Deneen Demourkas – Rescuing the Farr 30 class
Published on November 3rd, 2010
(Novemeber 3, 2010) When the Mumm 30 emerged in the mid-nineties, it was quickly embraced. The boat was sweet to sail, and an international one design class soon grew. However, the next decade was not as kind. The class lost its Mumm branding, renaming it the Farr 30 after its designer Bruce Farr. But more importantly, the class lost its one-design mojo. The nail in the coffin was when the 2009 World Championship was cancelled.
But with approximately 200 boats worldwide, class loyalists were not going without a fight. Led by new class president Deneen Demourkas (USA), an owners group took over the class management in December 1, 2009, and took on the task of bringing it back to life. Why bother, you ask? Demourkas explains:
“The boat is a classic, period. Exceptional performance and durability at an affordable price (if you can find one!), easy to trailer, rig and launch with an annual sail limitation to help keep costs down. Oh, and the adrenalin rush of sailing downwind in 30+ knots and pulling off a jibe! It’s hard to compete with.”
Demourkas has just returned from the 2010 Farr 30 World Championship held in Hyeres, France last week, and reflects on the past year. “This Class was left with nothing and we are operating on a shoestring yet, have achieved more in twelve months than the previous management accomplished over the last five years.
“Within the first month we established our banking and business relationships, transferred all accounts and insurance. We updated our website, calendars, documents, contacts, forms and submissions. We added website features to conveniently serve our current owners and prospective class members. We held a World Council meeting and another meeting with the North American Fleet Captains. Within two months we had reached an agreement to host our 2010 World Championship (there was no World Championship in 2009).
“Year to date, all the Farr 30 Owners participating in Farr 30 One Design events in North America and Australia are paid members of the International Class, with membership up more than 70% from 2009 thanks to the hard work of our Regional Fleet Captains. We hosted a North American Championship in September that went from 6 boats in 2008/09 to 16 boats this year (would have been 17 had one owner not totaled his tow vehicle the week before). There was a Canadian Nationals in Vancouver at the end of September that had not been held in several years with 8 boats participating, and all but one owner were new members of the Class.
“Growth among regional fleets across North America, Europe and Australia is happening again. We have reached an agreement for our European Championship to be held during Kieler Woche in 2011. A never before seen Swedish fleet has sprung to life. The long alienated French Class has agreed to come back into the fold of the International Class. We advertise! And the list goes on. All of this work, with the exception of one part time employee, was being done by the Owners for the Owners.
On what were the keys to inspire interest again, Demourkas believes that people just wanted to believe again. “I have learned that owners want open communication, information, assistance, flexibility and, to know that someone is there for them, that they are truly represented by the International Class Association. We have achieved that through keeping our website up to date, as well as creating a Facebook and Twitter page (thanks to owner/Fleet Captain, Patrick Lindblom of Sweden), working closely with our dedicated Regional Fleet Captains on events schedules, and by physically representing the International Class Association by being at events, sponsoring socials and meeting our wonderful group of enthusiastic owners.
“Everyone in the Fleet has my contact information and if they have a question, I’ll do my best to answer it. If I don’t know the answer, I will put them in touch with someone who does. The prospects are great with a 70% increase in membership over last year, active Regional Fleets, a very successful summer of racing and the 2011 Worlds in the U.S. next year have people excited about sailing their 30’s again!”
Photos courtesty of James Boyd, Jean-Marie Liot, Dan Phelps, and Stagg Yachts.
Class website: www.farr30.org