On Saturday, September 10, Bella Mente Racing was crowned Rolex Maxi 72 World Champion. This is the team’s third Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship title win, and its second consecutive. The victory comes after a week of intense competition with five other world-class Maxi 72 teams on the waters off Porto Cervo, Sardinia.
The team, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth (Naples, Fla./Minneapolis, Minn.), marks the Maxi 72 Worlds as its pinnacle event each year and has been preparing for it since kicking off its 2016 campaign in January with Quantum Key West Race Week, where the team won its class. The team went on to win the inaugural Maxi72 North American Championship in Newport, R.I. in June and Copa del Rey MAPFRE in Mallorca, Spain in August.
It’s been a very competitive week with Bella Mente the defending World Champion and everyone’s boat to beat. We were definitely on everyone’s radar screen, which made for very little passing lanes all week, so we had to win the starts to control the fleet. We are not the fastest boat, so winning the World Championship was very gratifying. Premier Sponsor Rolex, the International Maxi Association and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda did a fantastic job hosting the World Championship. We’re look forward to another season with the Bella team next year.
It was a solid team day and week onboard Bella Mente. As we battled through the event and the year, there were many moments of growth for our squad. It was great to see that on display today. A tricky northeasterly breeze met the fleet and while we held a four-point lead, it never feels comfortable. Hap, Doogie, and Ian executed a safe mid-line start, and from there it was on Ado (Adrian Stead) and me to pick our way through the wind holes. Two well-timed tacks found us around the first top mark in second but more importantly the competition was deep. From there, it was a matter of staying between the competition and the marks. Inevitably as the race played out Bella Mente was able to get a sniff of the lead and we never looked back. The race ended with a win and the 2016 Maxi 72 World Championship. Needless to say it has been a rewarding week and as a team Bella Mente sailed very consistently, with our last 12 months of work on display.
It’s an absolute privilege to be part of the Bella Mente team and sail with Hap. The reason I love it so much is because I believe so highly in Haps leadership style. He hires guys he believes in and then trusts them to the edge of the world to do their job. My kids often give me a hard time for giving them ‘the look’ but we get that look also from Hap; it’s a ‘you’ve got this right, haven’t you?’ look, which I love and totally get. If you haven’t done the work you said you would, spoken when you don’t know what your talking about, or just had a full ‘brain fart’ as he would say (crew wise) then you will hear about it. But that’s okay, in fact that’s perfect! The fact of the matter is that all he expects is for us to do the very best we can do. He firmly believes that the time and effort that we all give out there on the water as a team will show in the results. It’s an absolute honor and a privilege to be a part of the Bella Mente team. I know I speak for everyone when I say thank you so very much and bring on 2017!
This week showed a terrific team performance from Bella Mente. We said at the beginning of The Worlds that we needed to start well, go fast and sail smart in each race, and for three coastal and four windward leeward races, we did exactly that. We come away from two World Championship wins on a high and finish the season unbeaten – a credit to everyone on the team who has pushed to be better in every area. We have been through some tough times this year, but the strength of a good team is to sort the problem and go forward. Already though, we are thinking of 2017 and how to keep ahead of our opposition, as we know they are looking at us! A great end to the racing season and hats off to Hap for making it happen!
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