Perfect conditions yield three races, yet over half the fleet is still within one point in overall scores
Annapolis, MD - Local knowledge sprinkled with some world-class talent allowed Annapolis-based Rod Jabin and his Ramrod team to take an early lead in today's first of four days of racing in the 2012 Farr 40 East Coast Championship. After three races, Ramrod leads the 11-boat fleet by three points.
"We're happy to be in the lead at this stage," said Jabin, "but it sure wasn't easy. We had some new sails delivered a few days ago, and no breeze to learn how to get them set up, so when the breeze came up it was a big scramble. But the class is also very tough, and it's been a while since we've been racing these boats at this level."
In fact, the last Farr 40 event Jabin sailed was here in Annapolis at the Rolex 2010 North American Championship, which he won decisively in a mostly-local 9-boat fleet. But with teams from Germany, Italy, Monaco, Turkey and the US here this week, the fleet is of higher caliber and on a mission: the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship held in Chicago in September. No wonder the next six places in the standings are bottle-necked in tie-breaks for 14 and 15 points.
Ramrod tactician Gavin Brady came up from New Zealand to race with Jabin, and said it was a "pleasure" to race with the Ramrod team again. "We had not been together since the 2008 Worlds in Miami, but just took out our notes from that event and with all the same guys we were able to get back into it quickly." It's worth noting that at that event Ramrod was the highest-placed US team, finishing 7th in a fleet of 33 entries.
After an aborted first race started in a dying northerly breeze, race managers from the Storm Trysail Club re-set the course for the new building southerly, which was enhanced even more by a strong ebb current flowing south down the Bay. The locals knew gaining control of the left side of the course in the deeper water would pay off, but it was Nico Poons's Charisma who gained on a right shift in the second beat to take the win.
And as the breeze built from 10 to 12 then to 15 knots, this advantage was not quite as pronounced, so superior speed and boathandling came into play, allowing John Demourkas's Groovederci to take his first win of the series in Race 2, while Wolfgang Schaefer's Struntje Light held his early lead to take the win in Race 3. With this bullet on his scorecard, Schaefer wins the tie-break with Ergin Imre and Onur Erardag's Provezza 8 for the current runner-up position.
In his first-ever day of racing in the Chesapeake, Schaefer said "We had always heard this was a challenging place to sail, and it has not disappointed us. But the racing so far has been fantastic, I look forward to doing more."
Racing resumes tomorrow in Day 2, with three races planned to start at 1130 EDT.
Results are posted online at www.farr40.org, and photos from Sara Proctor can be seen at her gallery at saraproctor.smugmug.com.