When the Farr 40s arrive in the Dominican Republic later next month, 21-24 April, all eyes will be on the defending World Champion, Jim Richardson's Barking Mad (USA).
A three-time Rolex Farr 40 World Champion in 2009 (Porto Cervo), 2004 (San Francisco), and 1998 (Miami), Richardson will be back with most of his all-star crew, including tactician Terry Hutchinson
(USA), 2008 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in the USA.
The 2010 venue - the second time the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship has been hosted in the Caribbean - makes full use of the stunning 7,000 acre Casa de Campo Resort and Marina located on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic. The Marina offers great access to sailing conditions the Caribbean is well known for: steady south-easterly breezes, turquoise waters and shirt-sleeve sailing.
Lining up Barking Mad in their sights, will be more than a few teams who have proven in the past that they are capable of winning not just races, but more importantly whole series: Helmut Jahn on Flash Gordon 6 (USA) with tactician Bill Hardesty (USA), won the 2009 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship and is fresh from winning the Farr 40 class at the 2010 Miami Grand Prix last week. Most of the Miami fleet will be moving on to the Dominican Republic and if the racing in Florida, where Flash Gordon held off second placed Nerone (ITA) by a mere point, is any indication, the Worlds will be hotly contested.
Jahn, who shares helming duties with his son, Evan, said about Miami, "We moved up [in the standings] every day, we didn't let ourselves get too excited, just another race, and another, and then it came down to the last one. The lead changed every day; we had to win the first race on the last day, and we did, but three boats could still have won the regatta."
Jahn is pragmatic as he attributes Flash Gordon's success to more time in the boat with the same core team, "we're doing better lately, more focused, fewer mistakes, as well prepared as can be, but still something can always go wrong!"
Finishing second in Miami, behind Flash Gordon, was Massimo Mezzaroma (ITA), on Nerone, with tactician Vasco Vascotto
(ITA) onboard. Nerone was the 2003 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion and 2009 European Champion.
Still other teams offer up a strong challenge, including Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on Transfusion (AUS), with tactician Tom Slingsby
(AUS), who last week in Sydney won the 2010 Farr 40 Australian Championship for the second year in a row; Wolfgang Schaefer on Struntje Light (GER); Doug Douglass on Goombay Smash (USA), with tactician Morgan Larson
(USA); Alex Roepers on Plenty (USA), with tactician Tony Rey
(USA); Alberto Rossi on Enfant Terrible (ITA); Lisa & Martin Hill on Estate Master (AUS), with tactician Hamish Pepper
(NZL); and Alessandro Barnaba on Fiamma (ITA). New to the Farr 40 fleet this past year is Nico Poons on Charisma (MON), who is the reigning Swan 45 World Champion.
Richardson, defending World Champion and Farr 40 Class President said, "We are very much looking forward to the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. With 11 strong teams representing Italy, Germany, Australia, Monaco and the United States, we are expecting a highly competitive regatta. As evidenced by the recently concluded Miami Grand Prix Race Week, where four different boats led after each day of racing, the Class remains incredibly balanced. Our Barking Mad team knows we will have our hands full defending the Championship we won a year ago in Porto Cervo.?
"Having scouted the venue personally, we are certain that the sailing conditions and ambience of this venue will be second to none. Great sailing, tropical weather and Casa de Campo, a spectacular five-star resort, make all the ingredients for a fantastic championship. We can't wait to get there next month!"
To date, the Farr 40 class is well represented with 11 entries from five countries. The fleet will warm up with two days of racing in the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-World Championships on Saturday 17 April and Sunday 18 April. The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship racing begins on Wednesday 21 April and finishes on Saturday 24 April.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is organized by the Casa de Campo Yacht Club and the Farr 40 Class Association. The racing will be held in the waters off La Romana, Dominican Republic. Racing will be led once again by Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio, with Henry Menin as Jury Chairman. The Race Committee intends to conduct as many races as practicable on each scheduled day of racing, with up to a maximum of ten races for the series.
A charity fundraising golf tournament for the competitors, on the famed Pete Dye-designed "Teeth of the Dog" golf course, will be held on Monday, 19 April. Monies raised from the tournament will be donated to benefit the Haitian disaster relief effort, through Partners in Health (PIH), a Boston-based non-profit organization that has been on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. PIH operates world-renowned clinics and health care programs with 120 doctors and nearly 500 nurses and nursing assistants in eight sites across Haiti. For more information, go to www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti
For more information about the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, including entry lists and media accreditation please visit www.farr40worlds.com