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Friday, February 19, 2016

Plenty Wins the 2016 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds

Entering the final race with a fragile two-point margin over their closest rival, Alex Roeper’s crew of the American yacht Plenty kept calm, held their nerve and executed a race plan that put them ahead of Transfusion to win the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds for a second time.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“It’s a dream come true. We battled very hard last year and came up short. This year we battled just as hard and put it all together very consistently. Huge credit to all our competitors particularly Transfusion. It was full on for four days. Everyday was different, and this team showed it can cope with it all,” Roepers said.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Ahead of today’s racing, three teams were in contention for the main prize. Plenty led Transfusion and fellow Americans Flash Gordon by four points. With two races scheduled the game was firmly on. Any error would be exploited.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
In the first race of the day, it was Flash Gordon that lowered their guard and in an effort to get the perfect start committed the cardinal error of crossing the start line ahead of the gun. The start is regarded as a fundamentally important element of any Farr 40 race.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
A good start means you can choose your position on the course and execute your own strategy. A bad start means playing catch up. In a tight fleet having to restart is often terminal. Flash Gordon would eventually finish in tenth place ending hopes of repeating their 2012 World Championship victory.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“A great event, super close and came down to the final race. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I knew all the teams were going to be strong and even the ones that would like to be stronger were capable of having their moments. You have to watch out for everybody and work hard all the time,” said Flash Gordon's tactician, Ed Baird.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
One contender down. Transfusion, winners of the 2011 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds last time the event was in Australia, by contrast, had made the perfect start and led this, the penultimate race from start to finish, executing precisely its own perfectly-formed strategy. Plenty sailed a competent race finishing in third place.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Unable to dislodge Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master from second or challenge for the lead, Roepers and tactician Terry Hutchinson did the next best thing and kept the loss of points as low as possible. It was better to go into the last race with a two-point cushion than potentially throwing it away on a wild throw of the dice.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“Last year we went into the final race one point ahead and came out losing. We knew that if we went out this time and executed the rest of it would take care of itself. In that last race we had to get the race we wanted. We wanted to start to leeward of Transfusion. Alex and Skip Baxter (mainsail trimmer) got the boat going on time and we managed to get our bow out in front. Ideally I would have liked half a length more,” said Hutchinson.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Unbeknown to Hutchinson the fatal blow had in fact been dealt. Shortly after the start Transfusion found herself struggling to match the speed and line of Plenty. Something had to be done.

In these small moments races are won or lost. Attempting to find clear air Transfusion got into a tangle with the boats to windward and was forced into taking a penalty turn. Catastrophe. Transfusion had been put on the back foot by Plenty’s exemplary start. She was now deeper in trouble.

Ultimately, despite storming around the racecourse she could not make up the lost ground. Recovering to fourth place was not enough. Plenty did what they had done all series and sailed to their plan. Concentrating on holding position ahead of Transfusion, German entrant Struntje Light was allowed to run away with the final race win no threat to overall victory.

“We are only as smart as we are fast. I can’t say enough about the speed team of Morgan Trubovich (upwind trimmer), Skip and Alex and the work they did to keep the boat going in all circumstances. On the first day it was our downwind speed and on the second day it was our ability to bounce back from a premature start. Yesterday we battled back from being eighth at the first mark to get a third and actually I think that was the moment we won the regatta.”

Farr 40 Worlds Media

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