Marina del Ray, Calif. (July 20, 2015) – Race 5 of the Cal Cup provided a perfect example of why the Farr 40 class has survived and thrived for nearly two decades. It is one-design racing at its purest and the boats continue to be incredibly evenly matched, making crew work and tactics the key to success.
Upwind mark roundings during Hotel MdR Race Day were the tightest they have been in this regatta with the entire 13-boat fleet converging at the same time and no fewer than eight boats following bow to stern in procession.
“It has been a great regatta so far with very tight racing,” veteran owner Helmut Jahn said. “The second race today was very, very close. I am not allowed to look back during roundings, but I was told it was a real mess behind us. A lot of boats were coming into the mark at the same time. Some boats could not make the mark and there were a bunch of lee-bow situations.”
Jahn has been part of the class since the early days and is now racing his sixth boat named Flash Gordon. The Chicago-based architect can remember times when pileups at marks led to crashes and was impressed that there were none on Thursday.
“I think the professionalism of the skippers and tacticians is outstanding and everyone is very respectful and careful,” he said.
Skipper Alberto Rossi and the Enfant Terrible team remained atop the standings for the second straight day after three more races were held in 8 to 12 knot southwest winds on the Pacific Ocean. The Italian team continued its consistent sailing by sandwiching a first and a second around a fourth and now has a low score of 12 points.
Voodoo Chile, skippered by Andrew Hunn of Tasmania, moved from third to second in the overall standings after posting a score line of 3-2-6 on Thursday. Voodoo Chile trails Enfant Terrible by nine points.
Flash Gordon 6 had a very good day and gained a place in the standings as a result. Jahn and crew closed the day with consecutive third place results after finishing fourth in the opening race. Kelvin Harrap, a New Zealand native with multiple Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup appearances under his belt, has come aboard Flash Gordon 6 as tactician for this regatta.
“Kelvin and I are new to each other and it always takes a couple races to communicate properly,” Jahn said. “I thought we communicated much better today. We also identified some things from yesterday that we were able to improve. We positioned ourselves much better and were more coordinated on the downwind legs.”
Jahn said the crew was feeling “very, very good” about its performance on Thursday, but noted that it still had room for improvement. “We need to sail another notch better. We had the lead today and lost it. When we get out front, we need to stay there,” he said.
Groovederci is one boat that has shown it has the speed to win the regatta and just needs a bit more consistency. Skipper John Demourkas steered the Santa Barbara boat to a race victory for the second straight day, but holds fifth in the standings due largely to a ninth suffered in Race 3 on Wednesday. John Kostecki, another veteran professional with both America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race experience, is calling tactics for Demourkas.
Behind Enfant Terrible, there is a real logjam with just nine points separating the second and sixth place boats. Struntje Light, under the direction of German skipper Wolfgang Schaefer, stands sixth with 30 points.
San Diego skipper Rick Goebel and the Insanity team increased its lead from three to 10 points in the Corinthian division after notching three more single-digit results. Greg “Twister” Tawaststjerna is tactician while Carrie Wiley is navigator on Insanity, which has placed no worse than eighth through six races.
Twisted, skippered by Tony Pohl of Alamo, California, has finished ninth or better in five races and remains second among the seventh Corinthian entries. Norman Davant, one of the founding partners of Quantum Sail Design Group and now a key figure with Sail California, is calling tactics for Pohl.
Skipper Ray Godwin and the Temptress team posted a pair of great results on Thursday, placing sixth in Race 4 then following with a fifth in Race 5. Godwin, a resident of Huntington Beach, California, has some regular crew members competing in the Transpac Race and had to do some shuffling as a result. David Voss, who used to own a Farr 40 named Piranha, has made a seamless transition from main trimmer to tactician.
“We felt like yesterday was our practice day because we didn’t have a chance to get out on the water before the regatta got underway,” Godwin said. “We have people in new positions and the first day was a chance for everyone to get acclimated. Today, we were on pace and right up there with the lead pack. We saw an awful lot of boat names that we always read about in the paper.”
Godwin has three female crew members and said they are all doing a fantastic job. There is not a single professional aboard and Godwin noted that makes it difficult to practice in advance of a major regatta such as this.
“I’m really fortunate to have a bunch of great sailors in my crew,” he said. “We enjoy sailing together and are having a lot of fun.”
Huckleberry3 has the distinction of racing with the youngest crew member in the regatta. Kieran Shocklee, whose parents are members of host California Yacht Club, celebrated his 13th birthday on Wednesday by serving as the all-arounder for owner Jim Murrell of Torrance, California.
Shocklee, who was introduced to Farr 40 racing by Blade II owner Mick Shlens, has been grinding the spinnaker during downwind legs then gone below to squirrel the kite after douses. “I’m just trying to work really hard and help out in any way I can,” the youngster said. “These are really fast boats and I’m learning a lot.”
Murrell said he takes every opportunity to introduce junior sailors to big boat racing and was more than happy to add Shocklee to the crew. “We needed a 10th person and Kieran has a great attitude. He’s doing a fantastic job and has been a pleasure to have onboard.”
The Farr 40 class presented Shocklee with a Cal Cup button down shirt as a birthday present, but that paled in comparison to the greeting he received on Wednesday.
“There was a boat with about 12 young girls out on the course cheering for Kieran on his birthday. It was really something to see,” Murrell said.