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2016 Bella Mente Racing - New Year, new goals
Bella Mente at the 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, where the team won its class.Sharon Green

Bella Mente Racing 2016

Bella Mente Racing 2016 – After wrapping up a highly successful 2015 campaign, Bella Mente Racing is at it again, diving into the New Year with an even more ambitious race program ahead. Led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, the team of 27 sailors will take on seven high-profile regattas in the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe aboard its Maxi 72 namesake.

“Our team is great, which is the reason we achieved our goals last year,” said Fauth adding that in 2015 the team won not only the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, but also their class at the RORC Caribbean 600, Quantum Key West Race Week, the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta and Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. “We are going to have even tougher competition on the racecourse this year, because we are competing in events that are part of the Maxi 72 Class Circuit for 2016, and the class is stacked with very good teams.”

Bella Mente Racing kicks off its 2016 program with Quantum Key West Race Week (January 18-22). The team will then head to the Caribbean for the RORC Caribbean 600 in February and Les Voiles de St. Barth in April. From there, the boat will be shipped to New England for the month of June, where the team will compete in the NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex and the Newport Bermuda Race. After that, the team will head across the Atlantic to Spain for the Copa del Rey Mapfre in August followed by the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship in Sardinia in September.

“You are either going forward or going backward, so we are consistently fine tuning Bella Mente to make sure she is progressing with a competitive edge,” said Fauth, adding the Bella Mente Racing’s shore team keeps the Maxi 72 in fighting shape. “To simply get out on the water is difficult; we have to be fully operative or we’re not leaving the dock.”

Then there is the matter of the on-water sailing team, which is comprised of world-class sailors from around the world. “We are always trying to upgrade in every position. Once our team is together for the season, we tell the grinders, trimmers, etc. – even if they’ve been doing what they do for a very long time – that we have to get a little better,” added Fauth. “Each of them has to get better at their respective discipline.”

The team aspect of Bella Mente Racing is what keeps Fauth energized and excited about what he is doing, especially forward- thinking to what might boost race-winning potential in the 2016 racing season. “Our nickname amongst competitors is ‘Experimente,’” laughed Fauth. “We are halfway through the alphabet in sails, but it’s the only way, after wind tunnels and VPP tests, that you can continue to work theory into practice. Sail shape changes are very subtle now, but that’s what you do to get to optimal boat speed.”

Tactician Terry Hutchinson added, “I would expect that Bella Mente’s 2016 season will be defined by our ability to continue to develop consistent teamwork on and off the water. Last year is a distant memory. Now it is about refining what we have learned, improving, and putting our best foot forward at every turn.”

by Kirsten Ferguson

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