Finn sailors from across San Diego sailed on an amazing Southern California weekend on January 18-19 hosted by SDYC. Our home playground of the Coronado Roads gave us nearly Champagne conditions for the Finn on Saturday with 10-14 knots and light chop. Mike Entwistle was strong throughout the day with a 2-2-1 for the lead, followed closely by S/C Reiter and James Buley just behind. Your scribe found some speed upwind and wants to share that it was the new-to-him technique of droop hiking – all balled up over the rail the entire time vs. straight leg hiking. Turns out the benefit to staying over the rail is that you don’t shake the wind out of the sail each time you come in, and the same goes for the foils in the water. When the boat stands up in the light stuff, you first dump the outhaul to power up the sail plan, and/or raise the traveler a bit. Finn North American champion Darrel Peck helped with the idea last fall and it paid off nicely as the wheels were trued better than ever before (at least upwind). It’s certainly harder, but you sure get the benefit of having heaps less weather helm. It’s definitely like being a Star crew (not that I’m an expert there…) dipping in the water once in a while, but seemed worth it for the speed and height VMG trade-off.
Saturday night was the first-in-recent-memory SD Finn Fleet awards banquet hosted by Fleet Captain S/C Mike Dorgan. The venue, F&B, and company were spot on as a whole mess of trophies were awarded including the Spring Series win to S/C Mike Dorgan, Summer Series to Lee Hope, and Fall events to S/C Dorgan and others. Mike capped off the year by winning the coolest trophy you’ll see in the case this year – a replica of the power source from the Iron Man movies worn by the lead character and designed & built by James Buley. It even lights up! Your 2019 Finn Iron Man was no surprise – our Pied Piper for the Finn fleet sailed more than anyone and dominated just about every event he entered to boot, Staff Commodore Mike Dorgan. In 2019, a total of 43 Finn sailors competed for the Ironman Trophy-a record in SoCal! Afterward, the all-Finn band of Gary Mitchell (lead & vocals), Lee Hope (mouth organs), Rich Wright (bass) and Jim Hecht (skins) wailed away with a wonderful set to both Finn sailors, concerned onlookers, and active passersby. Lisa Reiter reminded the band of their encore, and arguably tightest song, Folsom Prison Blues by Mr. Cash, and all went away merrily into the rest of their evening plans.
Sunday’s forecast was weak and it started out just that way with 0-5kts out of everywhere. PRO and Dr./Dir. Alli Bell quietly calmed things down and found us 6-8kts out of 190 and away we went. NHYC Finn stalwart Robert Kinney came to town for the day and led the most important leg – the last, and won race one. James Buley took a perfectly timed flyer to the left on race two, leg two and sailed his way back into the game as the breeze slowly died. It was enough to pull out the win, followed by Lee Hope with your author in third. This charging finish pulled James into the top spot for the weekend and a well deserved weekend win to take the lead in the Iron Man standings for 2020! S/C Reiter 2nd, Entwistle 3rd.
Thanks again to every competitor and RC volunteer who made the weekend possible, and of course to great leadership by S/C Dorgan for building and keeping the SDYC Finn Fleet vibrant! There are boats available for loan/charter/sale, so pull on your big boy jammies (ladies are welcome too) and come hike with us in 2020.”
Finns sailing off Point Loma, San Diego, CA.
Photo by: Gary Adler