Minneapolis Sailor Hap Fauth Rings in Season with Yachtsman of the Year Nomination
Hap Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn.) received an early Christmas present when he was nominated this month as one of 11 sailors in the running for 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. The nominees Ė put forward by the membership of U.S. Sailing to acknowledge their distinguished on-water accomplishments for the year Ė will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists, and a winner will be announced in mid-January of 2016.
"Iím honored and humbled," - said Fauth. "I sailed one designs growing up and was working at a sail loft when I was 13 Ė thatís apples and oranges to what Iím doing now, but at the end of the day, itís about dominating the start, never getting out of phase, and continually optimizing your boat. As you go from a Star to a Melges 32 to a Maxi 72, the complexity of that is exponentially multiplied."
Bella Menteís Owner/Driver Hap Fauth (Photo Credit: Sharon Green)
Fauth certainly fits the bill for the coveted award, steering his Maxi 72 Bella Mente through a successful 2015 campaign, which included winning the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, a pinnacle event on the teamís racing calendar. Before that, the team put on a strong performance in the U.S., the Caribbean and the U.K., taking the overall win at the RORC Caribbean 600 and winning their class at Quantum Key West Race Week, the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta and Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The team even made an impressive comeback at Les Voiles de St. Barth, moving up to second place overall after suffering an equipment failure on the first day.
Fauth elaborated on the comprehensive nature of big-boat programs by saying, "Olympic and one-design sailors are on the water all the time, and I take my hat off to them. Not one (type of campaign) is better than the other, but the complexity of a big boat is a different deal than most people think. Itís an interesting undertaking with 20-30 people and a major investment in time, energy, planning and other elements."
Hap Fauth steered Bella Mente to a win in the 2015 Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship. (Photo Credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)
Fauth is joined onboard by a slew of world-class sailors, including Terry Hutchinson who joins him in the afterguard as tactician and also won the 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award.
"When I was named Yachtsman of the Year it was a true honor to receive it," - said Hutchinson. "At the luncheon presentation, the previous yearís winner, Brian Porter, spoke a few words about what it was like to compete against me on the course. It was so touching that by the end of the ceremony my wife leaned in and asked if he actually was talking about me! Hap accompanied me to the presentation and at this time our sailing relationship was on the front side of Bella Menteís 2015 season.
"To be given the opportunity to present the 2015 Yachtsman of the Year award to Hap would be truly the culmination of a great year together. Looking at the short list I can see merit in all the names put forward, but of course I am biased to Hap winning."
More about Bella Mente Racing
The original Bella Mente Racing campaign kicked off in 2006 with Key West Race Week, and since then owner and skipper Hap Fauth has had two additional racing yachts in the program. Launched in Spring 2012, the current Bella Mente is a 72-foot Mini Maxi designed by judel/vrolijk yacht design and built by New England Boatworks.
Sponsors for Bella Mente Racing include
TSI, ESC, Tekran, DICKEY-john, Churchill Yachts, Worthington Aviation, Worthington Ag Parts and New England Boatworks.