by Jan Harley
Whilst 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.
Wolfgan Schaefer’s Struntje light (bow 15) won the first race of the day - Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship 2014
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.'
Alex Roepers (second from right) on Plenty. - Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship 2014
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.
Farr 40 (One Design - 19 Boats)
1. Plenty, Farr 40, Alexander Roepers , New York, NY, USA, 2-5-1-9-1-1; 19
2. Struntje light, Farr 40, Wolfgang Schaefer , Lueneburg, GER, 6-2-7-1-2-3; 21
3. Flash Gordon 6, Farr 40, Helmut Jahn , Chicago, IL, USA, 4-4-4-4-7-2; 25
4. Enfant Terrible, Farr 40, Alberto Rossi , Ancona, ITA, 1-1-10-6-3-11; 32
5. Nightshift, Farr 40, Kevin McNeil , Annapolis, MD, USA, 7-8-2-2-4-9; 32
6. Dark Star, Farr 40, Jeff Janov , Malibu, CA, USA, 5-3-8-5-8-4; 33
7. Groovederci, Farr 40, John Demourkas , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 8-6-6-3-5-7; 35
8. Flojito y Cooperando, Farr 40, Bernardo Minkow / Julian Fernandez , Mexico City, DF, MEX, 3-16/ZFP-3-8-9-10; 49
9. Blade 2, Farr 40, Michael Shlens , Palos Verdes Estates, CA, USA, 11-9-5-10-6-17; 58
10. JoAnn, Farr 40, Steve Murphy , Seal Beach, CA, USA, 13-11-14-7-14-5; 64
11. Temptress, Farr 40, Ray Godwin , Huntington Beach, CA, USA, 14-7-16-11-13-6; 67
12. Foil, Farr 40, Gordon Leon , Rancho Palos Verde, CA, USA, 16-13-13-13-10-8; 73
13. Skian Dhu, Farr 40, Dirk Freeland , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 10-10-12-12-16-14; 74
14. Coquille, Farr 40, Gary Ezor , Beverly Hills, CA, USA, 12-16-9-15-12-13; 77
15. White Knight, Farr 40, Zoltan Katinszky , San Pedro, CA, USA, 9-20/ZFP-11-14-15-12; 81
16. Twisted, Farr 40, M. Tony Pohl , Alamo, CA, USA, 18-14-20/ZFP-16-11-18; 97
17. Flyer, Farr 40, Stanford Shaw , Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 19-15-15-17-18-20/DNS; 104
18. Huckleberry3, Farr 40, Jim Murrell , Torrance, CA, USA, 15-17-18-19-19-16; 104
19. Viva La Vida, Farr 40, Will Durant , Long Beach, CA, USA, 17-20/RAF-19-18-17-15; 106