Southwesterly winds that started off in the 8-12 knot range then steadily built to 14-16 knots enabled PRO Peter Reggio to complete three excellent races. In typical Farr 40 fashion, there were three different winners Plenty going wire-to-wire in Race 1, Struntje Light getting the gun in Race 2 and Enfant Terrible taking line honors in Race 3.
"It was a great day on the water. We had fantastic racing in great breeze on a beautiful southern California day," said Alex Roepers, skipper of Plenty.
"It is obvious already that we have a very competitive fleet out there. You look at the standings and there are seven boats all bunched up at the top and I think any one of those seven could win the regatta."
Plenty put it all together in Race 1, nailing a pin end start and leading at every mark rounding en route to the win. The reigning International Circuit and world champions also posted a fifth and a sixth in totaling 12 points, good enough for second place.
"We thought the pin was favored and did a great job of getting that. We were able to control the race from there," Roepers said. "We had three boats pushing us the whole way, but we were able to keep them at bay."
Enfant Terrible managed to hold off Estate Master and Struntje Light to finish second in Race 1 and that went a long way toward the Italian team taking the overall lead. Tactician Tommaso Chieffi and Roberto Strappati, helming in owner Alberto Rossi's absence, had a strong day on the water, rebounding from a seventh in the second race to win Race 3 in come-from-behind fashion. Enfant Terrible was third at the first winward mark, but overtook Flash Gordon and Estate Master on the run.
"Enfant has been a top-level program for a long time now. They have a very strong boat and a very experienced crew," Roepers said. "We beat them in two out of three races today, even though we trail on total points. We like our chances. We know where we made errors, where we left points on the table."
German skipper Wolfgang Schaefer steered Struntje Light to victory in Race 2, passing Insanity on the first downwind leg and holding on the rest of the way. Struntje Light finished fourth in Race 1 and is fourth overall by tiebreaker over Flash Gordon 6 and Estate Master (Lisa and Martin Hill).
Santa Barbara skipper John Demourkas and his crew on Groovederci had a solid opening day with a steady score line of 5-4-4. Demourkas has brought renowned professional John Kostecki aboard as tactician and has almost an entirely different crew from last year.
"New tactician and new crew so we're still learning each other. As the day went along, things got better and that is encouraging," Demourkas said. "John Kostecki brings so much knowledge, so much experience. He is real precise and exacting, the type of person who focuses on all the tiny details."
With 13 total points, Groovederci holds third overall - one behind Plenty and one ahead of the boats locked in a three-way tie. "You can't win the regatta on the first day, but you certainly don't want to lose it. We didn't have the best starts today, but we had pretty good speed and crew work. We made some gains downwind, which I would say was our strongest suit."
All the owners of boats that regularly compete on the International Circuit have been impressed by how quickly the Corinthian teams from California have gotten up to speed in just two years. San Diego skipper Rick Goebel and his Insanity team have really stepped up their game and sailed extremely well on Wednesday with a second in Race 2 the highlight.
"We had pretty good upwind speed today. We're still a bit erratic with our maneuvers, but we're working hard and trying our best to minimize mistakes," Goebel said.
Sailing in home waters off San Diego, Insanity topped the Corinthian Division at the Midwinter Championship that kicked off the 2015 circuit. That was the first regatta for Goebel aboard the new boat he bought in December.
"This boat was set up to go at the highest level so now we just have to figure out how to get it there," said Goebel, who praised some of the professionals in the fleet for helping him with rig tuning. "We're still struggling a bit with the quick changes at marks, still learning the fastest ways to get around the corners."
Insanity, a San Diego boat owned by Rick Goebel, is one of the more impressive Corinthian entries competing on the Farr 40 International Circuit.
It was North Sails Day at the West Coast Championship. Action continues on the Pacific Ocean tomorrow on Quantum Sail Design Group Day. The Farr 40 Class Association would like to thank our Official Hotel and additional Race Day sponsor DoubleTree San Pedro, Official Beer Supplier Coronado Brewing Company and Official Graphics Supplier North Sails Graphics. We would also like to thank Gladstone's Long Beach, Pieology and the Long Beach Yacht Club for providing two RIBs.