Rock wins only race in limit conditions
Nerone still ahead overall
third day of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championships proved to be a short one with
only one race being sailed in the ever windy conditions. With 25 knots blowing
across the course by late morning and more forecast for the afternoon, the Yacht
Club Costa Smeraldas Race Committee, headed by Peter Reggio, brought the
fleet to a more sheltered part of the Costa Smeralda coastline, inside Caprera
Island. The highly spectacular race was won by Scott Harris and Alexia Geremias
Crocodile Rock but it is still Massimo Mezzaromas Nerone that leads overall.
short delay before the start saw the 37-boat fleet make final preparations for
what was going to be a physical race on a new race track area that many of the
entries had not sailed before. Due to shoal water on one side and the physical
extremities of the landlocked bay a course of only 1.9 miles could be set. The
fleet seemed more interested in the right hand side of the course, due to the
shelter offered from the current by the Southern tip of Caprera Island. The same
piece of land also meant a tack back onto starboard below the final weather mark
layline, meaning the beat was indeed complex.
favoured right hand side meant plenty of congestion at the committee boat end
and overall leader Nerone misjudged the approach and were blocked out to weather
of the line at the gun, eventually crossing the startline in last position. Initially
the left hand side looked favoured but half way up the leg when those that had
chosen the right side started to feel the benefits of the tidal shelter starting
last proved to be far from fatal, with Nerone moving swiftly through the fleet
and back into contention. And indeed at the top mark those that were still unconvinced
about the wind driven current had a sharp lesson as they saw what looked like
a good layline call to the mark fall short by the time they reached the turn.
Several boats in the cluster approaching the mark missed the buoy and finding
no way out had to bare away and gybe around for another attempt to find the true
layline, only to be confronted with a wall of starboard tack boats ultimately
requiring a second go around and the loss of 20 places.
Richardson, owner of Barking Mad, has consistently been a leader at the first
mark right through this regatta and today he rounded the top mark in the lead
again. Next back was Crocodile Rock and Ernesto Bertarellis Alinghi. The
run was nothing other than fast with flat water and strong gusts propelling the
fleet straight downwind. Gybing was an adventure for many, but the strong gusts
were the real danger, boats that werent already planing when the gusts hit
loaded up and many broached out one way or the other. The trick was to anticipate
their arrival, make sure the boat was planing fast so that the gust just meant
another few knots added to the already mid-teens boatspeed.
was key today and the leaders showed how easy it is to pull away from the pack
of boats that werent so foot sure with the various manoeuvres required.
By the first leeward gate Tony DeMulders Victric VII had passed Alinghi
and then opted for the starboard hand leeward mark leaving Barking Mad and Crocodile
Rock to head for the right hand side of the course for the second weather leg.
By now the top ten had broken away from the following pack, the consensus still
being to work the right hand side of the course, exploiting the shifts on the
By the last
weather mark, and with the wind building all the time, Crocodile Rock and Barking
Mad were effectively overlapped, with Barking Mad to weather. Jim Richardsons
dark blue hull with a bit more speed on the spreader leg, rolled up beside the
leader who then luffed to keep the agressor behind. Victric VII, just behind,
used the opportunity to drive in to leeward and hoist the spinnaker before the
others. The three way race for the lead lasted all the way down the high speed
run, the boats reaching speeds of 18 knots at times in the puffs. Calling the
moment for the final gybe was going to be key and once again boathandling would
decide the outcome. By the finish Crocodile Rock had escaped from Barking Mads
clutches and was now concentrating on keeping the British boat Victric VII behind
who by now had moved up to second.
consistent teams on the water today included Michael Illbrucks Nela who
with todays fourth place moves into third overall. The most consistent boat
to date is Nerone, who goes into the final day with an eight-point buffer on the
second placed boat Barking Mad. The Race Committees decision to abandon
hopes of further competition on Friday instigated an amendment to the race instructions
which will allow three races to be held tomorrow, Saturday, the first of which
will start at 10:30. The forecast is once again for fresh winds although they
should moderate in the late afternoon.Quotes:
A lot of
fun today, we were really reaching the limits of what you can do in a Farr 40.
The adrenalin was really pumping downwind. We had an average start, but we sailed
amazingly well up the first beat. When we rounded in third place I couldnt
believe it. Russell (Coutts) as ever had a great first beat. We also seemed to
have pretty good speed today.
not sure this class is any harder than it was two years ago when we won the World
Championship. We didnt do a great job at the beginning of the regatta, but
now we are getting better. The Farr 40 is the best One Design Class in the world
right now, and being consistently strong makes you win regattas.
Ernesto Bertarelli, owner/skipper of Alinghi, fifth overall after six races.