The Farr 40 is one of the most rockin’ yachts out there! And the photo featured in October in the 2022 Ultimate Sailing Calendar is a prime example of that. The power, as it leaps out of the turquoise waters … heeled way over … the dedicated crew immersed in spray as they hike hard … It’s one of my favorite images to truly exemplify ‘Ultimate Sailing!’ In fact, I love it so much, I made it the cover of my book: 30 Years of Ultimate Sailing!
I have been fortunate to capture this exciting, well-sailed fleet in action in venues around the world over the last quarter of a century, and talked to my longtime friend Tink Chambers about this legendary craft.
Tink, who was Secretary of the Farr 40 Class in its heyday, said “It was designed to perform well, but also handle well, as the class had a strict owner-driver rule.” Owners had to be amateurs and onboard crew could have no more than four professionals, which proved to be a big selling point, Tink pointed out, and they rocketed into popularity: with 152 Farr 40s built since 1996.
Boat owners knew they’d be competing against their peers – not all-pro teams – and over the years that created a solid fleet and strong bond among the owners. “It became more like an elite club; after racing all season they’d get together, go skiing and stuff during the off-season,” Tink said. These friendships made the regattas lively, with tight racing on the water followed by great camaraderie and merriment once they hit the dock: in venues throughout the US, Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and so on!
And it wouldn’t be unusual to see Olympians, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans among the crews. I could always count on tight racing, close mark roundings, and impeccable starts with this assembly of experts.
Tink added that the Farr 40s were built to look like race boats, powerful but nicely proportioned. “The Farr 40s are aesthetically pleasing, and a lot of the owners use flashy color schemes and designs so they look particularly good.”
I couldn’t agree more!
The lines and graphics on October’s featured photo Joe Fly – an Italian entry in the 2008 Miami Grand Prix – were dramatic and added interest in this shot. I know it looks like I’m about to get run over: in truth, I captured this image as they were tuning up before the start. It had been blowing all night and I knew conditions would be epic, with huge seas and that spectacular water color. But it would also be a challenge getting out of Government Cut (the entrance to Miami) so we docked out early on a Protector, well ahead of the fleet. Even so, it was a very bumpy ride: bouncing around in the big waves with my camera case was flying all over the place.
Ahead of the fleet, as they sailed out toward the race course, I was able to catch this shot with my Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, shooting ISO 100 at a shutter speed of 1/2000 and f-stop f/4. Although I will admit I was thrown around so much in the big waves, the engines of the Protector ended up in a lot of my shots!
In October’s bottom image in the 2022 Ultimate Sailing Calendar you can see a different perspective of this fleet – here during Key West Race Week 2006 – from the helicopter. Their starts are always breathtaking as the fleet comes charging across the line! And when it is windy, it is nice to be high and dry … although I actually enjoy being on the water and getting those intense in-your-face photos. That’s Ultimate Sailing!
So friends – it’s October and you know what that means: the 2023 Ultimate Sailing Calendar will be here soon! (Cue ‘Happy dance’ music!) After our blast-from-the-past 2022 edition, I’m excited to be presenting some brand spanking new images: from leggy foiling SailGP F50s, to a 470 levitating out of Sagami Bay, the J Class legend Velsheda, Pyewacket raising the 24-hour speed record, and more! We have something for everyone, to heighten and brighten your mood and imagination. Stand by for more details, or check the website www.ultimatesailing.com mid-month to order yours!
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