"I thought I would have a heart attack on just about every leg today," said Demourkas. "Our positions changed constantly, and we went from the front to the back to the front quicker than I've ever seen in a race." Demourkas proved her competitive chops when she won her first World Title in San Francisco three years ago, becoming the first female skipper to ever win a keelboat one-design World Championship. And as of today, she's won three of them in a row; a feat never equaled in the nearly 20-year history of the prestigious Class.
The down-to-the-wire racing delighted spectators on the water as well as thousands watching via Facebook, especially when the regatta seemed over at the beginning of Race 10. "We thought Groovy had it when Barking Mad and Ramrod were both over the line early on the first race," said Groovederci coach and support crew John Demourkas. "That's when it got interesting." Despite their late start, Richardson and Jabin both passed Demourkas during the first run, though somehow the reigning champ found a way past both on the final leg, giving her a two point lead over the other two boats - which were tied. This set up a final race where Demourkas needed to finish no worse than two behind Richardson, and one behind Ramrod, to take the Championship crown.
Groovederci tactician Cam Appleton took the boat-end start, sailing once again to the back of the fleet while Barking Mad and Ramrod led the fleet to the left. Appleton kept his composure, bringing Demourkas past half the fleet on the first run, rounding two behind Barking Mad. At the same time, Ramrod sent it hard to the left, hoping lifetime Newport sailor Moose McClintock's local knowledge would help them find something special to win the championship. For a few minutes it looked like he would - until it didn't. Barking Mad's Terry Hutchinson explained what happened from the far right perspective. "We were wound up so hard on port as we rounded that we knew it had to come back to the right," said Hutchinson. "When it did, it came back strong, and our group of three - Barking Mad, Groovy, and Topas - were leading the race by a big margin with just one leg to go." Barking Mad led all the way to the finish, but it wouldn't be enough to win the Championship.
Appleton explains. "After rounding just behind Jim we were running through all the possible points scenarios in our heads and wondering if Barking Mad was going to take it to us, but with the rest of the fleet so far back, there just wasn't anything Terry could do to make up the difference," he said. Realizing this, Hutchinson gave the Groovederci team the 'thumbs up' halfway down the run, acknowledging his team's defeat with the kind of sportsmanship Barking Mad is known for. "Hats off to the Groove; those guys sailed a brilliant race, and losing to such a great group of people makes it hurt a little less."
Despite being soaked in champagne and sea water from the obligatory victory dunk in the basin at Sail Newport, Demourkas shared her gratitude for a job well done. "In all my sailing I don't know any Class that requires more of a team effort, and my team is just incredible," she said. "Without the perfect prep and logistics work we get from Rob Huntingford we'd never have won even one of these, and the same goes for my racing crew of Cam Appleton, Darren Jones, Flip Werheim, Andy Hudson, Kate McKay, and Zack Maxam. I love them all."
2013 World Championship Standings - Final
1 - Groovederci - Deneen Demourkas - 36 Points
2 - Barking Mad - James Richardson - 37 Points
3 - Ramrod - Rod Jabin - 40 Points
4 - Seabiscuit - Kevin McNeil - 51 Points
5 - Bliksem/Menace- Piet Taselaar - 59 Points