With just three days left until the first race of the 2011 Farr 30 World Championship, a star-studded international fleet of eight boats fought for Pre-Worlds bragging rights today on San Francisco Bay, with Santa Barbara’s wife/husband-owned Groovederci team splitting victories in the two races of the day and ending the day in the top two positions – perhaps the first time a husband and wife have ever won two consecutive races at this level of racing.
Conditions for the first race of the day were sporty, with around 18 knots of wind coming from the Golden Gate Bridge. The race saw John Demourkas’s Groovederci J eke out a half-boatlength victory from Andrew Hamnilton aboard the British Columbia-based Through. The Canadian boat fought for the pin end of the start line, taking their advantage to a three boatlength lead at the first mark of the race that they would hold until a short distance from the finish line. “We held on as long as we could, but Groovederci worked the last downwind a bit better to squeeze through for the win,” said Through trimmer George Peet. Local rigger and top San Francisco sailor Scott Easom saw his team’s strong performance early in the race evaporate with a spinnaker issue on the final leg, with 8-Ball sailing most of the final leg without spinnaker or jib.
Race 2 saw increased breeze with gusts in the low 20s and plenty of the harsh, steep chop that the Berkeley Circle is famous for. Groovederci D skipper Deneen Demourkas powered to a solid victory in the stronger winds, while Easom came back with a strong second place to finish the day in fourth spot.
Deneen Demourkas was all grins after hitting the dock. “We’re lucky to have this great spot to prepare at Richmond’s Brickyard Cove Marina before moving over to the St. Francis Yacht Club for our World Championship as part of the Rolex Big Boat Series,” said the owner of Groovederci and Farr 30 Class President. “With the support of our sponsors, and the folks at the San Francisco Yacht Club running the racing Monday and Tuesday, we’re finding it to be a perfect warm-up to the Worlds.”
Teams have travelled from as far away as Kiel, Germany, for a chance to race on the intense playing field that is San Francisco’s Berkeley Circle for the hotly contested World Championship, while crews hail from as far off as Auckland and Brisbane. “There’s sun, and wind, and a beautiful backdrop all the time, and the city is really something special” said Ole Stücker, pitman aboard Dr. Harold Bruening’s TOPAS. “We’re certainly glad we made the trip!”
Five of the entries hail from the active Southern California fleet, including Jim Murrell’s Redondo Beach-based Huckleberry 2. “Our goal is to enjoy our time here while trying to finish in the top half of the fleet, and we know we’ve got our work cut out for us in this fleet” said Huckleberry tactician and noted match racer Brian Angel.
Tomorrow is the final day of Pre-Worlds action. Competition for the Farr 30 World Championship starts Thursday and runs through Sunday as part of the Rolex Big Boat Series.