Jim Richardson didn’t just take his third Farr 40 title this weekend, in Porto Cervo, his Barking Mad became the first American boat to win outside home waters. It was close going into the final day, with testing racing conditions, due to a building Mistral wind kicking up a lumpy sea, made lumpier by a big spectator fleet. Two races were sailed in winds in northwesterlies that gusted to the mid-twenties and tested tired crews. Tough Joe Fly had a chance, it was the battle between Nerone and Barking Mad that all eyes were on and it was Massimo Mezzaroma’s boat that went out guns blazing and took the first race of the day, making it a “winner takes all” second and final race.
According to Richardson “Immediately before the start, we just looked at each other and said this is why we’re here. We’re here for an opportunity to win the regatta on the last race.” Any self-doubts were kept private, though post-race Richardson confessed to some troubled thoughts, “I never doubted my team’s capability, but leading wire-to-wire puts a little bit of extra pressure on each and every race. In 1999, we led going into the last race and ended up third, so that was in the back of my mind. I felt pretty comfortable that we were going to be able to get a good start in the race and get around the course in good shape. We knew we had our hands full; we knew we had to sail well and that is what we did.”
As the initial beat unwound, the crew of Barking Mad found themselves in second place, hot on the heels of Alessandro Barnaba’s Fiamma and overtaking them at the offset mark with a textbook spinnaker hoist. Those watching the racing started counting back to Nerone. The left had clearly not paid for the Italian boat and the Barking Mad crew no longer had to sail as though lives depended on it. They just needed to keep between Nerone and the finish and they did that comfortably. Pic from Kurt Arrigo and more here.