There has been one constant during the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship: Skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team have sailed brilliantly and have steadily put a stranglehold on the top spot in the standings.
Beyond that, the four-day regatta has been tremendously competitive with numerous boats showing well at times and the results difficult to predict from race to race.
Enfant Terrible, the reigning world champion, continued to show tremendous consistency and extended its lead with a superb scoring line of 1-2-2 on Friday. Rossi and tactician Vasco Vascotto have been in perfect harmony while the crew work has been outstanding as the Italian entry posted five bullets, a pair of seconds and a third since finishing 10th in Race 1.
Enfant Terrible has a low score of 22 points and holds a commanding 13 point lead over second place Plenty going into the final day of action. With two races planned for Saturday in the 16-boat fleet, the lead is not insurmountable but certainly rather imposing considering how well the Italians have been sailing.
"Enfant is executing very well. They are getting good starts and have very good boat speed both upwind and downwind. Alberto and his guys are just doing an excellent job and setting the tone," Plenty skipper Alex Roepers said. "Enfant has to show up tomorrow, but it will be very hard to beat them at this point."
Struntje Light, the German entry skippered by Wolfgang Schaefer, had a strong outing on Friday, winning Races 8 and 9 to move into fourth place in the overall standings.
Plenty moved into second place on Friday and is two points ahead of Nightshift, skippered by Kevin McNeil of Annapolis, Md. Class veteran Terry Hutchinson is calling tactics for Roepers, who has also been quite consistent in finishing no lower than sixth through nine races.
"Nightshift and Struntje Light are sailing very well while Flash Gordon and Groovederci are still very much in contention," said Roepers, a New York resident. "None of the top six boats can be counted out. It's going to be really intense out there tomorrow because a lot of places are still up for grabs. We have not been starting well, which has forced us to battle back. So our focus (on Saturday) is to get off the line clean and fast."
Struntje Light, the German entry owned by Wolfgang Schaefer, made a big move on Friday by winning Races 8 and 9. Olympic silver medalist Morgan Reeser is calling tactics for Schaefer, who got great starts at the committee boat end of the line and posted wire-to-wire victories.
"We are very happy to have such a good day. We did not sail so well (on Thursday) so it felt good to bounce back," Schaefer said. "We were in a very good mode today. We had great starts and were able to tack when we wanted to do so. Our boat speed was good and the crew did a great job."
Malibu skipper Jeff Janov and his crew aboard Dark Star have sailed very well during the Farr 40 Midwinter Championship. Dark Star stands seventh in the overall standings.
Reeser is one of five new crew members aboard Struntje Light, which captured the 2013 Midwinter Championship off Miami. Schaefer said it has taken a few days for the team to jell.
"We are still getting to know each other and learning how to sail together. Communication is very important on the boat and we are improving in that area," he said. "Morgan is a great guy and I am enjoying working with him. We expected to get better every day and we have."
Struntje Light overtook Flash Gordon 6 (Helmut Jahn, Chicago) for fourth place in the overall standings and Schaefer is hopeful of moving into second or third with another strong outing on Saturday.
While the top six places are occupied by boats that have been regular competitors on the International Circuit, several West Coast entries have distinguished themselves so far. Dark Star, skippered by Jeff Janov of Malibu (Cal.) has been quite impressive in securing the seventh place position. Morgan Larson is calling tactics for Janov, who closed out Friday's racing with his second third place result and now has four top five finishes.
"We are ecstatic. Morgan has been terrific on tactics and our crew work has been phenomenal," said Janov, High Point winner within the West Coast fleet the last four years. "We had no expectations coming into the regatta. We just wanted to sail as well as we could. We've had a few bad results, but we sure are happy with some of the good things we've done."
Skipper Gordon Leon and his crew on Foil have also been doing good work, leading the Corinthian Division at the end of each day's racing. This is the third year in the class for Leon, a member of the host Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club.
"We're very pleased with how we're doing so far. We came into this with the intent of learning as much as we can from the pros. This class racing is so darn competitive and it is definitely making me a better sailor," Leon said.
Chris Raab is calling tactics on Foil while Leon said he has great rapport with mainsail trimmer Kristy Lenehan. He had high praise for the job Samantha Herrin is doing on the bow.
"My crew has really been doing a great job," said Leon, who holds an eight point lead over Temptress in the Corinthian Division. "Chris Raab has done a great job of whipping us into shape and when we get into a good groove we sail very well."
The Farr 40 Class Association would like to thank the following valued supporters: Gladstone's Long Beach, Yacht Club Vodka, Kelly Marine, O'Connor and Kay Inc., North Sails, Quantum Sails and Ullman Sails.
Top Five Farr 40 Midwinter Championship Results (16 boats)
1. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, Italy, 10-1-1-1-1-3-1-2-2=22 points
2. Plenty, Alex Roepers, New York, 3-3-4-4-2-4-5-6-4=35
3. Nightshift, Kevin McNeil, Annapolis, MD., 2-4-2-2-4-5-7-3-8=37
4. Struntje Light, Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany, 4-2-5-5-6-11-9-1-1=44
5. Flash Gordon 6, Helmut Jahn, Chicago, 1-9-7-3-9-2-2-7-13=53
For complete results: www.yachtscoring.com