Class. 'They are captains of industry, royalty and regular people. The friendships that are made are amazing. This is to me the neatest part of the Class, along with the remarkable development of driving skills. The passion the owners have for their class is its strength and success today.'
The Farr 40 Class maintains an extensive international schedule that revolves around regional fleets in the USA, Australia, Southern Europe and the Nordic region. In 2007, the European Circuit added three new events - the Nordic Farr 40 Championship in Hankø, Norway (5-8 July); the Skaw Farr 40 Race Week in Skagen, Denmark (12-14 July); and Rolex Baltic Week (17-19 August in Neustadt, Germany) - in addition to the Rolex Capri Sailing Week (16-19 May in Capri, Italy) and the Rolex Settimana Della Bocche (6-9 June in Porto Cervo, Italy), where 21 boats vied for the Farr 40 European Championship. Many teams have planned to participate in the entire European circuit with an eye toward the ultimate competition: the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds.
'Having our class's tenth World Championship in Denmark is a remarkable barometer of the growth in the class,' said Jim RICHARDSON (USA), the president of the Farr 40 Class. 'Two years ago Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark began competing with his Farr 40 and it is through his enthusiastic passion for the Farr 40 Class and love of his homeland that inspired us to site the 2007 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds in the Danish capital city. Our tenth World Championship marks the first ever Worlds to be contested in Nordic waters. It will also be the first ever Worlds sailed using masthead spinnakers, which promises to add even more excitement for competitors and spectators alike.'
RICHARDSON is the class's fourth president, after John CALVERT-JONES (AUS), Lord Irvine LAIDLAW (MON) and Steve GARLAND (USA). GARLAND owned the first Farr 40 Wired and competed in the early days against all of them and other charter owners such as RICHARDSON on his Barking Mad; CALVERT-JONES on his Southern Star; and Marcus BLACKMORE (AUS).
BLACKMORE, who campaigned the well-known Farr 40 Emotional Hooligan, took a hiatus from racing to learn to fly helicopters. He enthusiastically returned to competition in 2006 at the Australian Farr 40 Circuit, finishing fifth for the season and is planning on competing in Denmark with his new Hooligan. According to BLACKMORE, who has planned on returning to the Australian circuit after the Worlds and then travelling to Florida to train for the 2008 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, his homecoming is based on two things. 'The camaraderie among the international fleet is part of the cement of the class,' he said. 'The owners collectively decide where to go racing and they are seriously involved in the racing. They don't just sit there on the rail writing checks; they steer their own boats. Because of all of this, the success of the Farr 40 is fairly evident.'
New Owners, New Boats
The Farr 40 Class continues to attract yachtsmen to the sport. Olli-Pekka LUMIJARVI (FIN) made a stunning debut on his Siragusawa at the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, finishing an impressive fourth, two points behind 2003 World Champion Massimo MEZZAROMA (ITA) on Nerone. William DOUGLASS (USA) and a new Ukrainian owner have both commissioned new Farr 40s for the upcoming season.
Stagg Yachts has teamed up with U.S. Watercraft to build new Farr 40s. In the past year, they built new models of Barking Mad for RICHARDSON; Kokomo for Lang WALKER (AUS); Mascalzone Latino for Vincenzo ONORATO (ITA); Nanoq for HRH Crown Prince Frederik; Nerone for MEZZAROMA; Opus One for Wolfgang STOLZ (GER) ; and Twins for Erik MARIS (FRA). Eight Farr 40s are currently being built and include: Ichi Ban for Matt ALLEN (AUS); yet another new Kokomo for WALKER; Mean Machine for Peter DE RIDDER (NED); and Morning Glory for Hasso PLATTNER (GER). Most are expected to participate in the 2007 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds.
Tremendous support comes from class partner Rolex S.A. 'A new four-year sponsorship agreement through the end of 2010 was signed with Rolex in Capri last month,' said STAGG. 'The Farr 40 Class, Stagg Yachts and indeed yachting in general is blessed to have such a supportive sponsor as Rolex. They play a huge part in the success of the Class and are wonderful partners to have.'