German Farr 40 premiere at the Rolex Baltic Week
August 9, 2007

NEUSTADT/HOLSTEIN, GERMANY. Thrilling maneuvers and tight finishes are their characters, only amateur owners or skippers helming is their rule. For ten years now the Farr 40 class has been the pinnacle of the regatta sport. For the first time ever 14 international teams will gather in Germany to sail the Rolex Baltic Week from 17 to 19 August. In addition to this they will determine their European Circuit winner in the fifth and decisive grand-prix series.

The Melges 24 Class fleet racing downwind ,  Photo by: Rolex / Daniel ForsterAt the closing date, 14 teams from all over the world had entered the first-ever Farr 40 regatta in Germany . The teams come from Australia , Denmark , Germany , Finland , the United Kingdom , Italy , Ukraine , and the USA , with even more nations being represented by the crew members. The high degree of internationality of the crews of nine or ten within the weight limit is a typical feature of the Farr 40 class.

Equally typical is the concentrated three-day race program, which must fit into the international calendar of top regattas, and was co-ordinated with the European Farr 40 fleet as co-organizer. The first three short races will take place on the opening day (Friday, 17 August), even before the Rolex Baltic Week is officially opened by the CEO of Rolex Germany, Peter Streit, and NRV President Manuel Cadmus. There will be three more races on each of the following two days, and on Sunday afternoon the winner of the regatta will be determined, after nine races in all.

The Rolex Crew Party will not only be the backdrop to the prize-giving for the Rolex Baltic Week Farr 40 races, but also to the announcement of the winner of the 2007 Farr 40 European Circuit. Neustadt will host the fifth and decisive event of this grand-prix series, of which the first four regattas have already been completed including Rolex Capri Sailing Week, Rolex Settimana delle Bocche (European Championships) in Porto Cervo (both in Italy), the Nordic Farr 40 Championships in Hankö, Norway, and the Dexia Farr 40 Skagen Race in Denmark.

Melges 24, AIRIS ,  Photo by: Rolex / Daniel ForsterBefore the final event, two overseas teams are fighting for the overall victory. The Australian boat Kokomo , Lang and Sue Walker, is leading with 241 points ahead of the American boat Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, with 264 points. The US team, which was the first Farr 40 World Champion in 1998 and is, to date, the only boat that has repeated this success with a 2nd win in 2004, is still set on coming in first in the European Circuit. After their first win at the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, they had to let the Australians pass by into the overall lead. At the end of the final series, though, the nine worst single race results will be discarded, so that the boats in the lead will move closer together, which may have a serious impact on the overall results.

There will be a well-known face back on board Barking Mad this year. Terry Hutchinson was tactician with Emirates Team New Zealand, which lost the final of the 32nd America 's Cup in Valencia , Spain , 5 - 2, after battling hard against the Swiss team, Alinghi. The Hutchinson - one of the worlds most profiled sailing professionals - will return as tactician on board Barking Mad.

The tactician on board Wolfgang Schäfer's Struntje Light is particularly well-known in Germany . Schäfer, the medic from Lüneburg puts all his trust in Jesper Bank, the former skipper of the first German America's Cup syndicate Team Germany . In the intermediate ranking of the European Circuit, the team is third with a score of 345 points. Schäfer, president of the European Farr 40 fleet, brought his class' first regatta to Germany . That in itself is a victory for him, but it will certainly not keep him from fighting for a home win on the water.

The second German entry, Wolfgang Stolz with Opus One will be starting with wind from behind. After the investment banker from Frankfurt had been making a name for himself in various Swan 45 regattas, he also started sailing in the Farr 40 class last year, and he nearly even became world champion in 2006. After three and a half years of "patient coaching by my tactician", New Zealander Kelvin Harrap, Stolz proudly won his first regatta, the Dexia Farr 40 Skagen Race.

Further big names and favourites for the overall victory at the Rolex Baltic Week are Flash Gordon 5, of the German-born Chicago-based star architect Helmut Jahn, the Australian Ichi Ban of Matt Allen, and the Italian Fiamma with skipper Alessandro Barnaba.

Farr 40 fleet racing downwind , Photo by: Rolex / Daniel ForsterAll teams will be using the Rolex Baltic Week as an acid test for the peak of the season, the up-coming Rolex Farr 40 World Championships. In the class' tenth anniversary year 2007, the Worlds will be held in the Danish capital of Copenhagen (29 August to 1 September).

This years' Rolex Baltic Week will also feature the European Championship of the international Melges 24 class (18 to 23 August). The Rolex Baltic Week is the only regatta event in Germany that is sponsored by Rolex. The international Rolex regatta calendar features profiled events such as the Rolex Fastnet Race starting in August from Cowes, England, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September in Porto Cervo, Sardinia/Italy, the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta at the end of October and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race at the end of December in Australia.


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