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.”
Struntje light stands seventh overall on 40 points at the mid-point of the regatta, with the organizers planning for five additional races over the remaining two days of racing. “This was one day which was not too bad,” said a pragmatic Schaefer. “The game is not finished.”
Race two was won by three-time Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I. and Boston, Mass. Richardson is at the helm of the Australian-flagged Kokomo, which was made available for charter when her owner, Lang Walker, had a pressing business commitment.
“The second race was really a lot of fun,” said Richardson who currently stands sixth overall with 39 points. “We got to the top mark first. We sailed a great upwind leg and just squeezed around ahead of Struntje at the top. Then, unfortunately, on the downwind leg we lost Struntje and Voodoo Chile. But we had a great second beat up and we got around ahead of them at the top of the second beat, but this time we had a really good run and were able to get through to finish first and that felt really good. And the last race [in which he finished fourth], was pretty amazing. We had a great last beat and probably passed five boats. All the boats finished so close together it was amazing. The difference between coming in fourth, like we did, or 12th, was just boat lengths.”
In the final race of the day, New York’s Alex Roepers, on Plenty, won his fourth race of the series, and, with a 1-1-1-6-4-1 scoreline for 14 points, retains the top spot in the overall standings. Roepers holds a 19-point lead over three teams who are tied on points, including two Australians – 2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on Transfusion and Lisa and Martin Hill on Estate Master – and Italy’s defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, Alberto Rossi on Enfant Terrible. Another Australian-flagged boat, Andrew Hunn’s Voodoo Chile, is fifth overall with 34 points.
Racing resumes tomorrow, Friday, October 17, and concludes on Saturday, October 18, when a champion will be crowned at the conclusion of racing.