In typical Farr 40 fashion, class honors are up for grabs going into the final day of the 159th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex.
Skipper Jim Richardson and his crew on Barking Mad lead the Farr 40 East Coast Championship by three points.
Just five points separate the top three boats after three days of racing. Skipper Jim Richardson and his team aboard Barking Mad maintained their lead in the overall standings after posting a solid line of 5-3-3 on Saturday and own a low score of 23 points.
Barking Mad has shown consistency in leading at the end of racing all three days, but Richardson isn’t about to rest on his laurels.
'You can never get comfortable in this class. There are so many boats out there that can beat you,' said Richardson, a part-time resident of Newport. 'The idea at this point is to stay out of the deep numbers. It’s all about fighting for every inch in every race.'
Richardson and crew certainly did that in Race 8 on Saturday, finishing third after coming off the start line in last place. Barking Mad has placed third or better in six of eight races and has yet to finish lower than fifth.
'Boat speed-wise, this is the best we’ve gone so far this season,' Barking Mad tactician Terry Hutchinson said. 'I think Jim’s level of steering gets better and better with each regatta. At the same time, the level of competition keeps getting better. All nine boats are well-sailed.'
Charisma, owned by Nico Poons of Monaco, is enjoying an outstanding regatta – having won four of eight races. Olympic gold medalist Morgan Reeser is calling tactics for Poons, who is seeking his second victory since joining the Farr 40 class four years ago.
'What can I say? All I do is drive the boat. I’m amazed myself,' Poons said of the four bullets. 'The one we won today was because we hit the right corner. We’ve done that a couple times in this regatta. We’ve also had a few bad ones, which is why we aren’t winning the whole thing.'
Results of seventh and eighth have hurt Charisma, which is three points behind Barking Mad and two ahead of Enfant Terrible. Poons said it’s too early to focus on the competition.
'We don’t think about other boats until the final race. So many things can happen, especially with the wind shifts,' he said. 'We just have to go out tomorrow and try to put up a good result in the first race.
Enfant Terrible, the Italian entry skippered by Alberto Rossi, posted a pair of seconds on Saturday and has an opportunity to capture its second straight regatta. Enfant Terrible moved from second to first on the final day of the East Coast Championship in May and hopes to complete a similar comeback.
'The boat was really fast today and we had good maneuvers,' Rossi said. 'We have good speed and are sailing well. We are in position to win the regatta, which is all you can ask for.'
Struntje Light, the German entry skippered by Wolfgang Schaefer, was Boat of the Day with a strong line of 3-4-1 on Saturday.
Racing shifted from Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean on Saturday as the Farr 40 class joined the rest of the fleet competing in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta. Action got underway in a northerly breeze that ranged from 5 to 10 knots and it appeared skipper Wolfgang Schaefer and Struntje Light would pull of a wire-to-wire win.
Struntje Light was working hard to hold off Enfant Terrible on the final downwind leg when Schaefer and tactician Nathan Wilmot suddenly realized they were heading for the wrong finish line. It was a confusing situation with so many different classes on the same course and the mistake cost the German entry two places.
'We figured it out when we saw the boats behind going to the other line,' Schaefer said.
Nightshift, the Annapolis entry skippered by Kevin McNeil, slipped past Struntje Light and Enfant Terrible to win Race 6. McNeil, current commodore of the Annapolis Yacht Club, has Nightshift in fourth place overall and is poised for his best finish at a major Farr 40 regatta.
'We’re in the hunt, which is nice. The crew is doing a great job,' McNeil said. 'We’re improving. We’re not losing boats like we have in the past. We’ve got further to go, but I think we’re getting close.'
There was a 45-minute delay between races as the New York Yacht Club race committee waited for the wind to fill back in. Race 2 got underway in 8-12 knots from a direction of 240 degrees, but the wind went right by 20 degrees during the first upwind leg.
Charisma chose the right from the outset and it paid off, allowing the Monaco entry to lead at each mark rounding.
Despite the mishap in Race 6, Struntje Light won the day with a strong line of 3-4-1. Schaefer and Wilmot were feeling better after picking the favored side of the course in Race 8.
'We had a feeling the pressure was coming from the right and it turned out to be true,' Schaefer said. 'We sailed much better today. The first two days were very difficult for us. We found our boat speed and our crew work was better.'
New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta
1, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, RI, 4-1-3-2-2-5-3-3=23
2, Charisma, Nico Poons, Monaco, 1-8-1-1-5/TL-7-1-2=26
3, Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Ancona, Italy, 2-4-8-4-1-2-2-5=28
4, Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD, 6-2-2-7-5/TL-1-6-4=33
5, Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Lueneburg, Germany, 7-6-4-5-5/TL-3-4-1=35
6, Groovederci, John Demourkas, 3-3-5-3-5/TL-8-5-6=38
7, Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, Chicago, 5-5-7-6-5/TL-4-8-8=48
8, Flojito y Cooperando, Julian Fernandez, Mexico City, 8-7-6-8-3-6-7-7=52
9, Oakcliff-Farr 40-1, Seth Cooley, Oyster Bay, NY, 9-9-9-9-5/TL-9-9-9=68