Rough ebb-against-tide waves and a constantly building breeze gave an emphatic welcome to the Farr 30 World Championship fleet in three action-packed races run by Principal Race Officer Hank Stuart.
Race 1 started shortly after 11:00 local time in less than 15 knots of wind, but the Bay's famous thermals built quickly to a recorded 30 knots before the end of the final race.
14-year-old Southern California sailor Roberto Stevens was still loaded with adrenaline 30 minutes after hitting the dock aboard Huckleberry 2
. "That was the craziest thing I've ever done, with boats going over left and right,"
said Stevens, the youngest sailor in this year's Worlds fleet. When asked if he was scared by the steep chop and powerful blasts funnelling past Angel Island, he laughed. "No way - I'm ready for more!"
skipper Jim Murrell was one of the few boats without a major wipeout during today's breezy downwind legs, and he attributed his comfort to knowledge he picked up during a cocktail party thrown by the Demourkas family last night. "A couple of top owners told me that they, too, had their heart in their throats in big conditions,"
said Murrell. "That gave me the confidence that I wasn't crazy, and I could sail just as hard as they do, and we're really happy with our results today."
Huckleberry sits in 8th place.
Pre-Worlds winner Groovederci (John Demourkas, Skipper) started the day with an emphatic victory, but difficulty with the waves on the downwinds led to two midfleet finishes, knocking them back to third place on the day. "We had some great moments and some not-so-great moments,"
said pitman Patrick Gavin-Brynes. "We'll try to forget the latter tonight and get back in the groove tomorrow."
Local rigger Scott Easom aboard 8-Ball sailed the most consistent day, with a 2-4-1 scoreline, including a brilliant final race that saw them pass both Groovederci (Deneen Demourkas) and 2nd place Barking Mad on the final leg to take the win. Trimmer Chris "Louie" Lewis attributes largely to Easom's skill at the helm. "Scott's just a joy to sail with in any class, and watching him pick his way downhill through the waves is just awesome,"
Louie said. He added that the new team is on a hugely steep learning curve with the Farr 30, and that every day, they "accumulate another mountain of knowledge" amongst such a competitive fleet.
8-Ball may have had been on fire on the racecourse today, but they were literally on fire on the way to the dock! "We've had some engine issues over the past few days, but we were a little surprised to see flames coming from the battery compartment on the way in,"
Louie said Apparently it was nothing a few sprays of a fire extinguisher couldn't solve, though the crew has a long night ahead of them rewiring the boat.
Racing continues today, with three more races scheduled under similar forecast conditions to today: Big breeze, clear skies, and big waves. The 2011 Farr 30 Championship runs through Sunday as part of the Rolex Big Boat Series.
Farr 30 Class Website