Midwinters off to a rousing start as Cabrillo Beach delivers epic conditions

march26 farr40 sSkipper Kevin McNeil and the Nightshift team take early lead in tough 16-boat fleet 

The Farr 40 Midwinter Championship got off to a rip-roaring start as 16-18 knot westerly winds buffeted the 16-boat fleet, making boat-handling challenging for skippers and crews while providing exciting racing.

Skipper Kevin McNeil and his crew on Nightshift handled the heavy air off Cabrillo Beach the best on Wednesday, posting a pair of seconds and a fourth to take the early lead in the four-day regatta. Nightshift has a low score of eight points, two better than Alex Roepers and the Plenty team.

"It was a great day on the water. It was really blowing out there so it was a challenge," McNeil said. "It's all about preparation and crew work. We spent four days tuning up before the regatta and that made all the difference."

Annapolis (MD) skipper Kevin McNeil and his Fleet Transit team on Nightshift hold the overall lead after a wild first day of racing at the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship.

Veteran professional Andy Horton is calling tactics for McNeil, whose Fleet Transit team remains intact from last year when Nightshift lost the Rolex World Championship to Enfant Terrible by tiebreaker.

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Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club to host Farr 40 Midwinter Championship

mar19 cabrillo sStrong fleet of 16 boats is entered in first event of the 2014 International Circuit 

John Demourkas has fond memories of racing on the West Coast circuit during his early years as a Farr 40 owner. In those days, Demourkas was crewing for his wife Deneen, who drove Groovederci. After retiring from business, John Demourkas took over as skipper and has spent the last eight years competing on the International Circuit in far-flung locales.

So Demourkas is looking forward to returning to places like San Francisco, Long Beach, Marina Del Rey and his home port of Santa Barbara as the 2014 Farr 40 International Circuit is being held on the West Coast for the first time since 2004. 

"We did the West Coast circuit for the first five or six years that we were in the class and really enjoyed it," Demourkas said. "It will be fun and interesting to do all those familiar venues again. Long Beach is a great place to sail while we are excited to host the fleet here in Santa Barbara. San Francisco is one of the greatest places in the world to sail. The West Coast fleet is reviving and I think all the owners out here are working together to make sure this is a spectacular season of racing."

The West Coast fleet has indeed stepped up and put its best foot forward as the opening event of the circuit, the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship, has attracted 17 entries with 11 coming from California. Jeff Janov and the Dark Star crew along with Zoltan Katinszky and the White Knight team are among several strong in-state entries eager to challenge the likes of Groovederci and other boats that have annually been competing on the International Circuit.

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Transfusion’s fifth Farr 40 trophy triumph

February 22, 2014

Guido Belgiorno-Nettis’ Transfusion team has pulled off a trifecta of Australian titles and claimed a record five National Championships: John Calvert-Jones Trophy crowns since the series’ inception in 2000.

An OCS in the penultimate race 11 on a fickle Derwent River in Hobart wasn’t enough to slow the New South Welshmen’s march. They played the Joker card, took the right hand side of the course and won.

The title was in the bag but still they pushed on, finishing second in the final race 12, another three-lapper in the sou’wester averaging in the high teens with bursts over 25 knots and down as low as seven knots at times.

Lloyd Clark and Andrew Hunn’s Voodoo Chile (TAS) opened the Farr 40’s 2013/14 season in dominating form, claiming the Queensland state title last October and the One Design Trophy in December.

Transfusion owned the NSW state title and Martin and Lisa Hill’s Estate Master (NSW) took out the Tasmanian state title earlier this week.

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