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Monday, September 28, 2015

Groovederci Crowned 2015 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion

With a nod to the Young Rascals, John Demourkas was certainly ‘Groovin' on a Sunday afternoon’ as he won the 2015 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship by one point over defending champion Alex Roepers on Plenty. Demourkas, the second-longest member of the class with 11 years of helming the one-design Farr 40 under his belt, has never before finished on the podium at the world championship.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Finishes of 7-4-3 put him fourth overall in the 17-boat international fleet on the opening day of the series; Demourkas then won the first race on day two, and, with finishes of 5-3, moved up to second overall. Scores of 5-6-4 on the third day of racing kept Demourkas in position, but he was tied on 38 points with Roepers who held the top spot in the overall standings to start the final day of the series. Struntje light won the first race of the day, moving Wolfgang Schaefer's team to within striking distance of the title and setting up an intriguing three-way battle.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Going into the final race, Plenty sat one point in front of Struntje light, with Grooverderci having dropped to four points behind the leader. Roepers and Schaefer soon engaged in a drag race out to the right-hand side of the course with Plenty rounding the top mark in third, barely a length ahead of Struntje light. By the bottom of the run, the German boat had turned the tables on Plenty and led them round the right-hand side of the gate.

While these two were engaged in their private duel, however, others took advantage of a new breeze from the left with Australian team Estate Master taking up the lead. More importantly – for the championship – was the comeback by Groovederci who cruised into second place. Suddenly the match race between Plenty and Struntje light became inconsequential as John Demourkas sailed clean past both of them. It was an incredible reversal of fortunes that took even Groovederci’s owner by surprise.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“We did it, we never gave up. I had no idea we'd won until we crossed the line. JK [tactician John Kostecki] said 'I think we did it' and I said 'no, that's not possible.' I wasn't even focused on it, just drive the boat, find my angles… not even thinking about what the results would be, or thinking about anything else,” said a euphoric Demourkas.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The 61-year-old Demourkas was presented with a specially-engraved Rolex Yacht-Master – the ultimate tool chosen by professionals who sail the world – a prize worthy of his achievement, especially in the Farr 40 class where success is found through rigorous preparation, determination, and superlative timing.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“I was close to getting a Rolex watch, unfortunately I missed it again. Maybe I should buy one, but it's not the same. Buying a Rolex is probably less expensive than winning a Rolex, but then you don't have the back engraved to say that you are world champion. It's the engraving that matters.” said Wolfgang Schaefer who finished third overall on his German-flagged Struntje light.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“We don't like losing and we let this one slip away, Defending our title was always going to be tough, hats off to our team because nothing came easy in this regatta. I couldn't be happier for Johnny D because he's a great man. He's been at it for a while, so for him to hang tough and get there is just awesome. He's a good man for our sport and a top-notch person. As disappointed as I am for Alex [Roepers] and Team Plenty, I'm as happy for Johnny because he's a legend,” said tactician Terry Hutchinson
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Kevin McNeil’s Nightshift, with 57 points, and Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon 6, with 64, round out the top-five in the overall standings. Gary Ezor’s Coquille, eighth in the overall standings, was the top Corinthian team.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
2015 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
Cumulative Results Day 4 (Top 5)

1. Groovederci, USA7289, John Demourkas - 7 -4 -3 -1 -5 -3 -5 -6 -4 -9 -2 ; 49
2. Plenty, USA60059, Alex Roepers - 5 -1 -4 -6 -8 -1 -3 -4 -6 -5 -7 ; 50
3. Struntje light, GER40, Wolfgang Schaefer - 1 -9 -6 -4 -1 -2 -9 -9 -2 -1 -8 ; 52
4. Nightshift, USA40076, Kevin McNeil - 2 -5 -5 -7 -3 -8 -6 -2 -8 -8 -3 ; 57
5. Flash Gordon 6, USA60002, Helmut Jahn - 18 -3 -1 -8 -10 -5 -1 -3 -3 -6 -6 ; 64

A full list of today’s results is available here>>>

Regatta News

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Groovederci Guns For Plenty - Rolex Farr 40 Worlds - Day 3

