The international rockstars peppering the fleet were led a merry dance by Britain’s Tony Buckingham yesterday on the first day of the Farr 40 World Championships off Cowes

Tony Buckingham’s early lead is a case of primus inter pares. Three boats share eight points after the first day but it is Buckingham’s A Bit Of A Coup that leads by virtue of her win in yesterday’s second race. Joint first are John Coutmantaros’ Bambakou and current class world champion John Calvert Jones’ Southern Star.

The first race saw 1998 world champion Jim Richardson nail his start in the middle of the line and streak off upwind to the top of the three-mile windward-leeward course with a comparatively thick 14-second lead. The 18-20 knot westerly allowed Richardson to pull clear but behind him, places were changing with every tack and gybe.

Southern Star, Bambakou and Massimo Mezzaroma’s Nerone chopped and changed positions several times during the three-circuit race but it was Nerone that ultimately claimed second ahead of Bambakou and Southern Star with Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi sliding ominously into fifth after a comparatively poor start. Steve Kaminer’s Predator finished sixth, ahead of A Bit Of A Coup in seventh.

The second race, contested in a 22-24 knot west-southwesterly, saw Buckingham rocket out of the blocks, flip onto port in clear air and slowly burn off Hughes Lepic’s Aleph and secure her first win.

“A win in this series is always nice to have,” said a delighted Buckingham. “It’s a very competitive fleet – I always said that when I’ve been down at the back.” Buckingham laid much of the credit for the win in the lap of tactician Michael Coxon for picking the beat perfectly. “It paid off big time and when Aleph went left on the second beat, Michael Coxon kept us going right. It was ‘Well done, Cocko!'”

Aleph held on for second with Philip Tolhurst’s Warlord VII third, Southern Star fourth and Bambakou fifth. Dune finished sixth ahead of Alinghi, seventh.

European champion Oscar Strugstad’s Dawn Raid had a disappointing day, notching a 20th in the first race and an eleventh in the second, leaving them 16th overall. Barking Mad also slipped in the second race, finishing tenth and dropping to fourth overall but still very much in touch with 11 points. The one surprise is the dip in form of Mark Heeley’s GBR25. In the run up to the Europeans, they swept the Solent Farr 40s before and expressed a wish for stiffer competition from any quarter. They have found it, and they are twelfth after the first day with an 8,15 scoreline.

Farr 40 World Championships, Cowes, 12-15 September 2001
Provisional Overall Results after Day One
Overall Pos. Sail No – Name – Results – Overall Pts1. GBR98R – A Bit of a Coup – 7,1 – 82. USA51581 – Bambakou – 3,5 – 83. AUS1770 – Southern Star – 4,4 – 84. USA50955 – Barking Mad – 1,10 – 115. GBR46R – Aleph – 9,2 – 116. USA51641 – Alinghi – 5,7 – 127. GBR7400R – Warlord VII – 11,3 – 148. USA40038 – Predator – 6,12 – 189. BEL6000 – Dune – 15,6 – 2110. GBR10R – 2XL – 14,8 – 2211. GBR5R – Victric – 13,9 – 2212. GBR25R – GBR25 – 8,15 – 2313. ITA2272 – Nerone – 2,23 – 2514. NOR9339 – Norweigan Steam – 12,14 – 2615. GBR7040R – Game On – 10,17 – 2716. GBR40 – Dawn Raid – 20,11 – 3117. ITA4088 – Zzenzero 7 – 15,16 – 3118. GBR1640R – Too Steamy – 19,13 – 3219. GER5055 – Strunje Light – 17,18 – 3520. GBR40L – Forza – 18,19 – 3721. GBR5440R – Hurrycane III – 22,20 – 4222. GBR8940R – A Bit of a Fling – 21,21 – 42