by Victoria Low
Azure blue racing waters that are often complemented by the reliable winds of Key West, Florida, will form the arena for the first skirmish of the 2013 season for the Farr 400 fleet, which will race within the new High Performance Class at Quantum Key West 2013 Regatta January 20-25 2013.
Quick journey uphill. - Farr 400
Five Farr 400’s – including international entries from Norway and Dubai – will compete in Key West to open a season, which it is projected should see a growing level of activity in the USA and Europe.
The Farr 400’s hold the majority in the nine-boat HPR fleet and will also be scored for a One Design class prize. The Farr 400 fleet has attracted a pleasing mix of renowned teams and sailors as well as strong crews for whom this will be the biggest test yet for their programmes.
Denmark’s double Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup match racing ace Jesper Bank may have a set of sailing credentials that impress in any company, but when he skippers Claus Landmark’s Santa, he will be under no illusions that success will come easily to a crack team, which includes a mix of former Volvo/Whitbread sailors and top Danish and Norwegian sailors.
'We really do not know what to expect. We really are still getting to grips with how to sail the boat. We have a great crew, very experienced and we are confident we will get it to work together, but we are still relatively new to it. So far we have done two real events with the boat and one was in 30kts of breeze, but we are really looking forward to measuring up against the other boats. The key for us will be to pick it up quickly and execute well.' Explains Bank.
Dubai-based Hannes Waimer, Managing Director of the Farr 400 builders, has moved from his TP52 to a Farr 400, Team Premier, and Quantum Key West 2013 is the first outing for this very experienced team. Former Whitbread/Volvo helm Gordon Maguire will call tactics for Waimer on a crew that includes America’s Cup sailors Mike Mottl and Adam Ostenfeld. Waimer takes time out from his busy schedule at the helm of Premier Composites Technologies returning to the race course:
'From a personal point of view I am just looking forwards to getting back on the water and going racing with the Farr 400. Most of the time I am in the factory seeing the boats being built so it will be great to be on the water in Key West, and to meet again with our Farr 400 owners from both sides of the Atlantic and share the enjoyment of racing at one of the must-do regattas,' explains Waimer.
George Collins’ well known Chessie Racing team has moved into the Farr 400 for the very first time and will be looking to put in some early practice prior to the first race. Boat Captain Ian Gordon has put together a crew from previous Chessie Racing yachts to try out first hand the new One Design.
A theme common to both Spaceman Spiff (Rob Ruhlman, Cleveland OH) and Meridian X (WS Shelhorse, Virginia Beach, VA) is they have crews that are predominantly amateur, made up of friends and family. Both raced their Farr 400’s at Quantum Racing Key West in 2012. Meridian X, which has Quantum’s Dave Flynn as tactician, finishing mid fleet.
Thereafter, the Farr 400’s plan to compete at Charleston Race Week (April 18-21) Kiel Week (22-30 June) and Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week (3-10 August).
Since the Farr 400 was launched in 2011 the class has enjoyed steady growth in spite of the slack global economy, gathering a core of like minded, enthusiastic owners who are committed to the exciting new One Design, which to date has also proven competitive in the exciting new HPR ‘Fast 40’ fleets.
'We are committed to getting the fleet growing in Europe this summer and we already have a core commitment from owners there so we are hoping to achieve a critical mass this season, but also to attend key major European regattas to showcase the Farr 400 as the One Design for the future.' Explains Dee Smith, Farr 400 Class Development Manager.
To date 13 Farr 400’s have been built with boats active in the USA, Scandinavia, Europe, Middle East and Australia. Premier Composite Technologies will have demonstration boats available for trials at regattas over the course of 2013, and for potential owners may be able to facilitate racing.