NYYC Annual Regatta - Barking Mad takes early lead on day 1

A group of five Farr 40-footers rounds the top mark in close proximity during the opening day of the 159th annual New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, presented by Rolex
On the opening day of the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, skippers and crews fought through cold and rainy conditions to complete three races. Barking Mad owner-driver Jim Richardson was chilled to the bone and could not wait to find a warm spot indoors after berthing his boat at the Newport Shipyard. However, Richardson was a happy man after Barking Mad won the day.

'It was a cold, wet day and we had somewhat dynamic conditions out there. There were some pretty big shifts and the current was running fairly strong as well,' Richardson said. 'All in all, it was a pretty good start for our team. Our philosophy was to start in low-risk places and rely on our crew work and boat speed out on the course. I thought we did a good job of finding ways to come back a couple times today.'

Terry Hutchinson called tactics aboard Barking Mad, which picked off two boats on the final downwind leg to finish fourth in the first race. In the second race, Hutchinson sent Richardson left on the first beat and that paid off handsomely as Barking Mad rounded the top mark in first, performed a strong jibe set then held off Nightshift to get the gun. Barking Mad picked off a boat on the second upwind leg in Race three and wound up placing third.

'I thought we did a good job downwind. Terry picked up a couple good shifts to jibe on and Zac Hurst did a good job of trimming the spinnaker,' Richardson said. 'I think we're sailing the boat pretty well.'

Charisma and Nightshift are tied for second with 10 points apiece, two behind Barking Mad. Skipper Nico Poons steered Charisma to victory in two of three races to win the tiebreaker with Nightshift, which owner Kevin McNeil drove to a pair of second place results.

Tactician Morgan Reeser made a bold move to go hard right on the second upwind leg and that moved Charisma from fourth to first in Race 1. The Monaco entry slipped inside of Nightshift at the second upwind mark en route to getting the gun in Race 3.

'We had some luck on our side today,' Poons said. 'The boat is going well and Morgan is doing a good job with tactics.'

Charisma was forced to perform a penalty turn after fouling Enfant Terrible and wound up finishing eighth in Race 2.

Flojito y Cooperando, the Mexican entry co-owned by Bernardo Minkow and Julian Fernandez, avoids the the stern of Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) during a mark rounding - NYYC Annual Regatta 2013

Andy Horton is calling tactics on Nightshift, which made its season debut at the East Coast Championship and finished seventh. McNeil and company seem to have climbed the learning curve quickly as the Annapolis entry was going well on Narragansett Bay.

'We had a little trouble in the first race, but the next two were pretty good,' said McNeil, current commodore of the Annapolis Yacht Club. 'Andy did a great job, the crew did a great job and we seem to have pretty good pace. Today was definitely a step in the right direction.'

Racing began at 11:30 a.m. in the area just south of Half Mile Rock. Principal race officer John 'Tinker' Myles of the New York Yacht Club got the first start off in a southeasterly breeze of 5-7 knots. The wind died immediately after Race 1 and Myles waited a half hour for it to build again. That proved a wise decision as a gradient wind filled in and steadily built to 12-14 knots in the third race.

Owner John Demorukas and his crew on Groovederci posted a solid line of 3-3-5 and holds fourth place with 11 points. Skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team are fifth with 14 points, following a second and fourth with an eighth after crossing the start line early in Race 3.

'Unfortunately, we had a mistake at the beginning of the last race. We put ourselves in a position where we couldn't go anywhere,' Rossi said. 'Also, the weather forecast suggested the left side would be favored so we went left in every race, which didn't necessarily work out. Yet, we have to consider that we had good maneuvers and the boat is fast. There are still plenty of races remaining so there is opportunity to come back.'

New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta

1, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, RI, 4-1-3=8
2, Charisma, Nico Poons, Monaco, 1-8-1=10
3, Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD, 6-2-2=10
4, Groovederci, John Demourkas, 3-3-5=11
5, Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Ancona, Italy, 2-4-8=14
6, Struntje Light, Lueneburg, Germany, 7-6-4=17
7, Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, Chicago, 5-5-7=17
8, Flojito y Cooperando, Julian Fernandez, Mexico City, 8-7-6=21
9, Oakcliff-Farr 40-1, Seth Cooley, Oyster Bay, NY, 9-9-9=27

Farr 40 website
http://www.sail-world.com/110276