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Deneen Demourkas Gets Back in the Groove

Deneen Demourkas Gets Back in the Groove

Sixteen years of top-flight international one-design racing netted Deneen Demourkas and her Groovederci programme four Mumm 30 North American Championships and three consecutive World Championship titles. But when the pressure of her relentless campaign schedule took its toll two years ago, a burned-out Deneen turned her back on sailboat racing and headed for the golf course, vowing never to return. Now however, she is back on the water and has a renewed enthusiasm for racing. We asked Deneen to tell us in her own words what made her put an end to her self-imposed exile from the sport. 

I awoke to a bright blue sky, a gentle breeze filling my hotel room and vibrant tropical waters in shades of blue and green reflecting off the walls. It took me a moment to remember where I was and why I was there. 

It was March of this year and I was in Bermuda to race an M32 catamaran for the first time. I had not raced a boat of any kind since December of 2014, after taking a much needed hiatus from sixteen years of non-stop competition in three separate one-design classes across the US and Europe.

Managing such an intense racing programme is akin to herding cats a great deal of the time and that had taken its toll on me. When I made the decision to stop I found it effortless to walk away from competitive sailing. Golf became my new best friend.

A couple of months into my sailing hiatus one of my good friends, longtime main trimmer and golf buddy, Luke Molloy, rang me and suggested I think about trying out an M32 catamaran. 

Having recently sailed one, he briefed me on the rapidly growing class, the simplicity of the of the boats, the manageable crew size (4 to 5) and most importantly, the fun factor. 

“Deneen, these boats are fast!” he enthused down the phone line.

I promised Luke I would give the M32 some thought, hung up the phone and headed out the door for yet another important date with a golf ball. 

It’s fair to say I didn’t exactly leap at the opportunity to return to sailboat racing. In fact, it took a couple of months before I could even give the idea any serious thought. When I eventually got around to it, I sat down and identified the three things that would be needed to get me back into sailboat racing.

Number one, it had to be easy. In my book, easy means that you don’t have an entourage of seven to twelve crew members (on a few previous occasions we had as many as 15 or more with their extended families and a chef - hence the ‘herding cats’ reference earlier). Easy also means that... READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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