One of the notable storylines going into the Farr 40 West Coast Championship was the arrival of three Australian boats to the 2014 International Circuit. The Aussies made quite an impact on the opening day of the regatta, but it was an old standby that come out on top after three races were conducted off Santa Barbara.
Flash Gordon 6, skippered by longtime class member Helmut Jahn, showed tremendous consistency and captured the day with a solid score line of 2-3-5. With a low score of 10, Flash Gordon 6 leads a trio of boats that are tied with 13 points.
'We are very happy and satisfied with our effort today, but we know it doesn’t mean much at this point. There are three more days of racing and we have a bunch of boats nipping at our heels so we need to continue sailing well.'
Four-time ISAF Match Racing World Champion Ian Williams is calling tactics for Jahn, a Chicago architect who entered the regatta in third place of the International Circuit standings following three events.
The West Coast Championship got underway under overcast skies and a six knot south-southwesterly breeze. There was a delay of more than one hour between the first and second start as principal race officer Peter 'Luigi' Reggio waited for the sea breeze to build. That proved a wise decision as the clouds cleared away and the third race was held under sunny skies and 10-12 knot winds.
'Maneuvers are very important in light air because if you make a mistake it takes a long time to get back up to speed,' said Jahn, who praised the race committee’s decision to delay. 'Obviously, the third race was the best of the day and we have Luigi to thank for that. We could have been back at the dock having a drink when the wind was the most ideal.'
Voodoo Chile, skippered by Lloyd Clark of Tasmania, opened the regatta with a first and second. - Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Sara Proctor
Voodoo Chile, owned by Lloyd Clark of Tasmania, came out of the gate like gangbusters – winning Race 1 then placing second in Race two. Tactician David Chapman is one of only two professionals aboard the Corinthian entry and he made a great call to go right on the first upwind leg of the afternoon.
'Chappy picked an early shift and it paid off quite handsomely. We were first to the top mark and had the boat speed to hold on the rest of the way,' Clark said.
Clark is sailing a brand new boat this week after purchasing the former Nanoq from Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The Voodoo Chile crew stayed on the water for an hour after racing on Wednesday in order to sort out the rig tune.
'All in all, the team did a very good job with a new boat. To put up a first and a second is a bit unexpected since we just took delivery of the boat and haven’t really been able to get to know it very well,' said Clark, who finished 13th in Race three after a large batch of weed got stuck on the keel. 'We are quite thrilled with our performance today.'
Kokomo, owned by Sydney resident Lang Walker, got the gun in Race two and is equal on points with the Italian entry Enfant Terrible an fellow Australian boat Estate Master. Malcolm Page is calling tactics for Walker, who placed sixth in the other two races on Wednesday.
Skipper Lang Walker steered Kokomo to victory in Race 2 of the West Coast Championship. - Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Sara Proctor
'It’s very good to be back on the circuit. We haven’t sailed for about six months so we weren’t sure how we would do,' Walker said. 'I’m very happy with the boat speed and the crew work was exceptional.'
In winning Race two, Walker said Kokomo got a great start and picked up a couple favorable shifts on the first upwind leg. Kokomo then took over first with a superb downwind run then extended the lead over the final two legs.
Enfant Terrible, which stands second in the International Circuit standings, captured line honors in Race three and that victory gave skipper Alberto Rossi the tiebreaker over Kokomo and Estate Master.
It was also an outstanding day for Martin and Lisa Hill as Estate Master posted a line of 4-6-3. Farr 40 class manager Geoff Stagg said the three Australian boats, which hold third, fourth and fifth place after opening day of racing, made a brilliant debut.
'I thought the Aussies were all on fire. All three boats sailed very, very impressively,' Stagg said.