Bella Mente Racing back for more from New England Boatworks

Portsmouth firm to launch new 72’ maxi racer this summer

By Bruce Burdett
Posted 2/17/18

Famed ocean racer Hap Fauth liked the job done by New England Boatworks on his last maxi racers enough that he has returned to the Portsmouth firm with his third Bella Mente order.

Mr. Fauth …

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Bella Mente Racing back for more from New England Boatworks

Portsmouth firm to launch new 72’ maxi racer this summer

Posted

Famed ocean racer Hap Fauth liked the job done by New England Boatworks on his last maxi racers enough that he has returned to the Portsmouth firm with his third Bella Mente order.

Mr. Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn./Naples, Fla.) and his Bella Mente (Italian for ‘beautiful mind’) Racing made their first big splash in grand prix racing back in 2006, and now the three-time Maxi 72 world champions are seeking to continue that success with a new state-of-the-art Maxi 72 yacht.

Designed by Botin Partners and built by New England Boatworks, the yacht is the fourth under the Bella Mente name and is set to be unveiled this July in Newport, just in time to be shipped to Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the 2018 Rolex Maxi 72 Worlds in September.

“I’m excited to dive into the development and build of a new yacht again and go through the process of figuring out how to optimize boat speed and get back into competition mode,” said Fauth, adding that his team’s nickname among competitors is “Experimente” due to the testing and analysis they perform on the boat each season.

“When you’re sailing at this level, even the smallest details can be game changers. As we move forward with this new build, no stone can be left unturned.”

For New England Boatworks, this will be the third Bella Mente that it has built for Fauth. The new Bella Mente build began this past November, and the boatyard team, as well as a team of Bella Mente Racing boatbuilders, “are working in overdrive to ensure the yacht launches this summer.” 

“The Maxi 72 represents the epitome of the sport of sailing, so it is very exciting to be leading the charge on a project of this caliber,” said New England Boatworks partner Tom Rich. He noted that as the class has gained more traction over the years, the International Maxi Association tightened the rules in 2017. The class now strictly abides by the owner/driver rule, and all the yachts must fit the 72-foot length requirement. There is also a rating cap that narrows the performance differences between each yacht.

“Although there are very specific guidelines that we as builders and the designers must abide by, there is also quite a bit of room for innovation. Even the most subtle change can make a big difference,” Rich said.

Rich and Fauth have worked together and been friends now for decades. “We have mutual respect for one another, and I certainly enjoy his company. He’s a very good sailor with a great gut instinct, and he’s very interested in getting knowledge out of people,” Rich said. “He enjoys all the small and steady steps taken to improve the boat and its performance. “

Most of the Bella Mente Racing’s crew will stay the same as last year. Fauth will be joined in the afterguard by Volvo Ocean Race champion Mike Sanderson, two-time Olympian Adrian Stead and Tactician Terry Hutchinson, a two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

“It’s great to be on our way to getting the boat launched and racing to see what we can learn, but it will be a development process for sure,” said Hutchinson, adding that there are six Maxi 72s currently on the competitive race circuit, two of which are newer builds.

“Newer design and newer construction doesn’t guarantee a better result, but it does buy us time to begin the process of developing and optimizing the boat for the future. Our first challenge this year will be to quantify where we left off in 2017 with sail development, and our second challenge is to understand the dynamic of the rig and how the sail program interacts with it. From there, we need to learn the new boat’s mode versus the rest of the Maxi 72 fleet, which is the most critical component. With that said, we certainly have an exciting year on the horizon.”    

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