Crack team enter Tour Voile

Deneen B Demourkas to campaign Mumm 30 Groovederci with all-star crew

Friday April 2nd 2004, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
The Tour de France a la Voile will this year have its first American entry since 1987.

Groovederci will be campaigned by Deneen B Demourkas, who regularly campaigns a Farr 40 on the west coast with husband John.

"I am eager to experience your event," commented Demourkas. "It is one of the things of which I have dreamed for two years. I was attracted by the Tour Voile after having read articles on the 2002 race. The race seemed enthralling, difficult but justifying, without forgetting it is held along the splendid French coasts. As soon as I started to speak about this regatta and my intention to take part in it, people started to tell me about their experiments. All the sailors with whom I spoke about the Tour Voile and who had taken part in it said to me that it is one of the best races in the world, but also one of most difficult, or simply "you?" How could I resist it? I have never done anything like that before and, while my husband says to me that I am insane."

Groovederci is to be sailed by the supreme team. Initially Demourkas says she asked Bouwe Bekking if he would assist in getting a team together. Nine month later the team is ready to roll. Shore manager will be Herve Quilliec, while Rob Huntingford will be boat captain. On board will be Bekking and an assortment of international sailors including Laurent Pages, Ben Beer, Wouter Verbraak, Jonathan Swain, Sean 'Doogie' Courvreaux, Mikkel Rossberg, Stu Bannatyne and they hope to have Star sailor Ross Macdonald.

"I started to sail in 1995 out of a club on aboats belonging to friends in Santa Barbara, CA," continues Demourkas. "In February 2000, my husband and I bought our first boat, the Farr 40 Groovederci. Before then, we had never sailed outside of Santa Barbara and we did not have any idea in what we had set out on with the Farr 40. The only thing was that I liked the pace - which this boat had. At that time I did not know who Paul Cayard was or Loïck Peyron, I usually spent my time reading magazines about architecture or houses and gardens. Since then, our knowledge has grown and we have sailed in the US, the Bahamas in the Mediterranean, we continue to race the Farr 40 this year in California, where we are preparing for the World championship which will be held in San Francisco in September. In addition to the Farr 40 program, I also sailed in the Rolex Women's International Keelboat Championship in 2001, the One Ton Cup in 2002 and some regattas in the Melges 24 in the US.

"The first time I sailed a Mumm 30 was last October, when we sailed a boat in Italy for Mumm 30 Worlds in Elbe. To take part in that event almost impossible with a 40 knot Mistral which blew for three days before the departure and once when we were out on the water. Let us say just that I have much to learn about Mumm 30s. I had never helmed a boat with a tiller before - luckily Bouwe is a patient man..." To remember I wrote on the tiller bar 'hold me with the left hand' and "hold me with the right hand'. That might seem ridiculous but it works and we finished in the middle of the fleet and won a race.

"I when I returned to the United States, I bought a boat - USA 51 - and before sending it to Europe, we took part in Key West in January. More at ease with the boat we finished in third place. Completely fanatical about this sport, my feeling is that this experiment that I will make by taking part in the Tour Voile will increase my knowledge but also will improve my sailing in the future, regardless of the boat. I also hope to learn how to speak French correctly."

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