An international fleet of 17 yachts is set to take part in the 18th edition of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, hosted from 24-27 September by the Long Beach Yacht Club. The event is the pinnacle of the Farr 40 racing season.
Fiercely contested, this is an event that rewards teamwork, consistency and determination, values which are shared with Rolex. It's rare for one boat to dominate the Worlds, but last year Alex Roepers' Plenty (USA) was the exception, winning four of the seven races in San Francisco to finish 10 points clear of Martin Hill's Estate Master (AUS).
The Farr 40 class rules are tightly drawn, with only owners allowed to drive the boat and a maximum four professionals permitted on the 10-strong crew. A maximum 11 short and fast races will be contested over the four days. The aim is not necessarily to go out and win races, but to play the long game, trying to notch up consistently good scores while avoiding the kind of risks that could put you at the back of the pack.
Teams must stay focused on their boat, and with mere seconds separating the leading yachts, decisions need to be made quickly and manoeuvres carried out to perfection. The critical role played by timing has fostered the partnership with Rolex and the Farr 40 class since 2001. As the defending champion, Plenty is considered the team to beat in Long Beach, although tactician Terry Hutchinson points out that they have narrowly missed out on victory in all of their regattas thus far in 2015. So he's not taking anything for granted. “We’ve had our opportunities but not quite been able to execute,” says the ever self-critical professional who insists on honesty and accountability as the framework from which to build a winning campaign. “That accountability applies to all 10 people on the boat. When it's firing on all cylinders, and the team functions at a high level, it's awesome to watch.”
Competition will be provided by some recent World Champions including Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon 6 (2012, Chicago) and Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible (2013, Newport) in addition to last year’s runner-up from Australia. Martin Hill will be flying in from down under with the aim and expectation of being able to beat the Americans on home waters.
Hill is targeting downwind sailing as one of the key areas for success. “Downwind is not a time to rest, it is a time to make some changes on the ladder,” says Hill, who understands the need for precision and consistency. “It's about sailing a little more aggressively. We found some big wins in that area last year, so that’s something my pep talk will be very much trying to take on - about picking up where we finished off last time.”
The 2015 event will mark the end of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship’s four-year tour of the United States with the 2016 event due to be held in Sydney, Australia.
In addition to Rolex, the Farr 40 Class thanks Race Day Sponsors North Sails, Quantum Sail Design Group and Long Beach Yacht Club; Supporting Sponsors Ayres Hotel Seal Beach, Coronado Brewing Company and North Sails Graphics.