Groovederci defends World title
With a strong lead over the 2012 BMW Farr 30 World Championship fleet going into the final day of racing, California sailor Deneen Demourkas needed only sail conservatively to clinch her second consecutive World title for her Groovederci team. But instead of covering her opposition on the penultimate race of the Championship, Demourkas continued to do what she’s done in Laholm Bay all week: She won the pin, punched out ahead of her competition, crossed the fleet, and ran away with the victory. It was Demourkas’ fifth bullet of the week, and for tactician Cameron Appleton, it was tougher than it looked. “Reading the wind wasn’t easy out there, but we stuck to our plan, the team executed brilliantly, and Deneen took care of the rest,” he said.
Stockholm-based boats reveled in the light air, with Orca and The End grabbing second and third place, while top Swedish skipper Martin Strandberg (Farr Bar 2) suffered from a poor start and managed just a 10th place. Meanwhile, American competitor Jim Richardson (Barking Mad) crossed the line in fourth. Richard Goransson’s third in Race 10 put him just two points behind fourth place Dr. Harald Bruening’s Topas in the Championship standings while Strandberg’s worst result of the week gave Barking Mad new life; they were now tied on points with the Swede going into the final race.
The battle was on, and with Demourkas having clinched the title and opting to start late in order to minimise her impact on those still fighting for position, Richardson took a page out of her book, starting at the pin end and running away with the early lead. Strandberg was stuck behind competitors, and with Barking Mad extending their lead at every mark, second place was all but locked up. But just 300 metres from the finish, disaster struck. “The breeze swung round to the North and we dropped the kite and tried to sail upwind to the finish. Then it went away completely,” explained tactician Bouwe Bekking. “The fleet saw us wallowing and sailed toward shore, allowing them to stay in the small amount of Southerly wind up the course and sail around us.” Barking Mad eventually finished in 12th place, his worst of the Championship, dropping him to third overall. “It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes you can be too fast for your own good,” Richardson explained. “If our lead was smaller, we’d probably have held the lead to the finish.” The four-time Farr 30 Worlds runner-up was in good spirits despite his disappointment. “At least I didn’t get another second place!” he joked.
Strandberg won the race, while Goransson and Bruening were locked in battle behind him just inches apart. The End would cross in second. “We tried whatever we could to shake Topas off, but we ran out of runway,” said pitman Ollie Tizzard. The German team crossed just behind, enough to hold onto fourth overall by a single point.
As Groovederci hit the dock, the team’s supporters doused Demourkas and her crew with champagne before throwing the Santa Barbara girl into the chilly North Sea water in celebration. She shivered as the dock erupted into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for the first two-time Worlds winning skipper in Class history. “This is definitely one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever had, and to win against such a great group of people in this wonderful place makes it truly special,” she said. Demourkas said the strong turnout for the Class is a good sign of things to come. “More and more sailors are figuring out that the Farr 30 is one of the best values anywhere in racing. The boats are tougher than any other grand prix boat, and they stay stiff and fast seemingly forever, and they are faster and more versatile than many of even the most modern designs.”
The fleet has plenty of new blood, too, as evidenced by 15-year old bowman Pierre Gronberg, sailing for his father aboard Happy Hours. “This was my first World Championship, and I can’t wait to do more,” said Pierre. “It’s such an exciting boat, and the fleet is extremely friendly and helpful.”
Class President Demourkas dedicated her Championship win to the memory of three prominent Farr 30 sailors who recently passed away. “Hal Ward, Kevin Conelly, and Guy Stening were three great people who loved the Farr 30 as much as anyone. We miss them dearly.”
Class officials are currently finalizing details for the venue and location of the 2013 World Championship, and they expect to announce their decision soon.
2012 BMW Farr 30 World Championship results (top 10):
1) USA 706 Groovederci | 43 points | Deneen Demourkas | Santa Barbara YC
2) 5) SWE 381 Farr Barr 2 | 46 points | Martin Strandberg | MSS
3) USA 50955 Barking Mad | 57 points | James Richardson | New York YC
4) GER 5373 Topas | 63 points | Dr. Harald Bruening | KYC/WYC/RORC
5) SWE 6100 The End | 64 points | Richard Goransson | KSSS
6) SWE 2 Letto Di Pletto | 77 points | Thomas Olsson | HAAS
7) SWE 659 S/Y Maskinen | 78 points | Noel Barkelius | WSSW
8) SWE 10070 Orca | 90 points | Patrik Lindblom | KSSS
9) NED 6922 Triple P | 91 points | F. Khalegi Yazdi | YC Sheveningen
10) SWE 18325 Forum Ils | 103 points | Fredrik Tham | KSSS