Farr 40 East Coast Championship - Barking Mad moves into the lead
by Tink Chambers on 18 May 2013
When asked to describe day three of the Farr 40 East Coast Championship, John Demourkas drank a beer while sitting in his support boat at the Annapolis Yacht Club docks and just shook his head. The California skipper remains baffled by the conditions on the Chesapeake Bay, but felt fortunate that his Groovederci team held onto third place for the third straight day.
Skipper Alberto Rossi and his team aboard the Italian entry Enfant Terrible trail Barking Mad by just one point going into the final day of the Farr 40 East Coast Championship. Sara Proctor http://www.sailfastphotography.com
'The Chesapeake continues to be a conundrum. Between the breeze, the tide and the current… just the overall fickle nature of the sailing,' Demourkas said. 'It’s tough here. You have to really be alert and on top of your game to do well.'
With three days down and one more to go, it is skipper Jim Richardson and the crew aboard Barking Mad that have figured things out the best. Richardson steered Barking Mad to a second and third in Friday’s two races and that was good enough to overtake Enfant Terrible for the overall lead.
Barking Mad has posted two bullets and three other top three results in totaling 21 points, one better than the Italian entry that led the regatta upon conclusion of racing Wednesday and Thursday. Skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team suffered a seventh in the opening race on Friday, but rebounded to take line honors in the second start.
'I’m happy with the way we are sailing. The crew has done an outstanding job and we’ve shown pretty good boat speed,' Richardson said.
Barking Mad struggled a bit at the Miami Beach Invitational in March, closing the regatta with consecutive sevenths to finish fifth in the overall standings. Richardson is pleased to see the veteran team performing closer to the level it did while winning Quantum Key West 2013.
'We made some adjustments to boat setup and things have begun to come together for us,' Richardson said. 'I also think it helps that we’re all on the same page in terms of overall tone on the boat.'
Groovederci is five points behind Barking Mad after finishing fourth and fifth in Friday’s races. Demourkas, the defending East Coast Champion, is looking forward to a typically exciting conclusion to a Farr 40 regatta.
'As always in this class, things are tight. It’s down to the last day and it’s time to dig down and pull it out,' Demourkas said. 'I’m pretty happy with where we are at the moment. We’ve given ourselves a chance and that’s not easy to do in this fleet.'
New York skipper Alex Roepers and the boys aboard Plenty are still in striking distance as well after winning Race 7. It was the second bullet of the regatta for Plenty, which also has four results of fifth or lower.
'I’m happy that we’ve won two races. However, I’m not happy that we can’t seem to string two good races together,' said Roepers, whose team was runner-up at the Miami Beach Invitational. 'We’re going fairly well, but we just can’t seem to put it all together. My hat’s off to Barking Mad and Enfant Terrible for being so consistent in such difficult conditions.'
Principal race officer Wayne Bretsch hopes to complete at least two starts on Saturday, which provides opportunity for more place changes. Richardson said Barking Mad will not go into the final day with the idea of match racing Enfant Terrible.
'I think it’s too early to begin focusing on any one boat. We’ll go out and try to sail well and let the chips fall where they may,' he said. 'If we get a chance to push Enfant or Groove back, we’ll take it. But we’re not going to go out of our way.'
Annapolis owner-drivers Rod Jabin (Ramrod) and Kevin McNeil (Nightshift) are fifth and sixth in the overall standings. Jabin, a local yacht yard owner, got the gun in Race 2 and has notched two other top three results in totaling 33 points – one better than McNeil, the current commodore of host Annapolis Yacht Club.
'This is a different type of event. You’ve got eight of the fastest Farr 40s in the world on a 1 ½-mile race track. It’s like going to the Olympics and sailing against the best of the best,' said Gavin Brady, tactician for Jabin aboard Ramrod. 'It doesn’t get any more exciting than this type of racing. You can sail a pretty good race and still find yourself fighting for last place against a really good boat.'
Brady, who resided in Annapolis for many years before moving back to his home country of New Zealand, said he’s heard a lot of dock talk about the fluky conditions on the Chesapeake Bay and took time to defend the body of water he’s come to know quite well.
'I hope the owners go away feeling that Annapolis is a great place to race. Yes, it can be very tricky, but that is part of the challenge of yacht racing,' Brady said. 'When we have the right race committee, which we do here this week, the racing is quite enjoyable. Today was a perfect example. We maximized the available breeze then called it a day. Now the crews are back onshore and able to enjoy all that this great town has to offer.'
2013 Farr 40 East Coast Championship (eight entries)
1, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, RI, 1-4-7-3-1-2-3=21
2, Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Ancona, Italy, 2-2-6-1-3-7-1=22
3, Groovederci, John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA, 3-3-5-4-2-4-5=26
4, Plenty, Alex Roepers, New York City, 4-5-1-5-7-1-6=29
5, Ramrod, Rod Jabin, Annapolis, MD, 8-1-2-7-4-3-8=33
6, Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD, 7-6-4-2-5-6-4=34
7, Asterisk-UNO, Hasip Gencer, Instanbul, Turkey, 6-8-3-6-8-8-2=41
8, Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Lueneberg, Germany, 5-7-8-8-6-5-7=46