The event ran for four days (Thursday, Sept. 8 through Sunday Sept. 11) and featured courses for seven classes (IRC A, B, C, D J/105, J/120, Express 37) that showed off the four corners of San Francisco Bay, visually anchored by the Golden Gate Bridge to the west, Alacatraz Island in the middle, and Treasure Island and Bay Bridge to the East. An eighth class (Farr 30) topped off its world championship with a string of races on a “North Course” that was their racing home for the regatta’s entirety.
Spectators, too, were treated to the true beauty, emotion and power of sail when, before racing on Sunday, all boats paraded in honor of 9/11 victims, and for the finish, a colorful lineup of spinnakers roared past the stretch of land closest to Crissy Field, triggering cannon fire from the uppermost decks of nearby St. Francis Yacht Club where later six perpetual trophies as well as Rolex Oyster Perpetual Stainless Steel Submariners would be awarded to winners in six of the classes.
Atlantic Perpetual Trophy – Farr 30: With a world championship at stake, 12 Farr 30s had been sailing their own regatta within the regatta with unmatched intensity. Until today, Scott Easom’s (San Rafael, Calif.) Eight Ball had held at bay two fierce competitors—Jim Richardson’s (Boston, Mass.) Barking Mad and Deneen Demourkas’s (Santa Barbara, Calif.) Groovederci–throughout seven extremely windy races where wild wipeouts and sail blowouts were becoming commonplace. Yesterday, with only one race completed due to uber extreme (read gear-busting) conditions, Easom knew his foes would recharge, re-circle and move in for an attack today when the wind settled a bit.
Sure enough, Richardson moved into first after winning today’s first race and maintained his lead until the third race when, on the last leg, he fouled Rhonda Tolar’s (Corona Del Mar) Wild Thing after jibing too close and touching its spinnaker with his.
“It was an unforced error; we shouldn’t have been there,” said Richardson matter of-factly. “
The ensuing penalty turn cost him dearly. He finished 11th and fell to third, opening the door for Demourkas to take the overall lead and then secure it in the last race. Demourkas won after posting finish positions of 5-2-2-4 today, while Easom finished third overall, behind Richardson, on merit of his 8-4-4-7 today.
“Coming into today, I knew winning was a possibility, but we would need all four races,” said Demourkas. “In the first race, we were leading and hit the weather mark, so that wasn’t so good, but we did our penalty turn and managed to hold it all together. This is my ninth world championship in this boat; I’ve been a bride’s maid a few times, so I’ve paid my dues.” Demourkas, who is also the president of the Farr 30 class, explained that while a 30 footer might be considered small for the Rolex Big Boat Series, the St. Francis Yacht Club was “kind enough” to integrate them. “It shows their commitment to yachting to have us here and gave us a chance to show what the boat can do.” Demourkas said the boats are capable of performing in high winds but many of the owners here have not had precious time in the boat like she has had. “It was a little more nerve wracking,” she said of the high winds and her own constant jockeying for position, “but damn good racing!”