Ever since Rolex brought the precision of a marine chronometer to the wristwatch, the company has naturally become associated with activities that share its excellence, precision and team spirit. Nowhere is that more evident than this week in Long Beach, California, where the 2015 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship is underway at Long Beach Yacht Club (LBYC).
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Long Beach has a well-deserved reputation in sailing circles as a superior venue for racing; and LBYC, founded in 1929, has contributed to the area’s reputation by hosting high-profile events, such as the Congressional Cup which has become one of the nation’s premier sailing regattas.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“The location is key, It is one of the iconic places in the world to come sailing: regular breeze, sunshine, and a friendly atmosphere. I just love coming here,” said Ian Williams.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
This week Williams is calling tactics on Martin Hill’s Australian-flagged Estate Master, and the five-time World Match Racing Champion loves the close battles that come with Farr 40 racing. 
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“At the top level, this is absolutely the cutting edge of one-design fleet racing,” said Williams, a six-time competitor in the Congressional Cup and two-time winner (2011, 2012).
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Terry Hutchinson also has a reputation for being tough with his requirements, and always exacts the best from whichever team he’s working with. His ‘tough love’ approach brought victory for Alex Roepers and Plenty at last year’s Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in San Francisco. Going into the final day of competition Roepers is positioned to defend his world title; he stands atop the leaderboard again, although tied for points (38) with John Demourkas’ Groovederci.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The key moment for Plenty came in the final 300 yards to the finish of race eight, as Roepers explained: “We were lying in eighth at the top mark, but we did a lot of gybing, caught some waves, did everything right, and came through to fourth in a photo finish,” he said. “It makes it exciting, it's a game of inches in many races, and it's rare that you have a great start and lead all the way.”
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Champions on Enfant Terrible made amends for an awful start to the regatta with Alberto Rossi turning on the afterburners to finish second in the first race of the day, followed by two start-to-finish victories. Enfant Terrible’s one minute 47 second win in race eight was the most emphatic win of the regatta, but stand-out performances don’t earn extra points in Farr 40 racing. Even after their 2-1-1 from the day, the Italians still lie well out of contention in seventh overall.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
With two races scheduled for the final day tomorrow, Struntje light and Nightshift remain within striking distance of the leaders. Nightshift’s Kevin McNeil paid tribute to his tactician Chris Larson and the solid work by his crew. He knows just how tightly fought these regattas can be, having just missed out on the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World title in Newport, Rhode Island, two years ago when he fell the wrong side of a tiebreak to Enfant Terrible.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
John Kostecki has won most titles in sailing, including an Olympic medal, the Volvo Ocean Race, the America’s Cup and he is also a three-time Rolex Farr 40 World Champion (1999, 2008 and 2011). Tomorrow Kostecki wants to help John Demourkas, owner of Groovederci, enjoy his first taste of world victory. ‘Never Give Up’ was emblazoned on Groovederci’s team shirts today, in loving memory of Gwendolyn Strong, daughter of a friend of the Demourkas family who at the age of seven lost her fight earlier this summer with spinal muscular atrophy. 
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“Never Give Up is a strong statement,” said Kostecki, “and it’s one that you can always apply with sailboat racing. This is tough competition and we’re one of a number of boats that can still win this regatta. It’s game on.”

Regatta News

Perfect Execution Puts Struntje light In Lead - Rolex Farr 40 Worlds - Day 2

Fortunes in grand prix sailing can ebb and flow faster than a spring tide, and the first race of day two of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship was a perfect example. The class attracts some of the world’s most accomplished sailors to do battle on equal terms, although one team competing at this level for the first time are the university students on Cal Maritime who have never raced a Farr 40 together before.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
It was little surprise to see them battling at the back of such a high quality 17-boat fleet on day one. However, it appears they are fast learners, as they launched off the start line on day two in light south-westerly breezes, eventually finishing just five seconds behind John Demourkas’ Groovederci in the first race of the day.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Cal Maritime, with Chris Vilicich at the helm, recognised that any little mistake could put them to the back pretty quickly as they followed with finishes of 16-17 in the subsequent races. “It's pretty intimidating seeing some of the world's best sailors right behind you, trying to tell you what to do, trying to persuade you to go another way,” said Vilicich. “It's a little intimidating, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. We've still got to be respectful, because we're the younger guys in the fleet.”
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Groovederci’s early victory set the tone for a very good day for Demourkas, who finished 1-5-3. It was an even better day for Wolfgang Schaefer’s Struntje light with the German team cruising to the top of the leaderboard with 4-1-2. 
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
These two teams now sit tied on 23 points with Alex Roeper’s victory in the last race of the day (after a 6-8 in the earlier races) putting Plenty, the defending world champion, just two points behind the series leaders at the halfway stage of this challenging regatta. With every race score counted, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship rewards consistency above all, with the lack of a throw-out race meaning that a team is punished for any error or misfortune.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“Maybe it was the race win, getting our positive attitude going,” said John Demourkas of the secret to their success on the water today. “It wasn't the best start, but we were able to get to the pressure and come out ahead of the fleet at the first mark. I was quite surprised that we were there, but was pleased we could put it all together. With the amount of kelp out there, it's possible to run over an island [of seaweed] and stop. Luckily we were able to avoid all that.”
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Demourkas, who has never been on the podium at a Farr 40 world championship before, had given sails to the Cal Maritime team. “Some of our old sails were just about to beat me; if they can make them work, good on them.”
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
In such a tight fleet, Farr 40 racing demands the highest levels of precision, teamwork and the synchronization of all crew members. With mere seconds separating the leading yachts, decisions need to be made quickly and manoeuvres carried out to perfection. These attributes align with the values of Rolex, which has been a partner of the Farr 40 class and sponsor of its World Championship since 2001. Today, Struntje light’s performance was about as precision-perfect as anyone could hope to be in this competitive fleet.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“Today we sailed well, consistent, always in the top five,” said Francesco Bruni, tactician on Struntje light. “I think our strength is at the start. Yesterday I was a little anxious and made some mistakes; but we are all human, we all make mistakes, but hopefully not again!”
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
If today’s first race was one to be cherished by the young guns on Cal Maritime, it was one that Alberto Rossi and Enfant Terrible hope to forget. For health enthusiasts, the long straggly seaweed known as kelp is a super-food with health benefits; to a racing sailor, it is a hidden curse lurking on or just below the surface. Twice today the Italians were caught by the kelp and were forced to throw the boat into reverse to shake the seaweed free. Even a second place in the middle race was scant consolation for such a difficult day, giving Rossi a mountain to climb in his bid to add a second world title to his 2013 victory.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
2015 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
Preliminary Cumulative Results Day 2 (Top 5)

