Santa Barbara, California, USA: Santa Barbara delivered Chamber of Commerce conditions for the second day of the Farr 40 West Coast Championship - bright sunshine, clear skies, 75 degree temperatures and solid winds.
A southwesterly breeze that built to 15 knots enabled principal race officer Peter Reggio to complete three races for the second straight day and the sailors arrived back at the dock tired and satisfied.
"What an absolutely spectacular day on the water," Farr 40 class manager Geoff Stagg said. "There was not a cloud in the sky and the mountains made for a beautiful backdrop. You could not ask for more perfect conditions and the result was some really great racing."
Capping off a wonderful day in Santa Barbara was an owner's dinner party poolside at Villabellogia, the beautiful foothills home of John and Deneen Demourkas. John and Deneen, longtime owners of Groovederci, were the first of several married couples to sail together in Farr 40s when they placed third at the 2002 Rolex World Championship in Nassau, Bahamas. They have been stalwarts of the class ever since Deneen purchased her first Farr 40 in 1999.
So it was somewhat fitting that John Demourkas won the day, steering Groovederci to a superb score line of 4-2-2. That strong performance moved Groovederci up to fifth in the overall standings following a difficult first day.
"For Groovederci to be Boat of the Day on the night that John and Deneen are having their party could not be more appropriate," Stagg said. "John is one of our most popular owners and it is great to see him sail well at the regatta being hosted by his home yacht club."
Groovederci was over early at the start of Race 1 and wound up finishing 10th. Demourkas said that result made the crew "grumpy" and things didn't get much better as Groove followed with a ninth and seventh on Wednesday.
"What a difference a day makes! We were able to get out of our funk and actually go somewhere today," Demourkas said. "It's unbelievable how I feel right now as compared to how I felt at this time yesterday."
Demourkas praised tactician Cameron Appleton for consistently calling the correct side of the course and said the team's strong starts were due largely to the work of bowman Sean Couvreux sighting the line.
"Cameron did a good job of weaving us through the masses and the crew work as a whole was outstanding," Demourkas said. "I thought the boat was very quick in the big breeze. It just felt good to go out and sail the way we know we are capable."
Enfant Terrible, the Italian entry skippered by Alberto Rossi, also enjoyed a terrific afternoon - leading wire-to-wire en route to winning the fifth and sixth races. Flavio Favini is calling tactics aboard Enfant Terrible, which moved into a first place tie with Flash Gordon 6. Both boats have accumulated 23 points, but Enfant wins the tiebreaker based off the two bullets on Thursday.
"It was a great day for our team. We had very good starts and sailed a lot faster than we did yesterday," Rossi said. "This is a fantastic fleet with many tough boats and the racing is really close. Flash has been sailing really well, especially downwind, so we are quite happy to be tied with them."
Rossi said the three Australian boats that have arrived for the West Coast Championship have greatly enhanced the competition and noted that all the California boats that are new to the International Circuit continue to get better with each regatta.
Kokomo, skippered by Sydney resident Lang Walker, won the opening race on Thursday and stands third in the overall standings with 25 points - two better than Voodoo Chile. Skipper Lloyd Clark, a resident of Tasmania, has just two professionals aboard Voodoo Chile and has built a commanding 24-point lead in the Corinthian standings.
Skipper Helmut Jahn and the Flash Gordon 6 team sandwiched second and third place results around an eighth on Thursday to remain atop the 15-boat fleet. Jahn, a Chicago-based architect, said Race 5 could have been worse as Flash had some trouble at the start and was second-to-last at one point during the first windward leg.
"We got ping-ponged around and had a horrible start, but fortunately we made up quite a number of places on the race course," Jahn said. "Coming back the way we did made us even more confident that we are fast."
Enfant Terrible and Flash Gordon 6 are second and third, respectively, on the 2014 International Circuit so it is no surprise those two boats entering the third day of the regatta tied for the lead on points.
"We are at the midway point of the regatta and only four points separate the top four boats," Jahn said. "Things are very, very tight and the regatta is still wide open. We just have to do our best to get stronger each day."
The Farr 40 class would like to thank North Sails Graphics, the official graphics supplier for the West Coast Championship. We would also like to thank Ullman Sails for its support on Thursday.