While the weather was a mix of contrasts for the opening day of the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, hosted from the Harbour Court club house of New York Yacht Club in Newport, R.I., the results on the water were anything but. With light wind predicted, race organizers delayed the start an hour which allowed the rain to move out of the area while leaving behind dramatic clouds and patches of blue. Once racing was underway, Dutch-born Nico Poons sailed three flawless races on Charisma – leading the fleet around the course at all but the first two mark roundings. In fact, Poons went from strength to strength as the fleet followed in hot pursuit, evidenced by all 15 boats crossing the finish line of race two in under three minutes. In the third race of the day, Poons rounded the windward mark 15 seconds ahead of defending champion Helmut Jahn of Chicago, at the helm of Flash Gordon 6, and by the finish had increased the spread to 30 seconds.
Results after three races:
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Country, Results; Total Points
1. Charisma, Nico Poons, MON, 1-1-1; 3
2. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, USA, 7-2-2; 11
3. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, USA, 2-8-3; 13
4. Barking Mad, James Richardson, USA, 4-3-6; 13
5. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, ITA, 5-5-8; 18
6. Nanoq, HRH Prince Frederik, DEN, 6-6-7; 19
7. Asterisk Uno, Hasip Gencer, TUR, 9-7-4; 20
8. PLENTY, Alexander Roepers, USA, 3-9-12; 24
9. Transfusion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, AUS, 11-4-11; 26
10. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer, GER, 13-10-5; 28
11. Endorphin, Erik Wulff, USA, 8-12-9; 29
12. Oakcliff Racing, Seth Cooley, USA, 14-13-10; 37
13. White Knight, Zoltan Katinsky, USA, 10-14-14; 38
14. Groovederci, John Demourkas, USA, 12-15-13; 40
15. Flojito y Cooperando, Bernard Minkow/Julia Fernandez, MEX, 15-11-15; 41
Eight countries are represented in the fleet of 15 boats which are scheduled to have 10 races over four days. Poons currently leads the overall standings with three points and will surely have a target on his back going forward. With seven scheduled races remaining, Jahn, in second with 11 points, has the opportunity to become the first repeat champion since 2008. Tied for third overall is Maryland sailor Kevin McNeil on Nightshift and local sailor Jim Richardson on Barking Mad.
Poons attributed his success on the water today to good starts and taking the right shift. “You can’t sit in your lead in this class,” said Poons, emphasizing that he benefited from “perfect crew work by a very motivated team.” Poons added, “Anything can happen in a moment. We have practiced and the team is so familiar with each other and what they have to do they do it perfectly. My tactician and my mainsail trimmer sometimes give me a shout if they think I am not concentrating enough.”
Charisma’s tactician, Floridian Morgan Reeser, described the conditions today as “stressful” explaining that they “were variable… cross current… puffy. You never knew what would happen next. Most of the crew started this year in Key West, and the Dutch amateur sailors on the boat are fantastic and work hard. I think we’ve built on each race, not worrying about the result but working on the processes and communication on the boat.”
Racing resumes Wednesday, August 27, at noon and continues through Friday, August 30, when the winner of the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will be crowned.