1. Struntje light, Wolfgang Schaefer , GER - 1 -9 -6 -4 -1 -2 ; 23
2. Groovederci, John Demourkas , USA - 7 -4 -3 -1 -5 -3 ; 23
3. Plenty, Alex Roepers , USA - 5 -1 -4 -6 -8 -1 ; 25
4. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil , USA - 2 -5 -5 -7 -3 -8 ; 30
5. Asterisk Uno, Hasip Gencer , TUR - 8 -2 -8 -3 -7 -6 ; 34

For full results see>>>

Regatta News

Friday, September 25, 2015

Flash Gordon Launches A Rocket Under The Farr 40 Fleet - 2015 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds - Day 1

Naples Island, one of the canal-divided islands in Alamitos Bay known as the “Venice of America,” is home to Long Beach Yacht Club, which this week (September 24-27) is hosting 17 international teams who are vying for the 2015 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship title. As the closing event of a highly-competitive season, the victorious team will be the one whose athleticism, precision and teamwork come together in a fashion not unlike a Rolex timepiece: assembled with detailed precision by a master craftsman.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
When the boats left the dock this morning, one of the title favourites was among the very last to leave. “Last off the dock, first across the finish,” smiled Wolfgang Schaefer as he steered Struntje light out to sea. His bold claim proved strangely prescient as he would go on to win the first race comfortably.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Even more surprising was the fact that the German boat won the race after only managing a second-row start next to the committee boat at the congested right-hand end of the start line. Schaefer’s tactician, America’s Cup and Olympic veteran Francesco Bruni, badly wanted to get to the right-hand side of the race course in the expectation of the breeze favouring that side. “We were prepared to give away distance at the start to win back time later,” said Schaefer.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
While Struntje light won the first race, it came at a price. “We destroyed our light air spinnaker towards the end of the race, which meant we couldn’t use it for the rest of the day, and we were slow downwind. Nothing we could do about that.” Such are the demands of the Farr 40, where success only comes when you put all the elements together.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Reigning world champion Alex Roepers, on Plenty, started slowly but came through for sixth in the first race. At the leeward gate Roepers was battling through the traffic alongside arch rivals from Italy, Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible, the 2013 Rolex Farr 40 World Champions. However, Rossi went for a gap that wasn’t there and was forced to spin his boat for a second attempt, and then make a subsequent penalty spin.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
This error set the scene for a very difficult day for the Italians, guided by multiple champion Vasco Vascotto, who are known for their precision approach to their racing. But that precision deserted them for the start of race two when Enfant Terrible broke the start line too early. On restarting they were almost last, but it’s a credit to Italian resilience, teamwork and determination that they clawed their way back to sixth by the finish; even so, Vascotto flung his hat on the deck in frustration. Lying ninth overall (16 points out of first place) after three races, it’s a long way back to the top for this ambitious crew.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
The team that just got better and better throughout the day was Flash Gordon 6 helmed by Helmut Jahn, the 2012 Rolex Farr 40 World Champion. The world-renowned Chicago-based architect, who shares steering duties with his son Evan Jahn, progressed to the top of the leaderboard with scores of 5-3-1, but refused to celebrate his success when he stepped ashore.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“You can lose a regatta in one day, but you can't win it. We're going to sail tomorrow like we just started out, not thinking that we're in a special place. That's part of the excitement of the fleet, that it's so competitive, so tight,” Jahn said.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Jahn appreciates the camaraderie of the fleet, the family atmosphere, and the sheer pleasure of working with the elements to make the boat go as fast as possible.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
“We work not with an engine, we work with the wind, with the waves, with the current. In this sport you can't control everything, and in the Farr 40 fleet you can never count somebody out, everyone still has a chance. We've got three days to go and a lot can happen,” he added.
Photo: Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Flash Gordon 6 leads overall on nine points, with a two-point advantage over the defending champions Plenty, and Kevin McNeill’s U.S.-flagged Nightshift third on 12 points.

