Sparks fly as Rolex Farr 40 North Americans get underway

Alex Roepers’ Plenty heads downwind - Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship
A brush fire fueled by the Santa Ana winds created a smoky backdrop for the Farr 40s preparing to leave the docks at Long Beach Yacht Club for the first day of racing at the 2014 Rolex Farr 40 North Americans. The breeze continued to fire things up as the 19 boats sailed three tight races on the Pacific Ocean.

The first race got off as scheduled at noon in 16 knots of breeze, and after a general recall and restart the fleet was led around the five-mile long course and across the finish by 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Alberto Rossi and his Italian team on Enfant Terrible. At the first gate, Bernard Minkow and Julian Fernandez, on the Mexican-flagged Flojito y Cooperando were second, but by the finish they had been overtaken by New York's Alexander Roepers on Plenty.

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A change in direction and drop in speed to 10 knots of breeze, dictated a change of course and the fleet was sent off on race two aimed directly for Catalina Island. Rossi continued to exhibit the form that won him the first race, with Germany's Wolfgang Schaefer on Struntje light and Malibu's Jeff Janov, on Dark Star, following him across the finish line.

Intense jockeying for room at the boat end of the line marked the start of the final race of the day as the breeze piped back up to 17 knots. Alexander Roepers on Plenty was the race winner, followed by Annapolis' Kevin McNeil at the helm of Nightshift. Demonstrating that time in the boat has paid off, with their second top-three finish of the day, was Minkow and Fernandez on Flojito y Cooperando.

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'The first race, we had difficulties and got a little buried, we ended up being in 10th place, I believe, and we managed to pull it together and come back into second, which was a bit of a victory,' said Alexander Roepers who is the current standings leader with eight points. 'Of course it was very nice the last race to have a good start, stay clear of everybody and win it by a nice margin.'

Rossi and his Enfant Terrible team are second in the overall standings with 12 points, getting the edge on Helmut Jahn and his team on Flash Gordon 6 who also had 12 points after finishing fourth in all three races. Rounding out the top-five overall are Wolfgang Schaefer on Struntje light with 15 points, with Jeff Janov on Dark Star following just one point behind.

Action at the Rolex Farr 40 North Americans continues Thursday, May 15, and concludes Saturday, May 17 from Long Beach Yacht Club.

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