2013 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship Day 1 - Patience paid off today, allowing the fleet to complete two opening day races on Vineyard Sound after waiting more than two and a half hours for the breeze to wake up, yawn, and stretch its legs. In the end, it was Nico Poons' (Monaco) Charisma to whom good things came in the wakeful southwesterly that built from 8-10 knots to as high as 14 by day's end.
2013 Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship
The team posted finishes of two-one to claim three points and best the 11-boat fleet in overall scoring while leading Kevin McNeil's (Annapolis, Md.) Nightshift (four-three), in runner-up position, by four points.
After what Charisma tactician Morgan Reeser (Miami, Fla.) called a dismal start in race one, the team 'weaseled out of that nicely' by choosing to go right in a heavily favored wind shift to lead at the top mark. On the first run of the windward-leeward twice around course, however, it was Wolfgang Schaefer's German entry Struntje Light that impressed by immediately jibing for the left side of the course (while Charisma stayed right) and improving its position from next-to-last to first at the gate. By the second weather mark, Struntje Light had five boat lengths on Charisma and handily maintained that position to the finish line.
'They (Struntje Light) played it well,' said Reeser. 'Then in the second race, we had a lovely start, three up from the pin, and hit the line at speed. In that race the thermal had filled in-it was a lot more stable.'
Jim Richardson's (Boston, Mass.) Barking Mad, which leads in points on the class's 2013 U.S. Circuit Championship, started closest to the pin in race one and punched out handsomely, but the right-hand shift was the team's ticket to the back of the fleet on the first leg. 'We were looking good; we just didn't need the wind to go 30 degrees to the right on the first beat,' said the team's tactician Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.), explaining that it came back 25 degrees on the run. True to its winning pedigree, however, Barking Mad reclaimed four positions to salvage seventh in that race and powered on to finish second in the second race, claiming a very respectable fourth overall, tied on points (nine) with Struntje Light, which took eighth in its second race and is in third overall, and John Demourkas' Groovederci, which posted a three-six today and is in fifth.
One of the more spectacular scenes today was a spinnaker entanglement in race one, where Mexican entry Flojito y Cooperando's (Bernardo Minkow/Julian Fernandez) takedown at the first gate went awry and snagged the top of Plenty's rig. The spinnaker finally had to be cut away and retrieved from the water by Flojito y Cooperando while the fleet sailed away.
Tomorrow's winds are expected to be northeasterly at 16-22 knots. When asked how he thought Charisma would do in the heavy air, Morgan Reeser replied, 'Lord knows.'
Daily race reports and photos will be available online at Farr 40 website