The Rolex Farr 40 Worlds series held at Casa de Campo from April 21 to 24 was decided on the final race of the final day, raced in front of a huge spectator fleet from rubber ducks to 25 meter sport fishers.
Massimo Mezzaroma's Nerone (ITA) ended the day lauded champion over a field of ten boats, for the second time (first in 2003), having fought tooth and nail in a gladiatorial arena worthy of a blockbuster film. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis' Transfusion (AUS) were beaten at the last, but certainly not disgraced. The next Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will be held in Sydney in February 2011. What a rematch in prospect.
The final day started early. Principal Race Officer, Peter Reggio, knew he was in charge of a Worlds, and was determined to give the participants every chance to complete the scheduled ten races, in spite of losing the entire second day due to wind conditions.
For once the wind played ball – three races were held, all at the highest intensity, with the three main protagonists in contention for the laurels at the fore every time. Defending champion, Jim Richardson's Barking Mad (USA), chose the last day to put together their best daily tally of the series, scoring 2, 3, 1. The Australians on Transfusion held a two-point cushion at the start of the day; all they had to do was keep in front of Nerone. Easier said than done – Transfusion's three-point advantage dissolved early into a one-point deficit.
The third race of the day, and tenth of the series as a whole, was sailed in a gusting, building breeze that at times caught the Farr 40 crews off-guard, especially as they headed downwind. The previous days of light-wind sailing had perhaps softened the usual battle-hardened edge. Barking Mad took the race, leading from start to finish, while behind her there were twists and turns aplenty.
To those watching Transfusion and Nerone seemed inseparable, bound by a piece of elastic. However far apart they separated they always came back together. Initially, Nerone held the advantage, but the Aussies never gave up. In the circumstances, it looked all over by the second windward mark, but the run was in unsettling conditions: the strongest winds of the championship and sea-state stirred by the machinations of the avid spectator fleet. Transfusion tried their best, throwing a couple of gybes at Nerone, trying to draw an error. The Italians, though, had scented victory and sailed impeccably, even managing to roll over the top of Transfusion into second place. The noise and celebration started before the line was crossed. Nerone had won their second World Championship and deservedly so. Class Manager, Geoff Stagg, had commented the night before that "it takes luck as well as skill to win the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds." Nerone had certainly ridden the bucking bronco of luck most adeptly over the last four days.
The victor, Mezzaroma, said, "After last year at the Worlds in Sardinia we were a bit sad because losing in the last race of the series is very tough. This time we won! Sometimes it comes, sometimes it goes."
The 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will take place February 23 – 26, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. For this year's complete results: www.farr40worlds.com.
Report from information submitted by Rolex Farr 40 Worlds