Defending Champions Team Farrar, representing Fishers Island Yacht Club, won the 2018 International One Design World Championship in an exciting series that took place from 26 August to 1 September, 2018 in Stenungsund, Sweden.
Thirteen boats did battle over five days of racing, representing Sweden, Norway, Canada, Bermuda and the United States. Team Werdiger (Nantucket) earned their Second Place finish followed by hometown heroes Team Ristorp (Sweden #1) and Team Sandahl (Sweden #2) in Third and Fourth Places, respectively. Team Van Voorhis (Fishers Island #2) rounded out the Top Five.
The Racing Situation
The fleet of IODs assembled by IOD Fleet Sweden and Norway were in our experience top-notch and well-cared for, with every effort made to keep the fleet mechanically equal. The racing area was south of Stenungsund Segelsällskap in the Hakefjorden, with the island of Tjörn to the west (on which many of the competitors were staying) and the Swedish mainland to the east. Courses were Windward/Leewards, three or four times around. Current effect was minor compared to the oscillating wind cycles. The water was average to flat, but a nice chop could begin to pile up when the breeze started kicking. The racing, when there was wind, was everything you could ask for in a World Championship.
Monday, Day One. Races 1 & 2.
The morning started under leaden skies with an early autumn chill nipping at the neck and ankles. A steady breeze of 15-20 knots, gusting to 25, started at the dock and followed us out to the course, making for great racing that challenged everyone’s heavy weather skills. There was a lot of action to keep the photo boats busy—Team Norway death-rolled, spinnakers went up sideways, and boats were filled with water (the appropriate way: by Acts of God–or physics, depending on your viewpoint).
It was a promising start to the Worlds and Team Nantucket wasted no time in putting up two bullets. Team Chester took full advantage of their six-person crew in the breeze and chalked up two 2nds. Team Farrar (FIS1) continued the twin act by notching two 3rds while Team Van Voorhis (FIS2) and Team Sandahl (SWE2) traded 4s and 5s to round out the top 5 on Day One. Photo Credit: Björn Wahlström.
Tuesday, Day Two. Races 3 & 4.
In a bit of foreshadowing, the day started with sirens and racing cars as emergency vehicles sped across the Stenungsöbron to the scene of a crash that closed the highway leading to the yacht club. The AP was raised on land as several competitors were stuck in traffic. Around mid-morning the AP was lowered, and the fleet was literally nudged out to the course by several of the HBI crash boats in what one competitor likened to ‘Swedish Bocce’.
Conditions were challenging due to a light 1-4 knot breeze that died and filled in several times during racing to the familiar and age-old frustration of many. In conditions very similar to Fishers Island Sound, Team Farrar picked up a 1st and 2nd Place while fellow Fishers Island Team Voorhis took 2nd and 4th. In conditions very unlike their native San Francisco, Team Manning had a great race result with two 3rds. Team Schoeder (NEH II) saved Tuesday’s second race from abandonment by crossing the finish line 1st with less than 10 minutes left on the 150-minute Time Limit.
According to the Sailing Instructions, three races were to be sailed on Tuesday, but the wind had other ideas so the Race Committee sent the jubilant fleet in to the dock. Once ashore, the fleet voted to cancel the lay day and sail one race (Race 5) before the afternoon’s social event in order to keep on schedule for getting in 10 races. © 2018 Michael McNamara. All Rights Reserved.
A Redress, and a Re-Opening
However, the day was not without controversy. In their enthusiasm to get racing underway, the Race Committee failed to wait the full 90 minutes after the land AP was lowered to begin the starting sequence for the day’s first race (Race 3). As the sequence started, Nantucket, Chester, Northeast Harbor II and Manhattan were caught upwind of the line in a dying breeze and were unable to make it to the start on time.
At the conclusion of racing, the human equivalent of sirens and speeding emergency vehicles raced back and forth across the Stenungsund Segelsällskap parking lot as the aggrieved competitors filed paperwork with the protest committee. Ultimately, the four protesting teams were unsuccessful in throwing out the results of Races 3 and 4. However, they were awarded redress for Race 3. Initially, the Protest Committee decided to award them scores based on an average of their finishes in Races 1 & 2 only—giving Nantucket and Chester a 1st and a 2nd –the same as Team Farrar and Team Van Voorhis, who had physically finished in 1st and 2nd. This did not sit well with the rest of the fleet.
Following the Protest Committee’s decision, another request for redress was filed by several competitors on Wednesday morning to reopen Tuesday’s decision of the Protest Committee. After agreeing to reopen the Protest, the Protest Committee agreed that the previous method of calculating Redress was not fair to all competitors, as required by the International Racing Rules. Revising their decision, the Protest Committee subsequently awarded the four aggrieved parties the average of their scores for all races through Thursday. While this was a fair resolution, it added a cumbersome layer of complication and confusion for those compiling scores onshore—and for those following the action at home.
Wednesday, Day Three. Race 5.
Morning came, and it brought with it a stiff cold breeze right from the start. Perfect conditions for sailing on the Hakefjorden. Team Chester continued an impressive outing and took the day’s bullet, finishing in front of Team Farrar and Team Ristorp, who continued to sail a very consistently good regatta. With the breeze continuing to build, the competitors reluctantly sailed in, uncertain that they would see breeze this strong again.
The good news was yes, they would see it again.
The bad news was that they would have to wait until Friday to do so.
Cruise to Käringön
The highlight of the week, socially, was Wednesday’s cruise around Tjörn to Käringön, a small island dotted with picturesque fishing cottages and a truly delightful restaurant, Peterson’s Krog. The food was other worldly. The Swedish teams entertained the rest of the fleet the firsthand accounts of the Tjörn Runt and their experiences sailing through the tight cuts between the islands in 30 knots of breeze. This video of the carnage made the rounds many times and inspired a newfound respect for our Scandinavian counterparts—as well as some suspicions about their sanity. © 2018 Michael McNamara. All Rights Reserved.
