Local sailor, John Thomson, and his crew on board Infinity, raced in the 2006 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Newport, RI Sept. 6-9. Thomson's crew included Peter Stalkus (tactician), Tony Reaper, Robbie Oldmeadow, Paul Cuneo, Ronnie Saccardo, Sean McNeill, Sayard Benvenuti, Matt Fries, and Mac Manion. Other local sailors included two boats from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. Pete Must and his crew on Nimbus, won the Service Academy Trophy. The other entry representing USMMA was Solution, helmed by Jeremiah Lyons, with Ralf Steitz as tactician.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship was a three-day light wind affair, with Vincenzo Onorato (Portoferrio, Italy) on Mascalzone Latino taking top honors. Onorato who has been aching for this win ever since the start of the Champs back in 1997, finally was able to capture the title that has eluded him in previous years. The top three positions were up for grabs until the last day, when the sea breeze gave the competitors winds up to 18 knots. At one point Onorato had to do a 720 penalty and many thought that was the end of his chances at the title. But Onorato came to Newport with the thought to "be cool, be concentrated." He praised his tactician, Russell Coutts, for keeping the crew calm and focused. "Even if things went wrong, I was not upset. Before the last race, Russell told me, 'This is the time to win the race.' I said, 'Can we?' And he said, 'Of course!' And we won the race." Jim Richardson (Newport, RI), on Barking Mad, who has sailed in the MBYC Fall Series in past years, ended up in third place. He was in the runner-up position until the last race, when tactician Terry Hutchinson missed a wind shift and went from second to 12th place in one leg. "Obviously there was a shift there and I missed it. We sailed into a light spot, and the fleet sailed by. We battled the entire week. But it just makes you appreciate how hard winning is." Australian Matt Allen (Sydney, Australia) and his Ichi Ban slipped down the right side of the run to finish sixth and claim the runner-up spot in the championship.
For those readers who are interested in things Newport, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship prizegiving was held at the Marble House, one of the Gilded Age "Newport Cottages." Designed by Beaux Arts master architect, Richard Morris Hunt, it was built (1888-1892) by railroad baron William K. Vanderbilt for his wife Alva's birthday, and it showcases 500,000 cubic feet of white marble.
The Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is in its ninth year and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Copenhagen, Denmark in the summer of 2007. The World Championship has been sailed in North America, Europe or Australia every year since the class was established in 1997. For more information about the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, go to the official event website http://farr40worlds.com/.
Other local sailors were busy representing Manhasset Bay in another competition; this one with wind conditions very different from those at the Farr 40 Worlds. The Vineyard Race, which took place over Labor Day weekend, is a classic American yachting event with a race course of 238 miles, stretching from Shippan Point to Plum Gut, past Block Island and on to the light tower at the entrance to Buzzard's Bay, to return leaving Block Island to starboard en route to the finish in Stamford Harbor. Begun in 1932, the Vineyard Race is considered one of the most grueling long distance races of the year on Long Island Sound. This year the race really lived up to its reputation. Twenty-six boats started the race off Stamford Harbor on Friday afternoon, Sept. 1, in seas of 5 feet and winds of 22 to 28 knots from the east and by Saturday the weather had reduced the fleet to three. Reported winds of 30-40 knots and seas up to 10 feet in Block Island Sound have made the race one of the toughest one in years. Bob Towse, Blue Yankee, a Reichel Puch 66, known for her participation in the MBYC Fall Series, crossed the finish line first, next was Lawrence Huntington, Past Commodore of the NYYC, on Snow Lion, a Ker IRC 50. Richard du Moulin, commodore of the Storm Trysail Club, sailing his Express 37, Lora Ann, the smallest of the three yachts to finish. He endured winds of 45 knots and seas of 12 feet in Block Island Sound before crossing the finish line on Sunday, Sept. 3. According to du Moulin, who grew up sailing out of Knickerbocker YC, "The first 28 hours of the race, beating out to the tower was one of the more unpleasant experiences I've had in a long time. We were all pretty wet and working hard. Obviously we didn't eat much." His crew, named Team AARP because three members are over 60 and three more are approaching 60, celebrated their arrival in Stamford Sunday by consuming a cake that survived the trip and was finally able to be enjoyed. du Moulin's crew for the Vineyard Race included John Browning (MBYC), Einar Haukeland (MBYC), Lee Reichard, Chris Reyling, Adam Loory, Brenda Lewis and Patrick Slattery. Just to give you an idea of how much smaller Lora Ann is compared to the other boats that finished, Lora Ann's crew numbered eight, while Snow Lion had 15 and Blue Yankee, 20. Later in the day, du Moulin was in Port Washington to present the Knickerbocker Cup to Martin Angsell, SWE, who won the 2006 Knickerbocker Cup, an international match race that his father, Edward du Moulin, founded in 1982.
Results for Thirsty Thursday from Aug. 31 (16 boats), Course UWZ, 2.06 nm for all divisions. Division I (5 boats): 1. Ripple, John Towers, 2. Free-Fall, Bill McFaul, and 3. Grace, Gene Gold. Division II (6 boats): 1. Xcite, Yalcin Tarhan, 2. Irish Blessing, Ed Gillen, and 3. Vision, Marc Epstein. Division III (4 boats): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Second Wind, Anthony Viola, and 3. Serenity, Jacques Blinbaum. Division CATS (1 boat): Renegade, Andy Ledins.
Manhasset Bay YC was Race Committee for the weekend of Sept. 2-3. Racing was cancelled on Saturday due to Tropical Storm Ernesto. Results for Sunday, Sept. 3. Sonars (4 races, 8 boats): Race 1: 1. #684, Cypher, Tony Dalia/Brian Dalia, 2. #487, Viento, Jonathan Siener, and 3. #573, Selhun, Bahar Gidwani. Race 2: 1. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon/Einar Haukeland, 2. Viento, and 3. #396, Delight, Bob Kirtland. Race 3: 1. Viento, 2. Cypher, and 3. Delight. Race 4: 1. Viento, 2. Delight, and 3. Cypher. Results for MBOD: Race 1: 1. #5, Escapade, Ned Baker/Dick Moore, 2. #17, Frolic, Bill Martin, and 3. #11, Silver Foxes, Jay Davenport/Curt Champlin. Race 2: 1. Frolic, 2. Escapade, and 3. Silver Foxes. Race 3: 1. Escapade, and 2. Frolic. Results for KOD: Race 1: #14, Phoenix, Tom and Donna Powers, 2. #15, Dybbuk, Roy Israel, and 3. #12, Sonic, Michael Aingorn. Race 2: 1. Phoenix, 2. Dybbuk, and 3. #7, Knick Knack, Arthur Kass. Race 3: 1. Phoenix, 2. Dybbuk, and 3. Sonic.