2-5 July 2003
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy

Latest info and photos on www.regattanews.com

Press Release
5th July 2003

Nerone crowned World Champion on a busy, windy day.
Illbruck’s Nela keeps second, Coumantaros' Bambakou takes third

The fourth day of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship saw Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori crowned as the new world champion after another impressive performance. Three races were run on the last day of the event, and Mezzaroma’s team, which includes tactician Vasco Vascotto, had effectively won the regatta with a race to spare after posting a 2nd and a 1st in the first two races. Second overall was Michael Illbruck’s Nela and third was Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad.

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Race Committee succeeded in its ambitious task of catching up on yesterday’s lost races, nine of the ten scheduled races were run. Wind conditions today were again near the top of the range although sunshine and warm waters meant that spectacular action and enjoyment was again to the fore.

Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio had brought the fleet out an hour earlier than originally scheduled to try and get three races in, the early rise not suiting Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad however as the dark blue American boat was recalled from a premature start in the first race. The 37-boat fleet opted mostly for the left hand side of the course again although the first two boats at the top mark, Scott Harris and Alex Geremia’s Crocodile Rock and Michael Illbruck’s Nela found the right to be the side to be on, rounding the first mark in the top two slots, with the ever present Nerone following round in third place. The order remained the same for the next lap until Mezzaroma’s boat again found overdrive on the last run to collect a handy second place.

The second start saw Richardson’s Barking Mad win the start at the committee boat end and storm off upwind. The points leader Nerone starting further down the line and Mark Heeley’s GBR-25 all came together near the starboard tack layline for a long stretch to the mark on port. With Heeley to windward and Nerone to leeward the Richardson’s American boat was eventually squeezed back into the pack, the former two rounding the mark in good order behind Vincenzo Onorato’s Breeze and Michael Illbruck’s lately consistent Nela.

The port tack layline near the weather mark is always a dangerous place to be. Now firmly in the pack on the approach to the top mark Barking Mad on port, just got across the bow of Crocodile Rock before throwing in a hasty tack to windward. Crocodile Rock promptly came up right in the wind shadow, the crew on the weather rail could just watch as the mainsheet trimmer on Barking Mad eased the sheet to accelerate letting the boom run along the side of the leeward boat removing all the stanchions and lifelines to the mast, the last crewmember in the line sitting out to windward, co-owner Alex Germia, also collecting the boom in her face. Crocodile Rock retired, Barking Mad flew an ‘I’ flag accepting a 20% penalty, but the incident was to cost Richardson dearly when he ended up in the protest room later, was disqualified and lost any remaining chances of winning the championship.

Back at the front of the fleet Onorato’s Breeze led all the way down the run and opted for the port rounding of the gate and the right hand side of the second beat. Breeze lost one place on the second beat to Eivind Astrup’s Norwegian Steam before the second weather mark and then lost another four when the spinnaker sheet became disconnected from the sail in the set. Mezzaroma’s Nerone, along with Wolgang Schaefer’s Struntje Light, pounced at this point and moved through to eventually finish first and second at the finish line, with Illbruck’s Nela finishing in third.

By now the battle was for second place overall with Nerone having only to finish out of third last place to collect overall honours. Illbruck’s Nela, with John Kostecki calling the shots, had started the regatta slowly but had had nothing but a string of single digit results from the second day. Ultimately it was John Coumantaris’ Bambakou that collected third overall, followed by Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi in fourth.

The next Rolex Farr 40 Worlds will be in San Francisco in September 2004.


“There are no words to describe how happy we feel as a crew right now. We have travelled all over the world for the last three years sailing Farr 40 regattas, but it was here at home with an all Italian crew that we became world champions with the biggest ever fleet. This is a 100% crew victory. For the last three years we have spent 10-12 weeks together as a crew, racing, training, travelling. It has all been worth it.”
Massimo Mezzaroma, owner of Nerone, winner of the 2003 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

“Anyone who knows this class knows how hard it is to stay in touch. We had three bad starts at the beginning of the championship but then we settled in and things just ticked. Our objective was to finish in the top ten here. We are new in this class we have sailed only five events and to finish in second place is unbelievable. The intensity in this class is full time, and full on. There is no room for excuses. Mistakes cost dearly.”
Michael Illbruck, owner of Nela, second overall in the 2003 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds.

“It was great to win the last race. We won the last race at the Worlds in 2001 too. Its been a bit of a local Derby between ourselves and Alinghi, our tactician Grant Simmer is the head of the design team for Alinghi and we beat Ernesto and the boys by one place, so we’re pretty pleased about that. We’ve only used the Heavy and No 4 headsails all week. It has been a strong sailors’ regatta. Nerone has been working hard for three years. I first noticed them in Newport in 2001, they were already a well organised team. The key is commitment and consistency, they have showed both, they never had a bad race. We started in 27th place at the beginning of the week and we finish today with a win, we’ve progressed every day.”
John Calvert-Jones, owner of Southern Star, winner of the last race of the 2003 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, fifth overall.