Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Farr 30 Worlds - A decade's journey for new female World Champion

by Farr 30 Class Association on 13 Sep 2011
Winning crew - Farr 30 World Championship 2011 © Meredith Block/Farr 30 worlds
The weather may have backed off from its biblical peaks earlier in the week, but the battle for the prestigious 2011 Farr 30 World Championship raged until the final leg of the last race of this testing, tough championship regatta. While she didn’t lead the event until the final race, Southern California’s Deneen Demourkas won when it mattered, becoming the first female skipper to win a big boat one-design World Championship in decades – if ever.

Going into this morning’s lighter air action, Santa Barbara-based Demourkas (Groovederci) trailed Newport, RI’s Jim Richardson (Barking Mad) by just a point in second with another three points up to local Scott Easom (Eight Ball) in first place. Demourkas was on a solid winning streak though, having taken the bullet in the previous three races. 'We’re actually looking for lighter air today,' said tactician Cameron Appleton on Sunday morning. 'We’re confident that we’ve got speed in all conditions, but we need other boats to get in ahead of Scott and Jim.'

The lighter conditions Appleton was searching for wouldn’t work out exactly as planned, at least at the beginning. In the first race of the day – Race 8 of the series – Demourkas had a huge lead by the first windward mark when disaster struck thanks to light wind and ripping flood tide. 'The current was a bit stronger than we thought, and we ended up touching the mark,' explained Appleton. The resulting penalty turn allowed four boats, including Barking Mad, to escape ahead of Groovederci, while Eight Ball had a shocking eighth place finish.

In Race 9 of the Championship, Demourkas started strongly again, leading Jim Richardson around the track with John Demourkas slipping in between the two on the last leg of the race. John wasn’t happy with just second place though, and he surfed down a big wave just a few feet from the finish, popping ahead of wife Deneen and winning the race by literally inches. Still five points back, Deneen was chipping away at Barking Mad’s lead – but would there be enough racing left for her to catch him?

Appleton didn’t think so, meaning Groovederci needed a new strategy. 'We needed to engineer possibilities for the rest of the fleet to get back into the mix and perhaps pass Barking Mad, and in race 10, it couldn’t have possibly gone better for us,' he said. He led Richardson around the bottom gate with the rest of the fleet far behind, and on the final beat of the race, Appleton 'pushed him out to the right to let the traffic get back in the race, and it all fell into place when they fouled Wild Thing on the final downwind leg.' While Barking Mad sailed a penalty turn the fleet sailed by, knocking them back to 11th place while Demourkas sailed to the victory and an overall championship lead she wouldn’t relinquish.


With her first lead of the entire regatta, nine-time Worlds skipper Demoukas could finally use her dominant boatspeed and flawless starts to clamp down on the competition, and Demourkas covered Barking Mad and Eight Ball all the way around the course on the final race, and Easom and Richardson’s battle for second place was an epic one. Richardson needed to finish just one place ahead of Easom to win, but Eight Ball tucked their bow inside Richardson at the final windward mark, working down on the Farr 40 and Farr 30 veteran and making the pass with less than two legs to go. Ironically, the smooth driving that allowed Eight Ball to lead this regatta all week, through some of the most brutal Rolex Big Boat Series conditions in years, would fail them when it mattered most. 'I noticed that the vang was off when we rounded the mark, so I called ‘vang on’ before the gybe,' Easom said. When Eight Ball went for the gybe inside Richardson, the highly loaded mainsail came across with a bang, spinning Easom to windward in his first broach of the entire regatta in just 16 knots of wind. 'The vang was on hard, and I noticed how hard our main trimmer was working to bring it across a little too late, and as soon as it came across, we were dead.' The resulting broach allowed four boats to pass, giving Richardson yet another second place World Championship finish – his third time as the runner-up in this competitive class. 'I guess I’m a permanent bridesmaid in the class,' he said with a laugh after landing on the dock.

But the bride – as well as queen, empress, and president – of this class is now Deneen Demourkas. 'This has been a long time coming,' said the World Champion after fiercely hugging husband John at the dock. 'We certainly didn’t make it easy on ourselves today – we had to work really hard to keep our head in the game and not let it get away from us.' Demourkas said. 'I’ve been doing this for a lot of years, and I’ve seen everything. The one thing I’ve learned is that you cannot stop fighting until the bitter end. You never know what’s going to happen, and the incident with Jim [Richardson] is a perfect example; you stay in the game, you stay patient and focused, and you see how things play out. There’s no giving up, or there’s no championship.'

Demourkas attributed much of her success to her hard-working crew of tactician Cameron Appleton, main trimmer Darren 'Twirler' Jones, bowman Andrew Hudson, trimmers Cameron Biehl and Austin Herlihy and floater Patrick Gavin-Byrnes. 'Without these guys I wouldn’t have had a chance – they’re the hardest working crew in sailing as far as I’m concerned,' Demourkas said.



Farr 30 World Championship Results: here
Farr 30 Worlds website
Rolex Big Boat Series website

Wildwind 2016 660x82InSunSport - NZNaiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club dominates Hinman Trophy Team Race
Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. 2016 Hinman Trophy Team Race - Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. This was the case for Noroton Yacht Club as they won the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy for the second straight year, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Posted on 22 Aug
Drama Queen - Goransson wins Melges 32 National Championship
Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship - After a weekend of challenging, moderate conditions in Newport, RI, Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship hosted by Sail Newport. Capping a weekend full of tight racing with lead changes around the track, it was fitting that the final race had three teams fighting for the regatta win
Posted on 22 Aug
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2016 - Day 1 Video
Day 1 of Audi Hamilton Race Week 2016 provided the first opportunity for Wild Oats XI and Scallywag to go head-to-head Day 1 of Audi Hamilton Race Week 2016 provided the first opportunity for Wild Oats XI and Scallywag to go head-to-head on an inshore race course. The two boats shadowed each other in the pre-race manoeuvres prior to the start of a race to Lindeman Island and back, starting in Dent Passage. Both boats made a fine spectacle as they reached to the northern tip of Dent Island before heading upwind
Posted on 21 Aug
Reading Australia’s Rio 2016 Sailing Report Card
Pre-event, Australian Sailing officials predicted there would be between three and five medals at Rio 2016. Pre-event, Australian Sailing officials predicted there would be between three and five medals at Rio 2016. So Tom Burton's Gold in the Laser, and then Silver for the 470 Men’s sailors, Matt Belcher and Will Ryan, London 49er Gold Medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, and then lastly Nacra 17 first time campaigners, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, was a good result.
Posted on 21 Aug
2016 U.S. National Championship - Argo advance
The Melges 32 fleet at the 2016 U.S. National Championship was greeted with a lumpy, streaky race course 2016 U.S. National Championship - As the breeze remained in the ESE direction overnight and began bucking an outgoing tide in the morning hours, the Melges 32 fleet at the 2016 U.S. National Championship hosted by Sail Newport was greeted with a lumpy, streaky race course, rewarding those teams that started clean and minimized maneuvers.
Posted on 21 Aug
2016 Melges 32 Nationals - A daily dose of Vitamina
The 2016 Melges 32 Nationals hosted by Sail Newport began with a whimper as racing was postponed for a couple of hours The 2016 Melges 32 Nationals hosted by Sail Newport began with a whimper as racing was postponed for a couple of hours allowing the northerly drainage breeze to give way to the impending northerly sea breeze.
Posted on 20 Aug