In life, timing is everything. And, after seven years in the Farr 40 class, the timing was right for New York financier Alex Roepers to achieve a long-held goal of winning the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.
For the last four days, 19 international teams have done battle on San Francisco Bay: two days of light breeze were followed by no sailing on the penultimate day of the competition – atypical conditions for this famed sailing arena. For the final day of racing, the fleet returned to Berkeley Circle and with time running out – no race could be started after 1530 – the southwesterly that the area is known for finally materialized and the last race of the series was underway at 1500 in a 10-12 knot breeze.
First around every mark, and across the finish line as well, was Wolfgang Schaefer’s German-flagged Struntje light. It was the second win of the series for Schaefer, whose wife, Angela, sails onboard, and it had the effect of moving them from sixth up to fourth in the overall standings with 41 points.
Second across the line was Martin Hill on Estate Master. The Australian team ended the series second overall with 34 points. Third to finish was the Mexican-flagged Flojito y Cooperando, driven by Julian Fernandez, which moved them up one spot in the overall standings to 11th, with 67 points. Italy’s defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, Alberto Rossi on Enfant Terrible, crossed the line sixth to retain third in the overall standings with 39 points.
Surprisingly, Roepers had his worst race of the championship series – a 10th-place finish – but the 18-point lead he had established in the first two days of racing proved unsurmountable by any other team. Roepers ended the series with 24 points, and a 10-point cushion over Martin Hill on Estate Master.
New Yorker, Alex Roepers has been crowned World Champion after taking 4 from 7 bullets on San Francisco Bay for the 2014 World Championships.
With just one point separating second, third and fourth place, crews were keen to hit the water this morning to fight it out for the big one but the bay didn’t deliver...boats sat on the water for hours before a race officials were fighting against the clock to get one race in and set a course prior to the 3.30PM final warning signal.
International Class President Martin Hill had another successful day on the water finishing with a 2nd place in the last race and maintaining their overall second position on 34 points.
The breeze that usually makes San Francisco such a popular place for sailors was noticeably absent for the penultimate day of competition at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. A low pressure system had siphoned most of the air off the Bay, and with the fleet drifting around on the Berkeley Circle for several hours, the Race Committee took the decision to abandon attempts to run a race.
“Basically the breeze didn’t cooperate,” said Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio. “We had a fairly nice forecast for the day of a southerly between 8-12 knots. We got out there for a noon start and waited around until about 1:30-2:00 p.m. and we finally got what looked like a nice sea breeze, a nice little westerly. It filled in for about 35 minutes and we started to set up a course and as we were doing that the breeze died and the Bay went back to glass. We brought the boats back up to the west of Alcatraz hoping that if the sea breeze came in later in the day we’d at least be closer to it.”
Day two of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship was a testimonial to the tight competition in this high-caliber fleet with three winners in as many races. After an hour delay to allow the breeze to come up, the 19-strong international fleet was tested on San Francisco Bay by a building 10 to 16 knot seabreeze and a flood tide contributing to increasing chop as the day wore on.
Boat of the day honors were taken by Wolfgang Schaefer’s German-flagged Struntje light which won the first race of the day and then followed with finishes of 3-5.
“Conditions were not easy,” said Schaefer after racing. “The wind came up and was quite shifty. We have a very good crew and these guys did a very good job of taking care of me on the boat, and obviously the performance was not too bad. We had a terrible start; at the start we were last, and then, fortunately, at the first upwind mark we were first. We have a very good tactician and we were on the right side of the course and the pressure came from the right.”