With four spectacular days and 11 races completed in Miami class winners in the inaugural Rolex Farr One Design Invitational were named today.
Italians Massimo MEZZAROMA and Antonio Sodo MIGILORI sailed their Nerone to a Farr 40 class victory and with it, the 2003 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship. In the Mumm 30 class Jack LEFORT triumphed over the nine boat fleet on his Off the Gauge to win his fourth Mumm 30 North American Championship. Peter Davidson won the Open Class on his Farr 395 Shades of Gray. Geoff Stagg, President of Farr International, presented Mezzaroma and Lefort with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.
"We are very, very happy that we won this regatta,"
said Mezzaroma, who is the current Farr 40 World Champion. "We want to dedicate our win to the 20 Italians who died in Iraq. We are very sad not to be home in Italy. This is the first time in the past 50 years that our country has been in this kind of a situation and it's very sad for us."
Mezzaroma credited his crew for today's third and first-pace finishes. They have sailed with him for the past three years. "If we cannot sail together, we don't sail,"
he said. "When you go around the world with the same nine guys for three years you know the feeling they have when they are racing. You know before something happens what's going to be the reaction. That is especially good in very tough conditions; to anticipate and solve the problems."
Samba Pa Ti, owned by Californian John KILROY went into today leading the fleet, but suffered in the shifts and finished tenth in both races, dropping them into second place overall for the regatta.
Just four points behind the past world champion, was another world champion: Jim RICHARDSON. Terry HUTCHINSON called tactics for Richardson's Barking Mad and described the twelfth place in the first race.
"We a great start at the weather end,"
he said. "We go off and Samba is there, so we say to ourselves, 'What are we racing for? Are we racing them or are we racing to win the race? We were racing to win the race.' So, there was a nice big lefty puff and we sailed up to it, tacked and sailed about three boatlengths and went into a 10 second period of no wind, literally. The guy who tacked on our hip, in our quarterwake, rolled us. The guys to leeward of us went around our bow. From that point on we were groveling."
Barking Mad went on to finish second in the second race.
Rolex Mumm 30 North American champion Lefort also sailed with a good group of friends and put together the most consistent scoreline of the regatta, with five first-place finishes and no score lower than a sixth.
"We've been sailing with pretty much the same group for almost 10 years,"
said Lefort. "It's nice we're all good friends and it's great to get together hang out. Everybody sailed really hard."
The Atlantic's shifty conditions were a constant challenge in today's two races. With a light, 5-7 knot northeasterly wind at the beginning of the day building to 12-14 knots, skippers and tacticians fought to gain an advantage with every leg.
Mezzaroma stressed the importance of having Vasco Vascotto, the multiple one-design world champion serving as tactician. "In these conditions when it's very shifty and mixed up, they are nervous conditions,"
he said. "The start was really important in both races and both times Vasco wanted to start at the boat. And we had a great start. He's spectacular."
Two-time US Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Ken READ guided Off the Gauge to its impressive string of wins. Lefort described the boat's preparation for today's races, "In the first race, we didn't do as well as we wanted to. We changed the boat up a bit for the second race and got it together."
Bambakou, owned by John COUNMANTAROS was the Rolex Race Day winner, chalking up a first and a third place finish.
Peter Davidson and the Farr 395 Shades of Gray won the Open Class.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.