Flash Gordon steals show at opening day of Farr 40 worlds in Newport Rhode Island 7/9/06

Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon was firing on all cylinders today while other leading lights stalled out during a tricky opening day at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Newport, Rhode Island.

The formula for Flash Gordon’s success includes world-renowned architect Helmut Jahn steering upwind, then handing over to his son Evan downwind. An unorthodox approach, but one that did them no harm in the light south-westerly breeze that blew across Rhode Island Sound.

In the first race of the day, Flash Gordon took a good start off the pin end of the line, rounding the first mark narrowly ahead of Vincenzo Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino (Portoferrio, Italy). By the leeward gate, Onorato had drawn level with the leader, his tactician Russell Coutts opting for the right-hand side while Flash Gordon’s Mark Ivey took the left. Ivey’s call paid off and Flash Gordon led for the rest of the race.

For the second race the breeze had built from 7 knots up to 12 or 13, and this time Flash Gordon started near the committee boat, her start only bettered by Wolfgang Stolz’s German entry Opus One. Once again Flash Gordon’s strategy paid off while this time many of the leading lights struggled on the left side of the course. Flash Gordon and Opus One were sufficiently far ahead toward the top of the first leg that the Americans even put a couple of covering tacks on the Germans.

Results (after day one)
1. Flash Gordon, Helmut Jahn, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 1-1, 2 points
2. Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli, Valencia, ESP, 5-3, 8
3. Silver Bullet, Henrik Jensen, Copenhagen, DEN, 7-7, 14
4. Twins, Erik Maris, Paris, FRA, 14-4, 18
5. Pegasus, Philippe Kahn, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 13-5, 18
6. Nerone, Mezzaroma/Migliori, Rome, ITA, 3-16, 19
7. Opus One, Wolfgang Stolz, Frankfurt, GER, 20-2, 22
8. Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Boston, Mass/Newport, RI, USA, 10-14, 24
9. Ichi Ban, Matt Allen, Sydney, AUS, 4-22, 26
10. Appreciation, Jeff Siegal, Riverside, Conn., USA 8-19, 27