Bella Mente Racing prepares for ambitious new year campaign
by Kirsten Ferguson on 20 Dec 2012
Bella Mente Racing, under owner/driver Hap Fauth’s (Minneapolis, Minn./Naples, Fla.) leadership, is gearing up for an ambitious 2013 sailing schedule and a second season competing aboard its namesake 72-foot Judel/Vrolijk design that was launched in April 2012.
Bella Mente, with owner Hap Fauth at the helm, during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 where the team won the Mini Maxi World Championship. Tim Wright
Bella Mente Racing, which consists of 26 sailors and shore crew representing six countries and nine states across the U.S., warmed up this December with a first-to-finish performance at the Annual Wirth M. Munroe Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach Yacht Race and a second-place finish at the 2012 Sailfish Club Ocean Challenge in Palm Beach, Fla. The team plans to move right on to Quantum Key West Race Week in January and the RORC Caribbean 600 in February before Bella Mente ships to Europe for the Palma Vela, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Cowes Week and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Next year’s campaign grand finale will be 'Down Under' for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
'You are only as good as the team that surrounds you,' said Fauth, who purchased his first Bella Mente (a Judel/Vrolijk 66 built in 2002) in late 2005 and still has many members of the original team sailing with him today.
'We won the Newport Bermuda Race in 2006 on the original Bella Mente and the 2011 Transpac on the second Bella Mente (a modified Reichel/Pugh 69 built in 2009). This year we captured the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship with the current Bella Mente, and in 2013 we plan to defend that title at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September and also go after the Rolex Fastnet and the Rolex Sydney Hobart with a vengeance. They are on my bucket list of ‘man-beater’ races. If you have the machinery and heart, then you are in the game!'
When he is not competing on the water, Fauth runs a number of businesses that span many industries – from agriculture to aerospace – and brings many of the same principles and tactics that he uses in the boardroom to the development of his sailing campaign. Bella Mente Racing is constantly changing and adapting in an attempt to rise above its competition on the water. Because of this, some have even given Bella Mente the nickname Experimenté. In fact, before Bella Mente was built, Fauth spent two weeks tank testing and experimenting with different models.
'Technology is what affects us every day, probably every minute of every day, so the idea is to get ahead of that curve instead of being behind it. I do not accept status quo. That is a principle under which I’ve always run this program,' said Fauth, adding that he was convinced the boat could be engineered to be successful around the buoys with one setup, and with a few configuration changes, it could transform into an 'offshore machine.'
'The team has spent 2012 racing and practicing to work out any potential issues, and now we are very confident; we look forward to getting out on the starting line,' said Fauth, who has high hopes that in years to come the team will compete not only in the U.S., Europe and Australia but also in Asia and South Africa. 'We want to take this boat farther than any of the other Bella Mente yachts that have gone before it. We look forward to what the new year will Bella Mente Racing website