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Sailing - New England - December

R.I. boat wins North Americans

As Hurricane Earl pounded the East Coast, Jim Richardson's Barking Mad was doing the same thing to the Farr 30 fleet that was racing in the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association's Annapolis Race Week and competing for the class' North American title.

The remains of a hurricane made for some good hard sailing off Annapolis.

At 13 strong, the Farr 30s were one of 18 classes participating in the Labor Day weekend regatta, marking the second consecutive year that the class held its North American championship in conjunction with Annapolis Race Week.

"Earl gave us beautiful weather," says Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Calif., the Farr 30 International Class president. "It was the four most beautiful days I've ever seen in Annapolis. We were afraid the first day would be cancelled, but the humidity went away and it was gorgeous."

The Farr 30s were the only class scheduled to sail on Sept. 3, and in four races Richardson of Newport, R.I., and his ace tactician Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, the 2008 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, ensconced themselves at the top of the fleet with finishes of 1-2-2-1. While Richardson had not competed in the class for the last two years, he had spent that time racing his Farr 40 with the same core crew.

"I know the program [Barking Mad] and the players and they are very good," says Bodo von der Wense of Wayne, Pa., who is the 2009 Farr 30 North American champion, and skipper of Turbo Duck, who explained that Barking Mad's out-of-the-gate dominance was no surprise to the fleet. After the first day of racing, the team on Turbo Duck, which had not sailed together since April, was 21 points behind Barking Mad and that significantly reduced the chances of von der Wense repeating as the class' North American champion.

Cup stars shine at Hall of Fame induction

Harbour Court, New York Yacht Club's on-the-water clubhouse in Newport, R.I., set the scene as more than 650 guests, including many legendary America's Cup sailors, witnessed the induction of six new members - Simon Daubney, Warwick Fleury, Murray Jones, Dean Phipps, Mike Drummond (all of New Zealand) and Halsey Herreshoff of Bristol, R.I. - into the Hall of Fame.

Master of ceremonies Gary Jobson brought Cup legends Ted Turner, Dennis Conner, Russell Coutts and Malin Burnham to the stage to introduce the inductees, share anecdotes and discuss the importance of the America's Cup Hall of Fame. New Zealand broadcaster PJ Montgomery, renowned for his America's Cup coverage, recounted the careers of Daubney, Fleury, Jones and Phipps.

"I came up with this idea that it would be a good idea to go up to the jumpers or well up the mast and have a look for the breeze," says Jones, recalling his first America's Cup experience in 1995. "The last 15 years, I've regretted having come up with that idea, although sometimes it's actually quite nice to get off the deck and away from these guys."

Acknowledging what an honor it was for him to be there, Daubney made some of the most humorous and touching remarks of the evening.

"I was lucky I was around at the very end of 12 Metre sailing and I got to sail with wire sheets and bolt cutters," he says. "Kids today they just don't get to do that stuff. The good thing for sailing in the America's Cup, for a person like me who is uneducated, is you get to sail and work with a lot of really smart people."

This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters section of the December 2010 issue.