When organizers announced there would only be one race on Saturday, the crew aboard Enfant Terrible did not think there was any chance they could capture the West Coast Championship.
The Italian entry entered the day in third place, four points behind overall leader Groovederci. Tactician Tommaso Chieffi had hoped there would be two races as planned.
"When word came there would be one race, we figured we would not be able to win," he said. "Our goal going into the last race was to just hold onto third."
It turns out that things fell into place perfectly for Enfant Terrible, which finished second in Race 10 then watched as the chief competition faltered. Groovederci, which came into the day holding the lead by one point, finished sixth. Estate Master, which had been three points ahead of Enfant Terrible, absorbed its worst result of the regatta with a 10th.
"We are very, very happy to win this regatta. I give a lot of credit to the crew for never losing confidence even when things did not look good," Chieffi said. "We were very patient and waited for our opportunities. We have a great group of guys who have been sailing together a long time and they never gave up."
Roberto Strappati filled in for owner Alberto Rossi as helmsman and acquitted himself well, Chieffi said. "Roberto did an excellent job. He had to replace Alberto, which is not easy because Alberto knows the boat so well and is an outstanding driver. Roberto was a big part of this victory," Chieffi said.
Enfant Terrible had a difficult second day, suffering a sixth and a ninth and falling down in the standings. The Italian team closed the regatta strong, finishing no lower than fourth in the final 4 races.
"Day two it all went wrong, but the crew did not get down. They just kept working and battling and when it was all said and done we found ourselves in first place," Chieffi said.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Groovederci owner John Demourkas, who was attempting to win a regatta for the first time since 2012. Lengthy postponements ashore and again on the water did not help the Santa Barbara skipper's mindset.
"Bobbing around for hours is not good for me. I hate that because I tend to lose my focus," Demourkas said. "All of a sudden it's time to race and you have to get your head back in the game."
Groovederci was the victim of some bad luck, such as when it had a perfect layline on the first upwind mark, but got pushed off target by several other boats. "We didn't quite make the mark and had to duck a bunch of boats, which really put us behind the eight ball," Demourkas said.
Enfant Terrible and Groovederci wound up tied with 42 points. Both boats had one victory and a pair of seconds so the tiebreaker went to number of third place finishes and that gave the Italian team the title. It was the second straight victory on the Farr 40 International Circuit for Enfant Terrible, which won the Midwinter Championship off San Diego in early March.
"It is very nice to win the first two events, but Alberto is more concerned with the world championship," Chieffi said. "The competition in this class is very, very tough and the other boats will get stronger as the season progresses so we have to continue to improve as well."
While not happy to settle for second place, Demourkas was encouraged by the performance of his boat and crew. Groovederci was very consistent throughout the four-day regatta and placed fifth or better in seven of the 10 races.
"I wish I had a do-over on that last race, but the good thing is that we are going in an upward direction," Demourkas said. "(Tactician) John Kostecki has brought a new level of intensity to the boat and I think our crew is jelling."
Demourkas, one of the longest-tenured owners in the Farr 40 class, had high praise for host Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club. "This venue was terrific and all the members of Cabrillo Beach treated us like champs. The commodore could not have been more welcoming," he said.
German skipper Wolfgang Schaefer and his Struntje Light team came on strong toward the end of the regatta and closed things out by getting the gun in Race 10. Struntje Light came off the starting line in second-to-last place within the 15-boat fleet and really had to battle to get back into contention.
"We had a terrible start, but the crew did a really good job of not giving up," Schaefer said. "What gave us a chance to win the race was the second run. We were on the correct side of the course and passed a lot of boats."
Ray Davies called tactics aboard Struntje Light, which overtook Flash Gordon 6 to secure fifth place in the overall standings. Schaefer posted two bullets and six Top 5 finishes during the regatta.
"It appears we have taken a step forward. We continue to have a couple bad races that hurt us, but overall I am very pleased with the way we are sailing," he said. "I would like to say that the competition level of this regatta was very high. The Corinthian boats are all getting better and better, which is good for the class."
Skipper Rick Goebel and the Insanity crew once again set the pace in the Corinthian Division, posting a second and a pair of thirds in totaling 74 points. White Knight (Zoltan Katinszky) was runner-up among the eight Corinthian boats.
"Our boat speed was very good and the crew did a great job of getting us around the corners," said Goebel, who also topped the Corinthian Division at the Midwinter Championship. "We have a pretty fast boat and we are improving as a team every time we go out on the water."
It was reported in Friday's press release that Blade 2 was the only Corinthian boat to win a race on the International Circuit during the current two-year run on the West Coast. That is not the case as skipper Lloyd Clark and the Voodoo Chile crew posted a pair of first place finishes en route to winning the Corinthian Division at last year's West Coast Championship.
The Farr 40 Class Association would like to thank Race Day sponsors North Sails and Quantum Sail Design Group, our Official Hotel 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. For complete results http://www.yachtscoring.com