Twenty-four hours before the start of the dress rehearsal for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney was quiet today. Most of the sailors relaxed before the Rolex Farr 40-Pre-Worlds, which start with three short races on Thursday. Three-time America's Cup winner Russell Coutts, tactician on board Hasso Plattner's Morning Glory, played a round of golf.
The Walldorf entrepreneur Plattner is one of the top favorites for the World Cup crown in the owner-controlled class, which will be sailed from March 1st to 4th at the same place. Although the "Morning Glory" did not convince last week at the Australian Farr40 Championships in Hamilton Island, Coutts was calm. He's having a lot of fun returning to the Farr 40 scene.
The New Zealander had won the Rolex Farr 40 World Cup in 2001 as a tactician for Alinghi owner Ernesto Bertarelli (Switzerland), before the two fell apart after winning the Cup in 2003. Now he is dying to repeat the success with another team. The odds seem good. Because the crew of the "Morning Glory" had won the Key West Race Week in Florida / US in January with the same cast.
Nevertheless, Coutts warned of the difficult conditions on the regatta course in front of the Sydney Heads: "Lots of short and steep wind waves, then the swell bouncing back on the cliffs, the blinding sun on the surface of the water, which makes it difficult to see gusts - I think that is one of the trickiest areas I have ever sailed. I am sure that I have not yet recognized all the special features, but that makes it so exciting."
While Coutts was on the golf tee, some teams were still sweating in the sauna in order to stay below the weight limit of 760 kilograms when the crews officially weighed in, which all 28 registered participants ultimately achieved. Only a few boats left the club harbor in Rushcutters Bay again to complete final material and maneuver tests.
Most of the teams, who have been preparing for the World Cup on site for several weeks, used the day to switch off before race director Peter "Luigi" Reggio started the first of nine planned races in three days. For the pre-worlds, the meteorologists have predicted light winds. When the breeze is weak, the ocean swell off Sydney is a particular challenge.
All teams want to use the races as a warm-up for the World Cup. Brit Adrian Stead, tactician on Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino (Italy), revealed his key to success, which is to see each day as a final race. "If you finish in the top five every day, you have a good chance of winning the entire event in the end." That demands enormous constancy. Especially because the Farr 40 class rules do not allow for a cancellation result. This puts a lot of pressure on the sailors.
The 2005 Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds will take place from February 24th to 26th, and the 2005 Rolex Farr 40 World Championships from March 1st to 4th. More information, daily race reports, results and photos can be found on the Internet at www.regattanews.com. The current participant and crew lists can be found on the website www.farr40.org.