A Tradition Of Yachting Excellence

As one of the oldest yacht clubs in the world, established in 1869, Chicago Yacht Club is the embodiment of tradition as demonstrated by the red carpet welcome the competitors at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship have received. The club's Monroe Harbor Station, where the regatta is headquartered from September 17-20, is ideally situated just a short distance from the Magnificent Mile, the main link between Chicago's business district and its exclusive Gold Coast neighborhood, making it the perfect venue in which to bond business relationships through sporting competition. 

Eric Mergenthaler (Mexico City, Mexico), chief executive with Active International Mexico, is no stranger to competing at the elite level having represented Mexico in the Finn class at three consecutive Olympic Games ('84, '88, '92). Three years of involvement in the Farr 40 class have led him to compete in the world championship for the first time this week. "The experience in Chicago has been fantastic," he said before the start of the first race aboard Flojito y Cooperando. "The venue, the atmosphere, the organization has been really good. Our goal is to finish in the top 50% of the fleet. It is an extremely competitive fleet, so if we finish 10 or above that would be a very good result for us." 

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Making a Fresh Water Splash

 

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Helmut Jahn, owner/skipper of FLASH GORDON 6, and his son Evan Jahn with Bill Hardesty, tactician. Photo by Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Since the launch of the first Farr 40 in 1997, this high-octane grand-prix class has grown to 160 boats sailed in 20 countries.  The well-organized class is run like a business, and the ensuing international competition has led the fleet around the globe to race in many of the sailing world's most iconic venues:  San Francisco, Miami, Porto Cervo, Newport and Sydney.  From September 17-20, 2012, the 40' high-performance one-design yachts will contest the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Chicago, notable as an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, telecommunications and transportation.  The 20 yachts, representing eight nations (Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Turkey and the U.S.A.), will compete on fast-paced and technically demanding courses, with the first starting signal scheduled to be given daily at 11:00 a.m.

 

This marriage of business and sport extends from the class organization to the collaboration between the amateur owners and their semi-professional crew that more often than not includes a world-renowned tactician who brings his particular expertise to the contest.  The tacticians competing in Chicago boast impressive credentials:  no less than seven are Olympians, while at least that many are world champions in other classes.

Bill Hardesty (San Diego, Calif.), the 2011 Etchells World Champion and winner of the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award, is the tactician aboard Flash Gordon 6 whose owner, Chicago architect Helmut Jahn, was the primary force behind the 15th edition of the world championships being held for the first time on Lake Michigan.

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2012 Worlds Updates

2012 Worlds Videos

Barking Mad wins Farr 40 Pre-Worlds & Farr 40 North American Circuit

 

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Jim Richardson's Barking Mad in mark-rounding action today at the Farr 40 Pre-Worlds. Photo by Sara Proctor/Sailfastphoto.
In the strength of yesterday's 1-2-1 scores and top-ten finishes in today's two final races, Jim Richardson from Newport, RI and his Barking Mad team have won the 2012 Farr 40 Pre-Worlds, held at Chicago YC. Being the last of five events in the 2012 Farr 40 North American Circuit, the win also gives Richardson the overall win in this series as well.

 

Runner-up in the Pre-Worlds and third in the overall Circuit is Wolfgang Schaefer from Luneburg, Germany and his team on Struntje Light. Schaefer finally broke a string of third place finishes to finish second, but was unable to overcome Alberto Rossi's Enfant Terrible team from Italy to claim the runner-up position in the overall series.

The day started in beautiful late summer sunshine, but with no wind, as a strong high pressure dominated the entire upper Midwest US. Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio elected to post the AP flag until 1230 local time, as a light onshore breeze built steadily to bring sailable conditions to the lakefront.

Race 1 started in 7-8 knots, light conditions that suited Annapolis-based Kevin McNeil and his Nightshift team, who had relocated to race here in Lake Michigan for the last half of the summer. McNeil started strong to take the early lead, and tactician Andrew Campbell played the chess game well to keep them ahead of the chasing pack, led by Phillip Dowd's local-based Inferno team and Asterisk Uno from Turkey, helmed for this event by Levent Ozonur in owner Hasip Gencer's absence.

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