Sunday, 19 May 2013
by Tink Chambers
Enfant Terrible was sailing in fifth place of the final race at the Farr 40 East Coast Championship when tactician Vasco Vascotto made a bold move. Vascotto decided to split from the leaders and head toward the left side of the course, a risky move because it could have cost skipper Alberto Rossi the regatta.
Instead, the move paid off handsomely. Enfant Terrible picked up a favorable shift and wound up passing four boats - rounding the final windward mark in first and maintaining that lead to the finish.
It was indicative of how things went all week for the Italian team, which figured out the tricky conditions on the Chesapeake Bay better than the rest of the fleet. Vascotto was on his game tactically while Rossi did a splendid job of steering as Enfant Terrible finished first or second in seven of 10 races during the four-day series.
"It was a fantastic week for our team. Vasco was outstanding while the crew showed that when we have to fight, they will do it," Rossi said. "We were very consistent. We only had two bad races. This was difficult sailing and we really earned this win. This was our event."
Enfant Terrible captured line honors in four races and was second in three others in posting a low score of 26 points - six better than runner-up Groovederci. The Italian entry entered the final day of racing one point behind Barking Mad and came through in the clutch by turning in a terrific score line of 1-2-1.
"We are very, very happy. We improved every day of the regatta and that is always the goal," Vascotto said. "I am very proud of the progress we are making with the program. We are very competitive and that is what we are looking for."
Annapolis can be a challenging venue since the Chesapeake Bay is famous for its wild wind shifts, dramatic pressure changes and strong current. Four boats had tacticians who have lived in Annapolis and have extensive experience on the bay, but it was Vascotto who got things right most often.
"Sometimes you need to be a little lucky. For the most part we had good feelings about what to do and took the right options," said Vascotto, who has extensive America's Cup experience.
Andrea Caracci served as navigator while Jacopo Bagnaschi, Paolo Mascino and Gaetano Figlia di Granara handled trimming aboard Enfant Terrible, which earned its first class victory since the 2012 Miami Beach Invitational. Daniele Fiaschi (pit), Roberto Strappati (mast), Alberto Fantini (bow) and Giovanni Cassinari (all around) completed the crew.
"We were fast, especially upwind. It is always rewarding to win a regatta in this class because it is not easy. There is no room to make any mistakes and our crew was very sharp this week," Rossi said.
Skipper John Demourkas and his crew on Groovederci also enjoyed an excellent final day, posting a superb score line of 3-1-2 to move from third to second in the overall standings. Seasoned professional Cameron Appleton called tactics for Demourkas, who notched one bullet and finished second or third in five other races in totaling 32 points, two ahead of Barking Mad.
"We sailed very well this week and that is very encouraging. It feels good to be near the top of the leader board for a change," Demourkas said. "This was a real confidence boost, which was just what the team needed. It was a real psychological improvement for me and the crew."
Groovederci struggled with boat speed in finishing fifth out of six boats at Quantum Key West 2013 and last at the Miami Beach Invitational. Demourkas and Appleton decided to change the boat's sail configuration and that clearly made a difference.
"Any time you sail well all week and can get on any part of the podium in this class it is a tremendous accomplishment," Appleton said. "There were a lot of tactical opportunities out here, you could easily go up and down in the standings. Johnny D was good all week sailing in those tricky conditions and the guys all worked really hard to keep the boat moving."
It was a somewhat difficult dock debrief for Barking Mad, which led the regatta by one point going into the final day and fell to third overall after posting a pair of fourths and a fifth. Barking Mad was winning Race 9 when it had difficulty getting the spinnaker down at the leeward mark rounding, which spoiled any chance of putting pressure on Enfant Terrible.
"We did not sail very well today. We had a couple mistakes that really cost us," Richardson said. "We've got some things we can take away from this regatta and work to improve upon moving forward. Enfant Terrible did a great job all week and really deserved to win."
On the bright side, Barking Mad moved back into first place for the Farr 40 International Circuit Championship, overtaking Struntje Light in total points after three events.
New York skipper Alex Roepers and the team on Plenty placed fourth overall with 42 points on the strength of two bullets and a second. Annapolis skipper Rod Jabin and the Ramrod crew came out on top of a three-way tie with Asterisk-UNO and Nightshift to finish fifth. Evidence of the closeness and competitiveness of the class comes from the fact Struntje Light finished last in Annapolis after winning in Miami.
"The Annapolis Yacht Club was a wonderful host, the race committee did a great job, we got lucky with the wind and everyone had fun," said Kevin McNeil, skipper of Nightshift and commodore of host AYC.
The Farr 40 class will reconvene in Newport from June 13-16 for the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta.
2013 Farr 40 East Coast Championship (eight entries)
1, Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Ancona, Italy, 2-2-6-1-3-7-1-1-2-1=26
2, Groovederci, John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, CA, 3-3-5-4-2-4-5-3-1-2=32
3, Barking Mad, Jim Richardson, Newport, RI, 1-4-7-3-1-2-3-5-4-4=34
4, Plenty, Alex Roepers, New York City, 4-5-1-5-7-1-6-2-6-5=42
5, Ramrod, Rod Jabin, Annapolis, MD, 8-1-2-7-4-3-8-8-8-7=56
6, Asterisk-UNO, Hasip Gencer, Instanbul, Turkey, 6-8-3-6-8-8-2-6-3-6=56
7, Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD, 7-6-4-2-5-6-4-7-7-8=56
8, Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Lueneberg, Germany, 5-7-8-8-6-5-7-4-5-3=58