Skipper Alberto Rossi leads Italian entry to convincing victory in first event of 2014 circuit
The 2014 sailing season got off to an inauspicious start for skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team. The Italian entry hit the mark on the first upwind rounding and endured some additional difficulties during the opening race of the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship and had to scramble just to finish 10th in the 16-boat fleet.
There would be no more such problems for Enfant Terrible for the remainder of the regatta. Rossi did a superb job of steering, Vasco Vascotto was brilliant on tactics and the crew performed flawlessly as the Italians put up a steady stream of podium placements to capture the Midwinter crown in convincing fashion.
"It was a fantastic week. We had some troubles in the first race, but we sailed very, very well the rest of the way. We had 11 perfect starts and the boat was quite fast. It was a wonderful performance by the crew as our maneuvers were all good," said Rossi, who lives in the coastal city of Ancona. "Vasco did an amazing job again. He always put us in good position."
Enfant Terrible is the reigning Farr 40 world champion and picked up right where it left off last year with a top-notch display of sailing - winning six races and placing second in three others in totaling a low score of 25. Following that uncharacteristic double digit result to begin the four-day regatta, the lowest result the Italians posted was a third!
"It was a wonderful regatta with outstanding sailing conditions and the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club was very hospitable. We enjoyed ourselves immensely," Rossi said.
Andrea Caracci was aboard as navigator while Alberto Bolzan (main), Claudio Celon (headsail) and Nicolaa Dal Ferro (offside) served as trimmers. Jacopo Bagnaschi (grinder), Alberto Fantini (bow), Daniele Fiaschi (pit) and Roberto Strappati (mast) completed the crew.
"Alberto did a fantastic job on the helm. He was completely focused 100 percent of the time and started extremely well," Vascotto said. "Overall, it was an outstanding effort by the team. What few mistakes we made were my fault."
In a class that is famous for having its regattas come down to the last leg of the last race on the last day, Enfant Terrible pulled off a real rarity - basically clinching the overall victory with one race remaining. The Italians would have needed to finish last in Race 11 in order to fall out of first place.
"What we did this week is almost impossible in this class. I have sailed Farr 40s many years and have never seen that before," Vascotto said of the 14-point margin of victory over runner-up Plenty.
New York skipper Alex Roepers was pleased with the performance of the Plenty team, which was sailed together for the first time at the Midwinter Championship. Class veteran Terry Hutchinson called tactics for Roepers, who showed excellent consistency in reeling off a string of seconds, thirds and fourths. Plenty closed the regatta in style by winning Race 11 by a comfortable margin and wound up nine points ahead of third-place finisher Nightshift.
"We are very happy with the result and it's something to build on going forward. We got better as the regatta went along and had a very good final day," Roepers said. "Terry set the tone from the outset, telling the crew that we were going to be fairly conservative while we built some trust. That was a wise approach and toward the end we had developed enough confidence to be more aggressive."
McNeil and his Fleet Transit team on Nightshift led after the first day of action and was second at the end of day two. Plenty and Nightshift were separated by just two points going into the final day, which saw principal race officer John Busch complete two races in 12-14 knot westerly winds.
"It was a really fun regatta. Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club did a great job in all respects and the racing venue was excellent," said McNeil, an Annapolis resident. "We did some good things, but we definitely have more work to do. Third isn't too bad to start the season. We just have to move on and stay after it."
Six of the 16 boats sailed with a maximum of two professionals aboard and thus were eligible for the Corinthian Championship. Skipper Gordon Leon and the Foil team led at the end of racing on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but was overtaken on the final day.
Gary Ezor and his crew on Coquille stepped up strong on Saturday and wound up edging Foil by just one point. Coquille closed the gap considerably by placing sixth in Race 10, the best result of the entire regatta among the Corinthian Division entries.
"We sailed a really nice first beat. We tacked at just the right time and were steadily lifted to the mark. We passed a bunch of boats and rounded the weather mark in second, which was quite exciting," Ezor said.
Ezor, a Beverly Hills resident, is a newcomer to the Farr 40 class - having taken delivery of his boat last October. Mainsail trimmer Harry Ostoposides helped Ezor with rig setup and tune as the crew learned the boat while competing in small weekend regattas out of Del Ray Yacht Club.
To be crowned as Corinthian champ in his debut on the Farr 40 International Circuit was simply thrilling for Ezor, who had match racing legend Scott Dickson aboard as tactician.
"We are flying high right now," Ezor said upon returning to the dock. "We had three new crew members who had never sailed on the boat before. Every day we got gradually better and the teamwork as a whole was just terrific. I'm very proud of the team. It was fun to test ourselves against the top professional teams."
The Farr 40 Class Association would like to thank the following valued supporters: Gladstone's Long Beach, Yacht Club Vodka, Kelly Marine, O'Connor and Kay Inc., North Sails, Quantum Sails and Ullman Sails. Farr 40 Midwinter Championship Top Five Results (16 boats)
1. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Italy, 10-1-1-1-1-3-1-2-2-1-2=25 points
2. Plenty, Alex Roepers, New York, 3-3-4-4-2-4-5-6-4-3-1=39
3. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD., 2-4-2-2-4-5-7-3-8-7-4=48
4. Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany, 4-2-5-5-6-11-9-1-1-8-6=58
5. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, Chicago, 1-9-7-3-9-2-2-7-13-5-3=61
For complete results: http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=975