Farr 40 USA
Warpath Wins Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship
Outstanding Victory Earns the Acura Miami Grand Prix Boat of the Week Award
Tuesday 13 March 2007 –
"This is a big win for us," said Steve, who spends most of his time at the Warpath helm. "It was the culmination of our plan to keep chipping away, over the past four years that we’ve been in the class. We were in the top six at the last three World Championships, so we’ve always been knocking on the door, but not able to close it. With this regatta, everything came together."
After Acura Key West Race Week, Warpath needed to do something drastic. With a disappointing 14th-place overall finish out of 17 boats, the team brought on a new tactician. Ian Williams, who spends most of his time on the match racing circuit, maintaining his #2 world ranking, was an unknown for his fleet racing capabilities, but quickly proved himself, according to Howe. "Since it was our first time sailing together, there was a bit of uncertainty, but after speaking with other guys in the class, they spoke favorable of him and we decided to try him out. After our first day of practice, he was a perfect fit as far as personality and knowledge and skills."
The championship was by no means wrapped up for Howe, he pointed out. Twins led the fleet in points over the first three days. In fact Warpath didn’t appear to be headed for first place after the first day of racing. Twins scored a 1,2 and was closely followed by Nerone, owned by past world champion Massimo Mezzaroma (Rome, Italy) and Norwegian Steam, owned by Eivind Astrup (Oslo, Norway), both tied and gunning to the top slot. Warpath was in 9th place.
By the second day of racing, Twins was still holding the lead, with Nerone a close second. However, Ernesto Bertarelli and his Alinghi had moved into third place. Despite a 9,12 finish on day one, the America’s Cup America's Cup #AmericasCup holders picked up the program and collected a 4,2. Also, on the second day, Nanoq, owned by HRH Prince Frederik of Denmark, won a race under the tactical eyes of Bouwe Bekking and jumped from eighth to fourth in the overall standings.
The third day of racing seemed to turn the tide of fortune for Warpath. Only five points separated the top five teams and Warpath was now in second place overall, finishing fourth in the day’s first race and then winning the next. By now, the California boat had claimed two first-places and looked poised to claim the championship.
Before starting the final day’s racing, the team on Warpath discussed their plan. "The last day was no different than the others," said Howe. "Our plan was to go out and sail our races, with the objective of sailing the best race we could."
With a second-place in the day’s first race, Warpath was now tied for first place with Twins. "Coming into the last race tied with Twins definitely put the pressure on us for the last race," said Howe.
"It was a really exciting race," he continued. "We got a better started and that allowed us to cover Twins up the first beat. We were match racing with them, keeping them behind us. We did a good job of holding them off, but they managed to catch up on the last run. We probably beat them by only half a boat length."
Looking back, did Howe ever think they had the race - and the championship - locked up? "It wasn’t given to us by any means," he said. "We had to recover from the first day, we had a new group, and we had some bad races. Each day was pretty close racing. I call it a typical Farr 40 race, a game of inches. For us it was a few feet."
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Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship at Acura Miami Grand Prix
Place, Boat Name, Skipper, Home Port, Race 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9, Total points
1. Warpath, Fred & Steve Howe, San Diego, Calif., 4-10-13-1-3-4-1-2-5, 43 points
2. Twins, Erik Maris, Paris, FRA, 6-1-2-7-9-5-4-4-7, 45
3. Nanoq, HRHPrince Frederik, Copenhagen, DEN, 12-7-5-5-1-9-3-1-6, 49
4. Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli, Geneva, SUI, 1-9-12-4-2-3-6-11-3, 51
5. Old Boys, Eduardo Souza Ramos, Sao Paulo, BRA, 2-4-8-11-6-1-7-14-2, 55
6. Nerone, Massimo Mezzaroma, Rome, ITA, 9-3-1-6-8-7-5-7-9, 55
7. Flash Gordon 5, Helmut & Evan Jahn, Chicago, Ill., USA, 3-5-10-2-14-11-2-6-8, 61
8. Fiamma, Alessandro Barnaba, Cala Galera, ITA, 14-8-7-8-4-8-10-3-1, 63
9. Ramrod, Rod Jabin, Annapolis, Md., USA, 10-11-6-13-7-2-12-5-11, 77
10. Norwegian Steam, Eivind Astrup, Oslo, NOR, 7-2-4-10-12-6-14-9-14, 78
11. Opus One, Wolfgang Stolz, Frankfurt, GER, 5-6-3-14-5-12-13-10-17DSQ, 85
12. Cannonball, Dario Ferrari, Portofino, ITA, 11-13-15-3-11-15-11-12-10, 101
13. Groovederci, John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Calif.,USA, -13-17DSQ-11-16-13-10-15-13-4, 112
14. Monick, Nicklas Holm, Tuborg, DEN, 16-15-14-15-10-13-9-8-13, 113
15. Barking Mad, James Richardson, Boston, Mass./Newport, RI, USA 8-12-9-12-15-14-16-15-12, 113
16. Aleph, Hughes Lepic, YC de France, FRA, 15-14-16-9-16-16-8-16-15, 125
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