Enfant Terrible Maintains Lead After Wild Day of Racing on the Chesapeake Bay
by Tink Chambers
It was as wild a day on the Chesapeake Bay as you will ever find. There were massive wind shifts and huge changes in pressure. It was tough for competitors in the Farr 40 East Coast Championship to make sense of it all, but the remarkable fact is the top five places remain unchanged from the opening day.
Skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team rebounded from a sixth in Race 3 by winning Race 4 then tacked on a third in Race 5 to remain atop the standings after two days of action off Annapolis. Rossi credited tactician Vasco Vascotto with making some super calls as the Italian entry posted the lowest score in the eight-boat fleet for the second straight day.
"It was very tricky racing. The best thing for our boat is that, in a crazy situation, Vasco understood what was going on. At the end of the day, he did it better than the rest," Rossi said.
Enfant Terrible has a low score of 14 points - two better than Barking Mad, which held onto second place thanks to getting the gun in Race 5. Skipper Jim Richardson pretended that he was rolling dice when asked about Thursday's sailing.
"It was a total crap shoot out there. The wind was so random and the shifts were so enormous. You factor in the current and the pressure changes and it really was difficult to figure things out," Richardson said. "We sailed well and got really fortunate at times. I'm pleased that we started well in every race and our crew work on the course was solid."
California owner-driver John Demourkas and the Groovederci crew maintained third place in the overall standings with a consistent line of 5-4-2 on Thursday. Cameron Appleton is calling tactics for Demourkas, whose decision to return to using his old North 3DL sails has proven wise.
"Evidently the reboot is working. Our speed is the best it's been all year. We're able to work our way through the fleet," said Demourkas, a Santa Barbara resident who posted his first Farr 40 victory at least year's East Coast Championship off Annapolis. "What a day the bay had in store for us today. It went from sleepy to howling."
Principal race officer Wayne Bretsch took the fleet east toward the shipping channel in an effort to find wind. After a postponement of about two hours, the Annapolis Yacht Club race committee got things going with the windward marks set near Thomas Point on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay.
New York skipper Alex Roepers steered Plenty to victory in Race 3, moving from the middle of the pack into the lead on the second upwind leg. Annapolis pro Chris Larson is calling tactics on Plenty, which remains fifth overall in the regatta.
"We had one and a half fantastic races today. We were winning the second race at one point, but I gave away a few boats," Larson said. "We scrapped hard all day, but it's tough out there. We sailed much better than our scores indicate."
Plenty and Ramrod are tied with 22 points with the latter boat holding fourth by virtue of a better finish in Thursday's final race. Annapolis skipper Rod Jabin sandwiched a second and fourth around a disappointing seventh and felt good to be in the same position as he started the day.
"It's transitional sailing. Being able to shift gears and trim the boat properly in changing conditions is crucial. The boats that have been able to do that the best are the ones in the top half of the standings," Jabin said.
Annapolis-based pro Gavin Brady is tactician aboard Ramrod, which did not compete in Quantum Key West 2013 or the Miami Beach Invitational. Jabin, a local yacht yard owner, was not surprised his team is performing well in its first Farr 40 regatta of the year.
"It's all about pointing the boat in the right direction and Gavin is one of the best in the world at doing that," he said. "I've got a great crew that has been with me a long time and these guys know how to sail this boat."
Jabin joked that having a team full of longtime Annapolis locals did not make a difference in such unpredictable conditions. "Some of the out-of-town sailors asked me if it's always like this in Annapolis and I laughed. I told them it's never like this in Annapolis," he said.
Enfant Terrible captured line honors in Race 4, which started in roughly the same wind (6-8 knots out of the south) as Race 3. However, things got wild during the day's second race with the breeze building into the teens. There was a huge right-hand shift that turned the first downwind leg into a jib reach while a 22-knot gust pummeled the fleet as it rounded the second windward mark.
Barking Mad, which has Annapolis-based pro Terry Hutchinson aboard as tactician, won the start and led at each marking rounding en route to winning Race 5. Organizers with Stagg Yachts praised Bretsch and right-hand man Dick Neville for getting back on schedule for a 10-race series.
"It was really, really tricky racing and the committee did a splendid job of completing three races," said Geoff Stagg, who along with Tink Chambers has managed the Farr 40 class since its inception.
on Thursday. McNeil is commodore of host Annapolis Yacht Club.
Nightshift, skippered by Annapolis Yacht Club commodore Kevin McNeil, sailed very well in placing second in Race 4. Asterisk UNO, skippered by Hasip Gencer of Istanbul, Turkey, posted its best result of the regatta with a third in Race 3.
For daily results and press releases for the Farr 40 East Coast Championship, visit www.Farr40.org.
2013 Farr 40 East Coast Championship (eight entries)
1, Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Ancona, Italy, 2-2-6-1-3=14
2, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, RI, 1-4-7-3-1=16
3, Groovederci, John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA, 3-3-5-4-2=17
4, Ramrod, Rod Jabin, Annapolis, MD, 8-1-2-7-4=22
5, Plenty, Alex Roepers, New York City, 4-5-1-5-7=22
6, Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD, 7-6-4-2-5=24
7, Asterisk-UNO, Hasip Gencer, Instanbul, Turkey, 6-8-3-6-8=31
8, Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Lueneberg, Germany, 5-7-8-8-6=34