The Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship was held off Newport, R.I. from Wednesday, July 4 through Saturday, July 7.
Over the four days of racing it was anyone's guess as to who would win, since leading up to Saturday's final two races there had been seven different race winners over the previous eight races and each day had yielded a different overall leader.
The event hosted 11 teams and the bets kept going through to the last day. Jim Richardson's (Newport, R.I.) Barking Mad finally settled everything by clinching the championship after the final day's first of two races, finishing with an overall lead of six points.
'It's great to win a continental championship,' said Richardson, who is a three-time Farr 40 World Champion (1998, 2004, 2009) and counts this as his first North American championship in the class. 'It has only taken me 15 years,' he added with a smile at Saturday's Rolex Awards Ceremony where he was presented with a Rolex Submariner timepiece for his team's performance. 'Today was a great day, and we got off to a great start in Race 9 and were able to finish second, which helped us to sew up our position for the event.'
In Race 10, with Richardson holding an unassailable 13-point lead, a dogfight broke out among three teams separated by only one point from each other. Fates weren't sealed until the last leg, however, when the wind lightened, allowing an escape for Alberto Rossi's (Ancona, Italy) Enfant Terrible to pass Alexander Roepers' Plenty and cross the finish line in first. It put Enfant Terrible in second overall with 45 points, just two-points ahead of Struntje light, skippered by Wolfgang Schaefer (Germany), which finished in third-place overall with a fourth-place finish. Plenty had to settle for fourth overall with a fifth-place finish and 50 points, while Richardson, who cruised to ninth in that race, posted 39 points in the final standings.
'We won only two races in the regatta, but we have been really consistent,' said Enfant Terrible's Rossi, who held onto second-place overall throughout the entire series. 'Unfortunately, in the first race today we made a mistake when we had the opportunity to fight for the first position, but the best thing for me is that in the last race we showed that we could fight until the end.'
Enfant Terrible took second-place overall - Farr 40 North American Championship - Daniel Forster - copyright
In addition to Barking Mad, Enfant Terrible and Struntje light, other first-place finishers throughout the week were Onur Erardag's (Istanbul, Turkey) Provezza 8, John Demourkas's (San Diego, Calif.) Groovederci, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis's (Sydney, Australia) Transfusion and Kevin McNeil's (Annapolis, Md.) Nightshift.
'This was actually quite an unusual regatta because normally it's so close going right down to the last race,' said Race Chair and Class Manager Geoff Stagg. 'The fleet was mixing it up on day one, day two, and day three, but then Barking Mad secured a lead where they really didn't have to sail the last race. Overall, it was a fantastic event. The weather couldn't have been better: we got ten races in, everyone loved Newport, and as a consequence, there is a high probability we'll be back here for our world championship next year.'
Stagg explained that this year's Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is scheduled for Sept. 17-20 in Chicago, which accounts for why so many foreign teams entered the North Americans in Newport. 'You are going to see many of the same boats that you saw here contesting for the world championship plus a few more,' said Stagg. 'What I get the most pleasure from is watching how good these owner/drivers are; I'd put them up against any of the pro sailors in the world.'
Final Results Farr 40 North American Championship:
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