Farr 40 Class Moves Action to the Wild, Wild West

Farr 40 North AmericansRolex Farr 40 North Americans at Long Beach Yacht Club

Long Beach, California: After tearing up race courses on the East Coast for the past two years, there has been a change of scenery for the grand prix Farr 40s as action in the Northern Hemisphere has relocated to the west coast for 2014. The next chapter in the class' history will be written this week at the Rolex Farr 40 North Americans when the 19 registered owner-drivers go head-to-head over four days of racing (May 14-17) hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.

To handicap the field, one needs look no further than the 2014 season opener held at Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club in March:

Alberto Rossi and his Italian team on Enfant Terrible scored the first win of the season to pick up right where they left off last fall when they won the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Newport, R.I. Annapolis' Kevin McNeil at the helm of Nightshift, who was second at the worlds (after losing a tie-breaker to Rossi) , finished behind New York's Alexander Roepers, on PLENTY, to round out the top-three at the CBYC event.

Not to be undervalued are two class stalwarts: Chicago's Helmut Jahn on Flash Gordon 6, the2012 Farr 40 World Champion, or Wolfgang Schaefer on the German-flagged Struntje light. When you factor in the local threats, including Jeff Janov, who drove Dark Star to the Rolex Farr 40 North American title when it was last held in Long Beach, in 2011, the California tour is shaping up to be full of heated competition.

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Enfant Terrible captures Farr 40 Midwinter Championship off Cabrillo Beach

march31 farr401 sSkipper Alberto Rossi leads Italian entry to convincing victory in first event of 2014 circuit

The 2014 sailing season got off to an inauspicious start for skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team. The Italian entry hit the mark on the first upwind rounding and endured some additional difficulties during the opening race of the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship and had to scramble just to finish 10th in the 16-boat fleet.

There would be no more such problems for Enfant Terrible for the remainder of the regatta. Rossi did a superb job of steering, Vasco Vascotto was brilliant on tactics and the crew performed flawlessly as the Italians put up a steady stream of podium placements to capture the Midwinter crown in convincing fashion.

"It was a fantastic week. We had some troubles in the first race, but we sailed very, very well the rest of the way. We had 11 perfect starts and the boat was quite fast. It was a wonderful performance by the crew as our maneuvers were all good," said Rossi, who lives in the coastal city of Ancona. "Vasco did an amazing job again. He always put us in good position."

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Enfant Terrible tightens grip on lead at Farr 40 Midwinter Championship

mar28 358 sStruntje Light wins two races on Friday to set up a battle royale for places on final day

There has been one constant during the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship: Skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team have sailed brilliantly and have steadily put a stranglehold on the top spot in the standings.

Beyond that, the four-day regatta has been tremendously competitive with numerous boats showing well at times and the results difficult to predict from race to race.

Enfant Terrible, the reigning world champion, continued to show tremendous consistency and extended its lead with a superb scoring line of 1-2-2 on Friday. Rossi and tactician Vasco Vascotto have been in perfect harmony while the crew work has been outstanding as the Italian entry posted five bullets, a pair of seconds and a third since finishing 10th in Race 1.

Enfant Terrible has a low score of 22 points and holds a commanding 13 point lead over second place Plenty going into the final day of action. With two races planned for Saturday in the 16-boat fleet, the lead is not insurmountable but certainly rather imposing considering how well the Italians have been sailing.

"Enfant is executing very well. They are getting good starts and have very good boat speed both upwind and downwind. Alberto and his guys are just doing an excellent job and setting the tone," Plenty skipper Alex Roepers said. "Enfant has to show up tomorrow, but it will be very hard to beat them at this point."

Struntje Light, the German entry skippered by Wolfgang Schaefer, had a strong outing on Friday, winning Races 8 and 9 to move into fourth place in the overall standings.

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