Exceeding Expectations on Farr 40 International Circuit Championship
Published on September 21st, 2015
(September 21, 2015) – Alberto Rossi was determined to rebound from a disappointing campaign in 2014. Rick Goebel was simply hoping to put forth a respectable performance in his first year as a member of one of the world’s most competitive classes. Both skippers exceeded their own expectations while achieving their goals.
Rossi and his team aboard Enfant Terrible were simply spectacular from start to finish in capturing the Farr 40 Class Association International Circuit Championship in commanding fashion.
“Alberto was absolutely on fire. It was very evident that he was out to make amends for finishing second last year,” said Geoff Stagg, manager of the Farr 40 Class Association. “It all came together for Enfant Terrible this season: Good sails, good crew and good focus.”
Goebel and the crew of Insanity made one of the most impressive debuts in Farr 40 history by capturing the Corinthian crown by winning three of the four events that comprised the 2015 season.
“It has been remarkable to see the way Rick has come into the class and enjoyed such spectacular success so quickly,” Stagg said. “As a skipper, Rick has been a real revelation. He has been very competitive out on the race course, but most importantly he has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the class.”
Enfant Terrible made a strong statement about the program’s improvement by posting a five-point victory over 2014 Circuit Champion and defending world champion Plenty at the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship, held off San Diego in early March.
“There is a great rivalry going on between Enfant and Plenty,” Stagg said. “Alberto felt his boat was a bit off the pace that Plenty set last year and that his crew needed to raise its game. That was principally in the area of sail shape.”
Rossi worked with his friends at North Sails Italy to improve his sail inventory. Giovanni and Daniele Cassinari, who shared mainsail trimming duties aboard Enfant Terrible this season, spearheaded the redesign.
“We put a lot of time and effort into the sail program and arrived at a really good place,” Rossi said. “Our new sails are made with material that is light and flexible. We have found it to be easily adaptable to sailing in different conditions.”
Enfant Terrible beat Groovederci by tiebreaker at the West Coast Championship, held in late May off Cabrillo Beach. Roberto Strappati filled in as helmsman while Tommaso Chieffi called tactics in that regatta, which saw Enfant jumped from third to first in the final race.
Rossi and usual tactician Vasco Vascotto rejoined the team for the California Cup and Enfant Terrible dominated, leading from start to finish in posting a 17-point margin of victory that pretty much wrapped up the circuit championship. Enfant Terrible placed third at the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship, but still finished with a 23-point cushion over Flash Gordon 6 (Helmut Jahn) in the circuit standings.
“We were really, really consistent. I’m not sure we were always the fastest boat, but we sailed cleanly, sailed smart and avoided the bad results,” Rossi said.
Rossi credited Vascotto for his uncanny ability to call wind shifts and ensure Enfant Terrible was almost always on the correct side of the course. Andrea Caracci served as navigator throughout the season and also did a terrific job.
Other regular crew members aboard Enfant Terrible included Claudio Celon (headsail trimmer), Nicolas Dal Ferro (offside trimmer), Alberto Fantini (bow), Daniele Fiaschi (pit) and Carlo Zermini (pit assist).
“Most of the crew has been with me since I started in the Farr 40 class in 2009 and we have grown up together,” Rossi said.
Rossi’s crowning moment came in 2013 when he captured the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, contested off Newport, Rhode Island. He had never previously secured the circuit title, finishing as runner-up on several occasions.
“We worked very hard all summer for this so I am very satisfied by this result,” Rossi said. “This is an incredibly competitive class with many outstanding teams and any number of boats can win a race or a regatta. To be the best boat for the entire season is very rewarding. I really enjoyed the California circuit and our team had a lot of fun.”
Goebel was a veteran of the J/105 class who decided to step up to a higher level of sailboat racing. The San Diego Yacht Club member had crewed on a Farr 40 and loved the high performance aspect of the boat and decided to join the class this year.
“I was looking for something more challenging and wanted to do more serious racing,” Goebel explained. “As a boat and a class, the Farr 40 has a top-notch reputation. With the circuit being in California this year, it just seemed like a logical choice.”
Goebel credits veteran rigger Will Van Cleef with getting the boat set up properly from the outset and praised tactician Greg “Twister” Tawaststjerna with helping the crew overcome the learning curve that comes from jumping into such a highly-competitive class.
Insanity enjoyed immediate success by topping the Corinthian fleet at the Midwinter Championship, winning by tiebreaker over Temptress (Ray Godwin). That was especially sweet for Goebel as it came on his home waters of San Diego.
Insanity put forth a superb performance at the West Coast Championship and won by 24 points over White Knight (Zoltan Katinszky). Goebel and company remained on a roll at the Cal Cup, once again capturing the Corinthian class by a comfortable margin, this time by 21 points over Temptress.
“Insanity has been on fire all season so the rest of us have been fighting for second,” Godwin remarked afterward.
Insanity’s stranglehold grip on the Corinthian fleet, which routinely numbered seven or eight boats, finally came to an end at the Rolex North American Championship as skipper Lloyd Clark led Voodoo Chile to victory off Santa Barbara.
That runner-up result did not detract from a fantastic season that saw Insanity capture the Circuit crown with a low score of 228 points, 49 better than Temptress.
“We have a strong team with some outstanding sailors, but I did not expect to do this well right out of the gate. To tell the truth, we were just hoping not to embarrass ourselves,” said Goebel, who has been commuting back-and-forth from Singapore for regattas. “This is the highest level of racing I’ve ever experienced and it’s been an absolute blast. To be the season champ among the Corinthian boats is an incredible thrill.”
Goebel reserved special praise for Alan “Buddha” Nakanishi for his leadership among the crew and also credited longtime crew member Shawn Burke as a key figure. Carrie Wiley served as navigator the entire season while Ian Coleman (headsails) and Steve Natvig (main) were regular trimmers.
“I thought the team improved daily during every regatta, which was really neat to see,” Goebel said. “We worked on different elements over the course of the season, focusing on starts or mark roundings or sail changes at various points. I cannot say enough about everyone involved with the Farr 40 class. We got help and input from so many people, whether it was some of the top skippers giving me advice or pros from other teams providing the crew with tips and pointers.”
Now Rossi and Goebel will attempt to complete the 2015 season on a high note at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, being held Sept. 24-27 and hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club. Two separate champs will be crowned next Saturday with the overall winner receiving the prestigious World Cup and the top Corinthian team being presented the John B. Thomson Jr. Memorial Trophy.
“I am very, very pleased to win the circuit for the first time. Having the best performance for the whole season is the true measure of a good boat and team,” Rossi said. “Winning another world championship would be icing on the cake. As long as we sail the boat to the best of our ability, I will be happy.”
Report by Tink Chambers, Class Secretary.
2015 International Circuit
March 4-7: F40 Midwinter Champ – San Diego, CA
May 27-30: F40 West Coast Championship – Cabrillo Beach, CA
July 22-25: California Cup – Marina del Rey, CA
August 19-22: Rolex North Americans – Santa Barbara, CA
September 24-27: Rolex World Championship – Long Beach, CA
Click here for full 2015 calendar.