Ramrod takes an early lead
The heat wave continued in Newport today, but it wasn’t all bad - after a one-hour postponement, the same heat that burned backs and necks all day kicked up a classic Newport sea breeze. Race Officer Peter Reggio took advantage, banging off three hotly competitive races in succession to kick off the 2013 Farr 30 World Championship.
The breeze provided refreshing apparent wind on the beats, but downwind sailing was “like standing in a blast furnace” according to current World Champ Deneen Demourkas. “Keeping your energy up in that heat is really tough,” she said. Demourkas sits in fourth place, with an uphill climb ahead to win a third world title.
While Demourkas roasted, Annapolis sailor Kevin McNeil rode his Seabiscuit to second place in the standings, one point ahead of ahead local favorite Barking Mad. With help from America’s Cup tacticain and Star helm Andy Horton, McNeil led the opening race from start to finish, and in the last race of the day, was the only team to challenge Jabin on Ramrod’s wire-to-wire win.
The action never stopped just behind the leaders, with constant lead changes in the up-and-down pressure on the course. The first race featured holes and streaks in breeze of 7-9 knots, with the breeze stabilizing in direction and speed for races 2 and 3. Jabin, with multiple World Champ and America’s Cup veteran Moose McClintock on trim and Chris Larson on tactics, barely put a foot wrong in the light air.
“Rod’s getting off the line nicely, while our rig tune, sail plan, and mechanics are working well right now,” said Larson. It doesn’t hurt to have McClintock’s eyes on the course, either. “Moose might just be the most local of all Newport local sailors, and he’s got a sixth sense about these waters.”
Melges 32 World Champ and expat Australian Jeremy Wilmot is new to the Farr 30 fleet, and his initiation into the fleet, sailing with Norm Dean aboard Just Plain Nutz, has been a revelation. “I haven’t sailed a symmetrical spinnaker boat in about ten years, and it’s been a blast,” he said. “The fleet stays so close together downwind that it always stays interesting for the whole crew”
Conditions are likely to build throughout the week, with early forecasts calling for up to 20 knots on Friday or Saturday and slightly cooler temperatures. Racing continues through Saturday, with coverage beginning on the Farr 30 Facebook page at 11:55 tomorrow.
Full results here