The docks of the Casa de Campo Marina were buzzing again today as competitors completed sail measurement, weigh-ins and registration in advance of the start of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, which begins tomorrow, Wednesday, April 21 and continues through Saturday, April 24
This past weekend, teams had two days of ‘practice’ and a chance to eye the competition in the Pre-Worlds which, after five races, saw Lisa & Martin Hill’s Estate Master (AUS) coming out on top.
Yesterday was a layday as teams took to the links — skippers, crew members, and friends competed in a charity fundraising golf tournament on the famed Pete Dye-designed “Teeth of the Dog” golf course. Monies raised from the tournament will be donated to benefit the Haitian disaster relief effort, through Partners in Health (PIH), a Boston-based non-profit organization that has been on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. For more information, go to www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti.
On hand in Casa de Campo is the defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, Barking Mad (USA). Owner/skipper Jim Richardson and tactician Terry Hutchinson are returning with many of their prior Worlds crew.
Onshore after a few hours on the water, looking at sails and lining up with a few of the competitors, Richardson said, “A World Championship is not just another regatta, so we look at it pretty seriously. There aren’t a lot of teams here, but all the ones here are really good. Of the ten boats here about seven have won big regattas in the past, and the other three have been in the top three or knocked on the door.
Richardson, who is also President of the Farr 40 Class, was enthusiastic about the choice of the location at Casa de Campo. He said, “The venue is fantastic. It’s just a beautiful marina. The facilities are great, the sailing conditions are quite good, and you don’t have to go very far offshore to have a racecourse. The rest of the ambience is sensational – we’re very pleased with the venue.”
All eyes will be on Barking Mad – three time winners of the Worlds in 1998, 2004, and 2009 – to see if they can make it an unprecedented four times.
Tactician Terry Hutchinson, an America’s Cup sailor and multiple world champion, talked about Barking Mad’s overall strategy, he said “Inevitably, the beginning of the regatta, you sail for a chance to be in the regatta on Saturday. And so it’s about sailing smart, and sailing clean and not putting the boat in any high-risk spots.
“One of the things that’s unique about the fleet size this year is it’s easier to be controlled in a ten-boat fleet than in a 25-30 boat fleet. A lot of our success last year came in one race where we were able to battle our way out of a bad start but always sail fast, away from the fleet. I would suspect at this venue that it will be more difficult to get the necessary leverage to get around boats, because the fleet size isn’t as big and everyone is going relatively fast.”
Racing is being organised by the Casa de Campo Yacht Club and the Farr 40 Class Association. Racing will be led by Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio, with Henry Menin as Jury Chairman. The Race Committee intends to conduct as many races as practical on each scheduled day of racing, with up to a maximum of ten races for the series. Tomorrow’s weather forecast calls for light easterly winds, 8 – 10 knots. First warning signal will be at 1100.
The event is being hosted by the Casa de Campo Marina and the Casa de Campo Yacht Club. Gianfranco Fini, the CCYC Commodore, is also the architect whose vision of a Mediterranean-style village and marina came to life in the fall of 2001. Fini said, “When I came here with a friend to design some villas, I loved to sail and I was surprised that there wasn’t this type of marina in the Dominican Republic. Like a little fishing village, you can leave your boat and eat something in a little restaurant and drink something in a little bar. So this is the spirit of the marina – like all the little harbours in the Mediterranean. So I did the project, and before they started with the construction, all the slips and apartments were sold. We built everything at the same time – harbour, apartments, and villas – in three years.”
The Casa de Campo Marina is one of the most impressive yacht facilities in the Caribbean with over 350 slips, dockage for 250′ superyachts, and a shipyard with a 120 ton lift. In addition there are over 100 apartments and nearby villas, as well as the Piazza Portofino with its restaurants and cafÃ©s.
Gianfranco Fini was clearly elated to see the event on hand despite numerous challenges, he said, “Thanks to all the skippers and crews that are here – because in these difficult economic times, where overall entry levels at big regattas are down – the fact that we have this level of magnitude is still in itself a very good thing.
“From the first time that I started to work on the project of the regatta, I was thinking about the possibility of bringing the best regatta to this area: the Farr 40s. I contacted Jim Richardson and Geoff Stagg and went to Miami and Key West to the Farr 40 events. The preparation was very hard, but it is a wonderful pleasure to at last see this dream become reality.”
For more information about the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, including entry list, crew lists, and media accreditation, please visit www.farr40worlds.com.
Rolex Farr 40 Worlds – Entry list
(Name, Country, Owner/Helmsman, Tactician)
- Barking Mad (USA), Jim Richardson, Terry Hutchinson
- Enfant Terrible (ITA), Alberto Rossi, Pietro D’Ali
- Estate Master (AUS), Martin Hill, Hamish Pepper
- Fiamma (ITA), Alessandro Barnaba, Ray Davies
- Flash Gordon 6 (USA), Helmut & Evan Jahn, Bill Hardesty
- Goombay Smash (USA), Doug Douglass, Ian Walker
- Nerone (ITA), Alberto Signorini, Vasco Vascotto
- Plenty (USA), Alex Roepers, Tony Rey
- Struntje Light (GER), Wolfgang Schaefer, Jes Gram Hansen
- Transfusion (AUS), Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, Tom Slingsby