Sailing Returns To SF Bay In October

Image & Style Magazine

In the wake of the America’s Cup, high-stakes sailing is returning to San Francisco Bay, from October 15-18, when 19 international teams will commence racing for the coveted Rolex Farr 40 World Championship title.

Aboard identical 40-foot yachts, the teams will compete on fast-paced and technically demanding courses on the Berkeley Circle – touted as the best place to sail on San Francisco Bay – with the warning signal for the first race given each day at noon. The course is off Berkeley Marina, where the breeze is steady and there is less ship traffic than the middle of this busy Bay; current is also less of a factor, although due to its shallow nature, there can be choppy water near the shipping channels and when there is an ebb tide going against the wind.

“It’s one of the most iconic sailing locations in the world,” commented Geoff Stagg, Farr 40 class manager, when asked why the class has chosen to return to hold a world championship here for the third time. “Nothing beats San Francisco Bay. There are so many things happening: wind, tide, the bridge, fog. It’s just a spectacular place to sail. And of course the wonderful St. Francis Yacht Club, which is hosting the racing, is one of the most prestigious great clubs of the world.”

When asked about racing on the Berkeley Circle, Stagg added: “The tide has a lot to do with sea state and there’s still a lot of influence from the tide down there. We were out there yesterday and it was blowing 32 knots, and wow! The tide was going out, the breeze was coming in, and there was some big waves, big action. Lots of little eddy’s are still there for the tacticians to work and of course the closer you get to Alcatraz the more effect you’re getting from wind and tide, so it’s a very tricky race course.”

California has been the epicenter for competition in these grand-prix racing machines in 2014 as five events, to date, have been held in locations from Santa Barbara to Marina del Rey and Long Beach. The Farr 40s were competing in San Francisco just last month during the annual Rolex Big Boat Series in order to better prepare for this world championship which has twice previously been held in the City by the Bay (1999 and 2004).

The 1999 world championship was won by a local sailor, Jim Kilroy on Samba Pa Ti; while in 2004, Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I., won his second (of three to date) Rolex Farr 40 World Championship title. Richardson is back for the 17th edition, chartering the Australian-flagged Kokomo owned by Lang Walker who had to miss the competition due to a pressing business commitment.

With the experience gained having won here before, Richardson explained that “what it takes to win in San Francisco is what it takes to win everywhere: and that’s to sail very well and very consistently. There are 11 races here and there’s not a lot of room for having bad races. You have to sail somewhat conservatively, but you have to sail well. It’s a great sailing venue for sure; San Francisco is one of the best.”

1. Return to San Francisco

Ten years on from the last time the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds were hosted under the Golden Gate Bridge, the competition returns to San Francisco from 15-18 October, and will be hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. The city is one of sailing’s iconic locations, most recently noted for hosting a dramatic 35th America’s Cup. San Francisco Bay, noted for its challenging tidal conditions will offer a unique sailing environment.

2. Close racing guaranteed:

Racing at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship gets tighter each year. Last year’s championship demonstrated the closeness of the competition. Finishing level on points with Kevin McNeil’s Nightshift, Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible of Italy triumphed by virtue of having won more of the week’s races. Enfant Terrible defends her crown in 2014 and will face tough competition notably from two former winners – Australian Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’s Transfusion (winner in 2011) and Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon 6 (victor in 2012).

3. Sailing in its purest form:

Success at the Rolex Farr 40s is not achieved by having the best boat or biggest budget. Class rules ensure that the competing yachts are identical, required to comply with strict rules concerning the number and size of sails, safety equipment, deck hardware, boat and total crew weight. An amateur owner is required to helm the boat and only four professional sailors are allowed among the usual 10-strong crew. Each crewmember contributes. Tactics, sail trim and rudder movements must reach a ballet-like synergy.

5. Every second counts:

Timing is one of the most important components of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. Decisions need to be sharp and incisive, maneuvers flawless and efficient. Starts and mark roundings must be judged perfectly. Focus carried through the finish where on fractions of boat lengths separate the leading yachts. This unwavering attention to detail aligns perfectly with the core values of Rolex and the reward for victory is coveted throughout the sailing world.

This unrelenting pursuit of perfection in timing has a symbol: the Rolex Oyster Perpetual YACHT-MASTER II, designed specifically for races where split seconds count. Helmsmen are able to trust implicitly the innovative mechanical countdown of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual YACHT-MASTER II regatta chronograph to cross the line on the starting gun. This chronometer-certified professional regatta chronograph is a marriage of breakthrough design and time-honoured tradition – just like the competing yachts at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds themselves.

5. Every second counts:

Timing is one of the most important components of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. Decisions need to be sharp and incisive, maneuvers flawless and efficient. Starts and mark roundings must be judged perfectly. Focus carried through the finish where on fractions of boat lengths separate the leading yachts. This unwavering attention to detail aligns perfectly with the core values of Rolex and the reward for victory is coveted throughout the sailing world.

This unrelenting pursuit of perfection in timing has a symbol: the Rolex Oyster Perpetual YACHT-MASTER II, designed specifically for races where split seconds count. Helmsmen are able to trust implicitly the innovative mechanical countdown of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual YACHT-MASTER II regatta chronograph to cross the line on the starting gun. This chronometer-certified professional regatta chronograph is a marriage of breakthrough design and time-honoured tradition – just like the competing yachts at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds themselves.

Source:  http://www.rolex.com/

Photo Credit: Rolex / Daniel Forster