'Bella Mente at the start of the Newport Bermuda Race 2012'
Bella Mente Racing is building momentum, with two events down and seven to go for its 2013 campaign. The team, sailing its namesake Judel/Vrolijk Mini Maxi, started off the year with a class victory and first-to-finish performance at the 38th Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race.
Bella Mente completed the 160 nautical mile course in just under thirteen hours on February 18th before shifting to buoy racing at Quantum Key West Race Week, where it competed against one other boat – the 72-foot Reichel/Pugh Shockwave – in the Mini Maxi Class.
'Shockwave won the series at Key West, with great sailing by the entire crew, but both boats sailed at the highest level and fun was had by all,' said Bella Mente’s owner and driver Hap Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn./Naples, Fla.), who last year guided the team to win the Rolex Mini Maxi Worlds. He added that Bella Mente Racing is using these last two events and the upcoming RORC Caribbean 600 as tune-ups to regattas in Europe and Australia (Palma Vela, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Cowes Week, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race) where Bella Mente will match up against more yachts that fit the Mini Maxi criteria.
'The Mini Maxi circuit has changed a lot since the 2008 economic downturn,' said Fauth. 'Moving around a 26-person crew is not for the faint of heart, but there is definitely a growing interest in the class. We have six strong boats in Europe this summer, starting with Palma Vela in May.
'So far, the two events that we did here were opportunities for the team to get together and practice,' said Fauth, revealing that his team has been working with different sail shapes and on boat speed in general. 'I’m really proud of the crew. We win as a team, we lose as a team and we learn as a team. You build a team like you build a company and you have to have the right chemistry and skill base onboard. The heart of this crew has been with me for four years and they are excellent.'
Next up on the calendar is the RORC Caribbean 600 on February 18th. 'We’re looking forward to each new challenge,' said Fauth, who has never before competed in the event, 'and racing 600 miles around eleven Caribbean islands is certainly going to be a big one.'
For more information, visit Bella Mente Racing
by Kirsten Ferguson
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8:58 PM Thu 31 Jan 2013GMT
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