Regatta News

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What The Sailors Said - 52 Super Series Cascais Cup - Final Day

Guillermo Parada (ARG) Skipper-Helm Azzurra (ITA):
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“I am feeling really nice, winning the last race is a good memory for the rest of the winter.”
“The reality is that we are a complete team, the shore crew are part of our team. They suffer when we have a bad day and they enjoy it when we have a good day so all in all we are very close together. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"Also the design team led by Juan Garay and on-board Giovanni Cassinari the mainsail trimmer is a sail designer himself helping with the design of the mainsail and the spinnakers. Then Grant Loretz and Marco Cichetti taking care of their own sails it’s a big job that they are doing. 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"The sailing team and also I don’t want to forget Marco Capitani and Guillermo Baquerizas our coaches who make sure we are on track and that we don’t lose focus and that we keep us on the right path, keep pushing, making sure we don’t get away from our daily routine, that we stick to our plan and stay as consistent as we can possibly be and I think that this has been one of the keys to our season, being very stable.”

Ado Stead (GBR) Tactciian Quantum Racing (USA): 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“Last couple of regattas we have really shown our true mettle. It was good winning the Copa del Rey and here we have sailed very consistently and ended up with a nice eight point lead at the end. Our goal today was two solid races and we achieved that nicely- a second and a first, a few more points on Azzurra. Last race just taking it easy and making sure we got round and got a very nice third to win the regatta.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"We were a little slow out of the blocks, a little late in terms of getting the boat ready and a little behind. It’s all those little things that you’re looking for that hurt you. I think that the strength of a good team is to be able to recognise its weaknesses and work on them and keep plugging away and that’s exactly what Quantum Racing has done this year and I’m incredibly proud of the year, second place, winning the last two regattas. We know that we are in the right place and heading in the right direction.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"It’s been brilliant to have Dalton drive a couple of regattas, Doug as well and it’s the strength of our team is the ability to make that swap and that change in and out. I’m really pleased to be part of the team, this team has done amazingly well this year and we’re really definitely on the up and there’s still a bit more in the tank yet.”

Ross MacDonald (CAN) Tactician Sled (USA: 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“We’ve had, to be honest, a pretty difficult week and some things have been probably a little bit luck related but most are probably within our control and we probably botched it up a bit towards the end but we stuck with our plan and we held together and we didn’t deviate and we were pretty confident in what we were doing and so we just needed to sail cleanly and do what we normally do and it all worked out.
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
"The podium is huge but more important was the owner-driver category and it was a double win for us. We never expected to be on the podium but we definitely wanted to be one of the contenders in the owner-driver category so it’s a great result. I have to add that it is a little bit difficult when you are sailing to try and finish in these positions because normally you go to a regatta and you try to win or finish on the podium and here you’re dealing with a lot of math, high numbers. To go eight or ten races on the defence is a little bit difficult.”
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
Compared with your rivals which are ‘new’ teams, Bronenosec and Platoon has your experience of the circuit been telling in the end?
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“New is a relative term, everybody has got some experience on-board (the other boats) but sure us all being a team last year and coming into this year with pretty much the same team really helps. You just know what you’re getting, everyone just settles into their positions and it’s a huge benefit.”

Gavin Brady (NZL) Vesper (USA): 
Photo: © Martinez Studio / 52 SuperSeries
“We’re very fortunate to be in this position and we just had couple of races out there this week where things sort of went our way. I was having a bit of a laugh with our navigator Steve Hayles on the first race saying even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and again and there again we crossed the fleet. That’s been our energy out there this week, we’ve kind of got nothing to lose and we’re enjoying it. It’s great to be here, nice people and great boats so I think that sometimes reflects in your results when you sail loose with nothing to lose so it’s a good thing to remember.”

52 Super Series Media