LONG BEACH, CALIF. (May 15, 2014) – As temperatures in Southern California soared to record highs, the 19-strong fleet competing in the 2014 Rolex Farr 40 North Americans took to the Pacific Ocean for three races on day two of the championship series. The competitors had been postponed ashore while the breeze worked into race-worthy condition, but by 1230 racing was underway through the flawless teamwork of the Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC) Race Committee led by John Busch.
“We had three nice starts, and that helps a lot,” said Germany’s Wolfgang Schaefer on the docks after racing. In the first race of the day Schaefer’s Struntje light led the fleet at the second mark and kept that position to cross the line first, ahead of Annapolis’ Kevin McNeil at the helm of Nightshift and Chicago’s Helmut Jahn and his team on Flash Gordon 6. “We are probably one of the crew with the most miles on our flight tickets to come here, because eight of 10 [of the crew] came from Europe,” continued Schaefer. “That means the investment – time-wise, commitment-wise – for us is very high. But, we all agree that this investment was fantastic.”
Schaefer has been in the class since 2000 and currently serves as its vice-president, while also serving as vice-president of the ORC (Offshore Racing Congress), giving him unique perspective on the sport. “I must say the Farr 40 class is extremely good. The boat is good. The guys that are sailing with these boats are some of the best in the world. And I know from my country the guys are looking to the Farr 40. The reason is the boat is good, but the key point is the class is fantastic. The owners are absolutely great and the leadership in the class is good, and I can say that because I am not the President. The class holds up perfect: we have restricted sails and restricted professionals, and most of all we have the owner-driver rule.”
New York’s Alex Roepers, who has been racing the Farr 40 since 2007 had started the day leading the overall standings, only to finish ninth in the first race of the day. For the subsequent two races, however, the fleet’s view of PLENTY was primarily of her transom. “We’re winning more races,” said Roepers when asked about the season thus far. “Obviously with Terry [Hutchinson] we’ve stepped it up a bit, and we’ve also grown in experience, I think. Better boat, better sails and the crew we try to improve all the time and I think Terry as tactician helps a lot. When Terry came onboard I gave him free reign on the crew. I’ve known Terry for 17 years. I know his style, and he knows my style, and he and I clicked right away.”
Roepers allowed that his style is disciplined and very focused. “No gibberish on the boat; just really doing our jobs. I stick to what I need to do which is drive the boat fast, and I delegate full responsibility for the boat to him. What he demands from people on the boat is strong, and I encourage that. He does it in a way where he is respected but still tough. I like that kind of program. It works for me.”
Roepers continues to hold the lead in the overall standings with 19 points after six races. By adding two second-place finishes to his win of the day’s first race, Schaefer moved from fourth to second overall, trailing Roepers by just two points. Chicago’s Helmut Jahn on Flash Gordon 6, the 2012 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, retains third overall with 25 points after finishes of 4-7-2 in today’s races. 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Alberto Rossi, on the Italian-flagged Enfant Terrible, dropped from second overall to fourth with finishes of 6-3-11 and is tied on points (32) with Annapolis’ Kevin McNeil, on Nightshift, who posted finishes of 2-4-9 today.
Action at the Rolex Farr 40 North Americans continues Friday, May 16, and concludes Saturday, May 17, from Long Beach Yacht Club.
Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its OYSTER watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the OYSTER, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the PERPETUAL rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic and patronage programs.