by Di Pearson
With racing due to get underway tomorrow for the Mumm 30 North American Championships in the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport, presented by Rolex, Sydneysider Richard Perini and his crew aboard Foreign Affair have been touted by the American's as the 'leading contender' for the title.
Foreign Affair's closest competition will come from Dan Cheresh's Chicago-based Team Intermec, which has performed outstandingly on the U.S. Mumm 30 Circuit.
Prior to leaving Australia for the event, Foreign Affair crewmember Jason Rowed said around 15 entries were expected, including all the top US contenders. He said 'It will have been five to six weeks since our last major regatta and once we arrive in New York, we will spend the three days prior to the regatta start in tuning the boat, then training with a coach to get back into sync.'
Rowed pointed out that 'The Mumm class restricts the number of new sails each year. This cuts costs substantially, making the class even more attractive to prospective one-design racers but you need to make sure you get the right sails to begin with. In other classes where you don't have this rule, most owners will buy new sails for each regatta.'
However as Doyle VP of Offshore One Design, John Baxter explained, 'With the durability of Doyle-Fraser's latest technology D4, the sail restrictions are not a problem for the hard campaigning Foreign Affair team.'
Richard Perini and his crew have become a major threat on the Mumm circuit, improving with each regatta since their first major event at the Worlds in Italy last year where they finished 12th. Their impressive record includes wins at Key West Race Week in Florida and the recent Newport Gold Cup in Newport.
Perini attributes the team's successes to making sure the boat is prepared properly for each regatta, their Doyle Fraser D4 sail wardrobe and their tight-knit permanent crew of Darren Jones, Stan Eldershaw, Toby Bristow, Jason Rowed, Capucine Pin from Annapolis and Long Beach tactician Steve Flam.
Team Manager Darren Jones said, 'When we launched, we had a two-year goal of winning the Worlds in France next year, but the way we've been sailing, we're certainly capable of winning here and in Annapolis. We're consistently in the top six, and I guess if you're in that position and luck goes your way, anything can happen.'
Organisers are planning 2-3 races over the three days, then Perini and crew will return to Sydney before travelling to Chicago in August to contest the Chicago NOOD, which will be their final regatta before they return to America to contest the Mumm 30 Worlds to be held in September.