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Rossi rolls out red carpet in Ancona for Farr 40 European Championship

by Brady Stagg on 4 Jul 2016
Enfant Terrible owner-driver Alberto Rossi is hosting the European Championship in his hometown of Ancona, Italy. - Ancona Farr 40 European Championship Brady Stagg
Alberto Rossi has been a loyal and stalwart member of the Farr 40 Class Association for many years. The 2013 Rolex Farr 40 world champion is well respected by fellow competitors because he always displays the characteristics that make the class so great, particularly sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Now Rossi is welcoming the Farr 40 class to his home port for a major event that will no doubt be a highlight of the 2016 International Circuit.

Rossi is a lifelong resident of Ancona, which will host the Farr 40 European Championship Wednesday through Saturday. It marks the first time the class has come to this Italian seaport located on the Adriatic Sea.

“It is going to be great to go to Alberto’s hometown and we have a lot of travel boats coming out of respect for our esteemed host,” said Geoff Stagg, president of the Farr 40 Class Association. “Alberto has thrown his full support behind this event. I am very confident it will be a memorable regatta.”

A strong fleet of 11 boats has turned out to contest the first European Championship the class has held since 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Rossi and his top-notch team on Enfant Terrible are among the favorites after winning the D-Marin Sibenik Regatta, held across the Adriatic off Croatia in May.

“This is a great opportunity for our town to host the Farr 40 class and I am really excited. We are going to enjoy ourselves on and off the water,” Rossi said.

Naturally, Rossi has sailed extensively off the coast of Ancona and will know the two race areas well. Asked if he will benefit due to local knowledge, Rossi chuckled and offered the following phrase: Nessuno e profeta nella sua terra. That is the Italian translation of the Biblical verse that states “no man is a prophet in his own land.”

“I don’t think I will have a big advantage. The performance level in the Farr 40 is so high these teams will adjust quickly. There is nothing new to be discovered in this class,” said Rossi, who has captured the ORC World Championship several times, but notes he did not do so when it was held off Ancona.

Enfant Terrible will be without two members of its regular crew, including tactician Vasco Vascotto, who will be replaced for this regatta by Gabriele Benussi.

Rossi has gone to great effort to organize social activities for the visiting sailors, including an owner’s dinner at a renowned local restaurant that is sure to be fabulous. Some 70 guests have been invited to the dinner, including the Ancona mayor.

Boats will be berthed at La Marina Dorica, a five-star facility that serves as the heart of this port. This marina was developed due to the passion and activity of the nine member yacht clubs that are based there.

Returning to the International Circuit after missing the last event is Alex Roepers, who sailed Plenty to victory at the 2016 Rolex World Championship in Sydney, Australia. Plenty’s crew remains stable with veteran tactician Terry Hutchinson leading the way.

“Winning the worlds was a fantastic achievement for the whole team and me personally,” Roepers said. “It was a fantastic moment in my life and a highlight of my sailing career. However, it is time to move on as we cannot rest on our laurels. This class is extremely tough and circumstances can change at any moment.”

Roepers has forged a strong friendship with Rossi over the years and is looking forward to spending time in his hometown. The New York resident is also looking forward to renewing acquaintances on the water.

“I’m sure Alberto will want to win on his home waters. We are going to do our best to make sure that does not happen. We are going there to win ourselves,” Roepers said. “As always, the competition will be intense. That is what is so awesome about the Farr 40 class and it’s a credit to the management team. It’s what keeps everyone coming back.”

After being out of the Farr 40 for five months, Roepers and the Plenty crew arrived in Ancona early to spend four days practicing. “That should be enough time for me to shake off the rust and get my sea legs back. I’ve never raced out of Ancona so this will be a new experience. I think it’s going to be a great regatta.”

Flash Gordon 6 (Helmut Jahn, Chicago) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Lueneburg, Germany) join Enfant Terrible and Plenty as old guard members of the Farr 40 class competing in the Ancona European Championship. This year’s circuit has attracted a strong contingent of new owners, four of whom are Italian.

Skipper Mauro Mocchegiani and the Rush Diletta team captured the Corinthian title at the D-Marin Sibenik Regatta and will attempt to repeat the feat. Skipper Carlo Naibo and his crew on Sempre Avanti, which was leading the Corinthian division in Croatia until the final day of racing, is primed for a rematch.

“We were tested in Sibenik and gained valuable experience. We learned so much about sailing the boat and now understand just how high level this class is,” Naibo said.

Sempre Avanti has three crew changes for this week’s regatta and will be using an old set of sails. Naibo is postponing that investment until next year when the ultimate goal is the 2017 Rolex World Championship in Porto Cuervo, Italy.

“What is most important right now is that we capture the proper chemistry,” Naibo said. “We must come together as a team and perfect our maneuvers. We are confident we can capture the Corinthian division and we are also hoping for a podium finish.”

Ancona is located at the midway point of the Adriatic Sea and sailing conditions are normally quite reliable. Rossi expects calm seas and winds in the 10-15 knot range for most of the four-day regatta, which is being managed on the water by La Marina Dorica and the Ancona Yacht Club.

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