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Winning the 2009 Farr 40 World Championship
(June 29, 2009) When Terry Hutchinson won the 2008 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award, the only event during his epic year that fell below his standards was the Farr 40 Worlds, where his tactical prowess aboard Jim Richardsonís Barking Mad could do only as well as 8th overall.
Having not won the Worlds since 2004, the team successfully re-climbed the mountain last week (June 22-26) to win the 2009 Worlds in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Scuttlebutt checked in with Terry following their win:
Were the Worlds any different than you anticipated?
No, not really much different than expected. Nerone, Mascalzone, and Joe Fly were all very well prepared and fast. Probably the biggest surprises were the fact that TWT and Calvi were not at the front as they were very fast in Capri. We did have slightly different conditions though, so maybe that had something to do with it. Other teams that showed a lot were Americans Alex Roepersí Plenty and Helmut Jahnís Flash Gordon. Both came on strong at the end.
Barking Mad was able to stay in the top 6 for all ten races. Only Joe Fly (third overall) came close to that level of consistency, but they still had a 19th. What were the main factors that helped you avoid the big score?
Boat speed. We were bloody quick and inevitably in the situations that were tough to hang our boat speed carried us. I always banged on about being as smart as we are fast and this was one of those situations/regattas. Next was the fact we started well, conservatively away from traffic. A lot of the times we were giving up line bias to guarantee we could go straight off the line. But again that goes back to the fact that we were confident in our speed. Final point would be that our team work was as consistent as the result. Inevitably it takes all the pieces and the team was rock solid.
How is the class doing?
The 2009 Worlds saw 26 boats and 10 countries represented in an economic environment that nobody seems to be very positive about. To me that speaks volumes about the class, the owners, and the competition.
Any big conversations at the Worlds on what is going on with the class, boats, measurement, rules, etc?
No, it is all very streamlined. Occasionally there are little measurement items like a shackle here and there but for the most part everybody knows the rules and complies. A lot of it comes from the fact that the class management does good work at keeping everybody honest. You cannot underestimate the importance of that with any class and by the fact that the Farr 40 is going strong is a good indication of owners association and leadership from Stagg Yachts.
Explain the crew weight rule. Is the door opening for women?
The class has always had one weigh-in prior to each event. For us on the Barking Mad, we choose to sail with 10 which inevitably means a smaller team but an extra set of hands in a lot of the maneuvers. Inevitably the smaller people mean that we choose to have women with us on the boat. Linda Lindquist-Bishop and Derby Anderson have been with the team for a while and we are very fortunate to have them as part of the Barking Mad.
Explain the on-the-water umpire system used by the class.
The on-the-water umpire system is in place not to access penalties but to let the competitors know when the judges have witnessed a foul or situation. By blowing a whistle it letís competitors know that the judges have seen something and that somebody should do a penalty. It was fairly busy at this event because the race track was so left hand biased that inevitably 85% of the fleet was coming into the top mark on port tack. However, all in all it is a good system as it avoids late nights in the protest room for all involved.
Any other big events on your 2009 dance card?
Coming up in July is the third circuit event on Quantum Racing at the Audi Med Cup in Cagliari, Italy and then the Farr 40 Europeans onboard Barking Mad at the same venue. In the rest of 2009, we will be in Palma, Mallorca for the TP 52 World Championship on Quantum Racing in October and the Melges 24 Worlds in Annapolis later in the same month. Funny, the more you do it and the effort you put into it, they all feel like big events, even the small ones!
2009 Farr 40 World Championship website: www.farr40worldchampionship.com
2009 Farr 40 World Championship photos: www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/photos
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