As the free world plays and replays the unreal images filmed yesterday over lower Manhattan and Washington, and reels in the aftershock of yesterday’s astonishing and unprecedented terrorist attacks, the world of sailing trims on with a heavy heart

The Farr 40 World Championships are scheduled to begin today off Cowes. Although the mind-numbing, hair-raising events of the last 24 hours have raised question marks over the participation of the American portion of the 22-boat fleet, no indication has been given that the event will be postponed.

Should the event proceed, there will be many challengers for the title, not least of which will be Farr 40 European Champion, Oscar Strugstad’s Dawn Raid. The UK-based Norwegian owner has secured for this event the services of three of the four GBR Challenge members that helped him to European glory, namely Ian Walker (Tactics), Simon Fry (Trimmer) and James Stagg (Bow). They are tuned in perfectly to the Solent and are expected to carry a good deal of their European momentum into this event.

The one that got away, Julian Stagg, will be navigating onboard 1998 Farr 40 World Champion Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad, alongside British crack tactician Adrian Stead. As stated above, whether the American Richardson feels he can compete with any enthusiasm at all is yet to be seen. Similar feelings must be weighing heavy in the heart of fellow American John Coutmantaros, on whose Bambakou Eddie Warden-Owen is calling tactics.

The main threat will no doubt come from Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi. With Russell Coutts calling tactics and his familiar coterie of Simon Daubney and Warwick Fleury joined by Canadian bow ace Curtis Blewett, Alinghi is seen as having fingertips on the trophy already. Current world champion John Calvert-Jones’ Southern Star will sail with Australia’s nearly-Olympic 49er helmsman Adam Beashel and Australia II legend Grant Simmer.

The British challenge is expected to be led by Mark Heeley’s GBR-25. After a hugely encouraging build-up to a wholly unsatisfying European campaign, Heeley will have rallied his troops and hopefully, with the help of Iain Percy’s tactical ability, will be able to fly the flag with pride. Tony de Mulder’s Victric will race with Tony Wetherell as tactician and Ossie Stewart lends the benefit of his vast experience. Philip Tolhurst’s Warlord VII features the skills of GBR Challenge’s Chris Main

Farr 40 World Championships, Cowes 12-15 September
Entry list: Boat – Owner

  • 2XL – David Murrin
  • A Bit of a Coup – Tony Buckingham
  • A Bit of a Fling – John Ewart/David Palmer
  • Aleph – H Lepic/PE Detroyat
  • Alinghi – Ernesto Berterelli
  • Bambakou – John G Coumantaros
  • Barking Mad – Jim Richardson
  • Dawn Raid – Oscar Strugstad
  • Dune – Janssens/Trentesaux
  • Forza – Mark Timbrell
  • Game On – J Oswald/J Bainbridge
  • GBR-25 – Mark Heeley
  • Hurrycane III – Ken Bruneflod
  • Nerone – Massimo Mezzaroma
  • Norwegian Steam – Eivind Astrup
  • Predator – Steve Kaminer
  • Southern Star – John A Calvert-Jones
  • Struntje Light – Dr Wolfgang Schaefer
  • Too Steamy – Nick Haigh
  • Victric – Tony de Mulder
  • Warlord VII – Philip Tolhurst
  • Zzenzero 7 – Renato Mazzeschi