Thursday, Day Four. Race 6, 7 & 8.
The breeze was up and down for most of the day, and it took a toll on the fleet and consolidated the leaders. Team Farrar, Team Werdiger, and Team Van Voorhis sailed their throw-outs while putting up top three finishes in between. Sweden’s Team Sandahl (3/7/1) and Team Ristorp (2/3/6) put together a strong late push for the Winner’s Podium. Unfortunately, after hitting all the right shifts the first three days, Team Chester had a rough day of it—an experience shared at one point or another by everyone in the fleet this regatta.
At the conclusion of Thursday’s racing, the redress averages were finalized and the stage was set for the final day of racing. With throw-outs, the standings were: Team Farrar (15 pts) in First with a small lead over Team Werdiger (21 pts). Team Van Voorhis (27 pts), Team Ristorp (30 pts) and Team Sandahl (32 pts) were in the hunt for a top podium finish.
All the competitors had the fire and skill to win, now all that was needed was the wind—and maybe some luck.
Friday, Day Five. Races 9 & 10.
Breeze on! The Sailing Gods heard our prayers and answered with a heavy Northerly breeze rifling down under a steel slate sky. It was cold and everyone was bundled up in their Mustos and wool hats for the final day of racing. Faces were hardened in determination. It was Team Farrar’s to lose—and everyone else’s to gain. All Team Farrar needed to do was to get a clean start in the first race, sail smart, and go fast. Staying 6 points ahead of Nantucket would be good, too.
Of course, that was not what happened.
Team Farrar had a disaster of a start and got pinned under the pack. Eventually they were able to get some room to tack—but found themselves ducking the entire fleet as Team Nantucket rounded the windward mark far, far ahead in First Place. But instead of giving in, Team Farrar dug in and began to work their way back. It was a four-lap Windward/Leeward, so they had some racetrack to work with, but not much.
Each upwind they picked up one boat, each downwind 2-3 more, until they had fought their way up through the fleet from last to 4th place at the final windward mark—rounding overlapped on Team Nantucket’s hip and headed for the finish. Team Farrar and Werdiger went at it tooth-and-nail that last downwind, and in the melee allowed two boats to pass them. In the end, Nantucket finished 5th and Fishers finished 6th. Winning the race was none other than Penny Simmons, followed by the familiar faces of Team Ristorp, Team Murphy and Team Sandahl in 2/3/4. For Team Farrar it was a remarkable comeback from Last Place to relinquish only one point to Nantucket.
The final race of the World Championship saw Penny Simmons in the lead again, finishing another World Championship in his storied career with two consecutive bullets. Team Ristorp capped their Worlds with a 2nd in the last race, moving them up to Third overall. Team Sandahl made their final two races count and moved up to Fourth overall, while Team Van Voorhis slid back to Fifth. And finally, this time, it was Team Werdiger’s turn to comeback from a less-than-ideal start—but it was not enough to unseat a consistent Team Farrar that started well and never looked back. Team Farrar finished the race in 3rd, sealing their series victory and winning their third World Championship as a team in four years.
About the Champions
Team Farrar is made up of Jonathan Farrar at the helm, Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar calling tactics, Kevin Wypychoski trimming main, Mike McNamara trimming jib and spinnaker, and Kevin Gillman on the foredeck. They have been sailing their IOD, the Zallee (named after Jonathan’s seafaring grandmother), for the last five years out of the Fishers Island Yacht Club.
“We focused on sailing a clean regatta. Don’t get me wrong, we are super-competitive, but our program balances that high-intensity with having fun,” says Jonathan, “That’s what keeps us together when things don’t go our way on the course. That, and marriage.”
Isabelle continues: “It was really important for us to keep in tune with the wind shifts; Gillman provides invaluable input on what’s happening with the breeze. Also paramount was starting with clean air away from the pack. Because the upwinds were short it was important not to get pinned and to be able to control your fate—but that’s not always how it works out.”
“Isabelle does an amazing job seeing the race develop on the water and is constantly revising the game plan in real-time. It’s really the difference maker for us,” adds Gillman.
“Our trimmers Mike and Wyp work together really well to keep the boat balanced and moving quickly. The speed they generate makes it possible for us to make good decisions,” says Isabelle. “And on the bow, Gillman keeps up with every turn that we throw at him.”
“We spend a lot of time practicing, not just during our Saturday race series, but whenever we have the chance,” Farrar explains, “I don’t care if you’ve been sailing these things for 30 years, you need time in the boat to keep things synchronized, so things are automatic. Gotta hand it to my team—they put in a lot of hours—they really earned this. This was a really special win, for all of us.”
Jonathan and Isabelle are married, live in the Boston area, and have two daughters, Maya and Celeste, and one Boykin Spaniel, Slocum. Mike McNamara and his wife Kristi are settling into their new home in Copenhagen, Denmark with their daughter, Molly. Kevin Wypychoski lives in Westerly, RI and Warren, VT with his girlfriend Caryn. Kevin Gillman lives with his wife Birgit in Madison, CT.
We would like to thank IOD Fleet Sweden and Stenungsund Segelsällskap for organizing a terrific event and would like to extend a special thank you to Olof, Monika and Anna Bondesson who opened their home to us and made us feel like family while we were in Sweden.
Thank you to all the competitors, organizers, judges and crash boats for a thrilling week.
See you in Marblehead! – Michael Patrick McNamara.