Sebenico – Since its inception in 1996, the Farr 40 Class Association has conducted events in some of the world’s most famous, most exotic and most beautiful cities. Casa de Campo, Cowes, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Miami, Newport, Nassau, Porto Cervo, San Francisco and Sydney are just a few of the renowned ports to host Farr 40 regattas.
A new venue will be added to that illustrious list when the Farr 40 International Circuit comes to Croatia. Sailors will be exposed to one of the oldest, most historic cities in all of Europe when the D-Marin Farr 40 Sibenik Regatta is held May 18-21.
D-Marin Mandalina Marina will serve as host for the event, which kicks off the 2016 International Circuit. Class stalwarts Enfant Terrible and Struntje Light headline a fleet of nine entries that includes several newcomers to Farr 40 one-design competition.
“We are very excited to conduct an event in Sibenik. It is just a fantastic location,” said Geoff Stagg, president of the Farr 40 Class Association. “The city is absolutely gorgeous, the marina is magnificent, the race course delivers reliable breeze. All the ingredients are in place to have a spectacular regatta.”
Sibenik is the oldest originally Croatian city on the Adriatic coast, first mentioned in 1066. It has long been an important cultural, educational and industrial center with a large commercial port. It is one of the major tourist destination with such historic sites as St. Nicholas Fortress and the Cathedral of St. James.
D-Marin Mandalina was awarded 5 Anchor Category by The Ministry of Tourism of Croatia in January, 2015. It has a berthing capacity of 429 boats with 79 slips specially designed for super yachts. Owned and operated by regatta sponsor D-Marin, the marina is located 40 minutes driving distance from the Split and Zadar international airports.
“It is our pleasure to welcome the Farr 40 class to one of the finest facilities on the Adriatic Sea,” said Selcuk Balci, marina coordinator for D-Marin. “This is the first of many major sailing regattas to be held at D-Marin Mandalina. We believe Croatia is one of the best sailing venues in the world and this Farr 40 regatta will show the type of events that can be held in this region.”
This marks the first Farr 40 class event on the continent since the 2011 European Championships were held in Istanbul, Turkey. Stagg credited Sena Akman, European representative for the Farr 40 Class Association, with scouting multiple locations to find the ideal host marina-site and sponsor.
“We had not been to Europe for many years and wanted to get back. We have almost 50 boats in Europe so it made sense to reinvigorate the fleet as a lead-up to the 2017 Rolex Farr 40 World Championships, which will be our 20th anniversary,” Stagg said.
The 20th annual Rolex Farr 40 World Championship will be held off Porto Cervo, Italy and hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Alberto Rossi, skipper of the Italian entry Enfant Terrible, lives across the Adriatic Sea in Ancona and is anxious to sail off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia for the first time.
“I am thrilled about this opportunity as the location is beautiful and the sailing should be fantastic,” Rossi said.
Enfant Terrible, the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 world champ, is one of the pre-regatta favorites. Struntje Light, which finished third at the 2016 world championship held off Sydney, Australia, is the other.
“I am very happy the class is back in the Med. After four years of racing on the East Coast and later the West Coast, we decided to go back to Europe,” said Wolfgang Schaefer, owner of Struntje Light and vice president of the Farr 40 Class Association. “We are very grateful that D-Marin is supporting our Sibenik event and we are convinced we will have a fantastic regatta there. Our goal is to strengthen the European fleet and to win some regattas along with way.”
Nobody is more excited about the Farr 40 class coming to Croatia than Berislav Vranic, owner of the Corinthian entry Damaco. Capt. Vranic, head of the shipping management company named Damaco, is a resident of Rijeka – a Croatian port city located about three hours further up the Adriatic Sea from Sibenik.
“I am so happy the Farr 40 class has decided to race in Sibenik. It is a very, very nice destination,” Vranic said. “The weather is just wonderful this time of year and the mid-portion is the absolute best spot to sail on the Adriatic.”
Vranic said competitors can expect consistent winds ranging from 8 to 15 knots, building throughout the day. Current is not really a factor and seas are usually calm – only occasionally choppy. Mostly sunny skies and temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius (65-72 Fahrenheit) are the norm during the late spring.
Vranic was visiting with a top executive from the Maersk Line in Copenhagen when he first spotted a Farr 40 and fell in love with the classic racer. He offered to buy the boat, which was named Nanoq and was owned by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, on the spot.
Vranic would enjoy tremendous success doing handicap racing during the three years he campaigned the Farr 40. “We won almost every race we entered,” he said.
A few years after selling that particular boat, Vranic decided to get back into the class and purchased another Farr 40. Now he cannot wait to test his skills in a one-design environment. “My adrenalin is already flowing just thinking about the Sibenik Regatta. I am not afraid to compete and am curious to see how I can do against some of the world’s best teams,” he said. “I have enjoyed an awful lot of success on the Adriatic. This is a new challenge.”
Rossi is familiar with the four Italian boats that will be competing in the Corinthian class at D-Marin Sibenik Regatta.
“I know some of the owners who are just starting into the class this year. Most of them are really good sailors with strong crews. These are used boats that have sailed the class in the past with really good results,” Rossi said.