A sparkling day of sailing for the opening day of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship was matched by the intense competition throughout the 17-boat fleet that seems set to keep the International Jury busy for an hour or more before the final outcome is resolved.
It had kept Race Officer Peter Reggio busy as the wind swung before adopting a south-westerly line, and he had a weather eye out for the increases in strength that kept the tacticians busy. Each of the day's races was postponed as shifts occurred shortly before each start. It resulted in what one tactician described as: "As good a day's racing as I have had all summer," and followed that with: "And hasn't the pressure increased for this championship."
With 8-10 knots of breeze, the first race started half an hour after it had been scheduled, but that did not deter Wolfgang Schaefer from making the best start from the boat end of the line and immediately tacking on to port to go right. His tactician, Francesco Bruni, had sensed the veering breeze, so that by the windward mark, after 1.3 miles, Schaefer's Struntje Light led by 26 seconds from Kevin McNeill's Nightshift. These two United States' boats were followed by the Turkish entry, Asterisk Uno of Hasip Gencer.
Downwind the two leaders stretched but into the mix came Gary Ezor's Coquille, one of the Corinthian entries, taking third place at the start of the second round. These places were held to the finish with the lone British entry, Tony Pohl's Twisted, moving into fourth place ahead of Helmut Jahn's Flash Gordon 6.
The breeze had veered 15 degrees before the second start, and the over-eager sailors were almost all too early and a general recall was evident ten seconds before the gun. The restart was clean and Alex Roeper's Plenty was soon in the van, and showed well clear at the first mark, where she was 18 seconds ahead of Asterisk Uno. With tactician, Terry Hutchinson, keeping an eye on the opposition, Plenty's skipper, Alex Roeper was able to increase his lead by a small amount on each of the succeeding three 1.4 mile legs. Helmut Jahn's Flash Gordon 6 was third.
At this stage, Plenty shared the lead with Nightshift, on 7 points, with Flash Gordon 6 third on 8. Struntje Light and Coquille were tied on 10.
The breeze had risen to more than 15 knots before the third race was started after the course had been reset once more. Asterisk Uno was the first to show, being able to tack cleanly on to port to head for the right in the veering breeze, but the shift came a little later when Flash Gordon 6 and Martin Hill's Estate Master were best positioned to maximize its advantage. They rounded the windward mark in the lead 12 seconds apart, and were not seriously challenged on the following three legs.
John Demourkas' Groovederci headed the chasing pack and consolidated third place in the race, which put him fourth in the overall standings after the three races in this no-discard Championship. Flash Gordon 6 leads with 9 points two ahead of Plenty with Nightshift third on 12.
There are three races scheduled for tomorrow and the Championship continues until Sunday.
Thursday 24th September 2015
The Farr 40 Class would like to thank: Sponsors North Sails, Quantum Sail Design Group, Long Beach Yacht Club; Official Beer Coronado Brewing Company; Official Hotel Ayres Hotel Seal Beach; Official Graphics provided by North Sails Graphics; Gladstone's Long Beach and Pieology.