San Diego, CA (September 14, 2020) Twenty-five Finn’s flocked to San Diego Yacht Club this weekend for two days of the 2020 Finn Pacific Coast Championship. Among those sailors were those new to the fleet, those known for the fleet, and many active, enthusiastic competitors excited to be out on the water in their single-handed boats. Seven races were sailed out in the Pacific Ocean on the popular course of Coronado Roads.
In first place was Charlie Buckingham with 12 points. In second place was Phil Ramming with 23 points. Taking third place was James Buley with 26 points.
Charlie Buckingham, coming to San Diego from Newport Harbor Yacht Club, credits his 11 point leading win to familiar winds and consistent sailing. “The conditions were very similar to Newport Harbor…no more than 10-12 knots at the most. The direction was really consistent as well, which made it easy to figure out. I’m new to the boat, so I kept my head down and tried to work with the controls. If it was a windy event, the results might have been really different!”
Also sailing this weekend was SDYC S/C Mike Dorgan…a typical “top-of-the-fleet” finisher. Dorgan has been essential in growing the Finn fleet in Southern California and is one known to always put the Finn first, however, this weekend his priorities were family and fleet members. Dorgan put this race second when son, Matt Dorgan, was seeing boat troubles and had to make his way back into the Club – at the cost of his scores. Not only did Dorgan forfeit some of Saturday’s racing for his son, but also was found assisting another sailor in the fleet who had capsized on Sunday.
“I was looking for Matt during the race and when I finished I didn’t see him, so I got worried and sailed in to look for him. It’s not everyday you have a chance to be a dad. On Sunday, one of the new guys in the fleet capsized sailing downwind. Jeff Johnson (Waterfront Director) and I sailed out to him, I dove in and helped flip it back up,” Dorgan explained.
“I’m the fleet organizer, running the regatta, and feel like I have a responsibility to members of the fleet and the boats we loan out. It’s been a lot of work, especially with Covid-19 going on, but we have a great thing going. The Finn fleet is growing and we’re having fun.”
A new sailor, David Balfour, recently joined the fleet and left Sunday night with the Fun Award – an award that Dorgan created for the half-fold of the fleet. “It’s always great when your last race is your best race, and that was the case for me,” Balfour started. “The last race saw lots of wind and hiking and getting some tips from my fellow competitors was also helpful.”
The Finn fleet is fortunate during the Covid-19 pandemic to be able to race in their socially-distanced, single-handed boats. However, the weekend didn’t look exactly like a typical Finn celebration. All pre and post racing socials were cancelled, and awards were given to the top finishers in a socially distanced setting.
“As more of the public is granted access to activities, likewise, sailing regattas are easing back…but still with a lot of austerity and cooperation from competitors while ashore. San Diego is still working through some unique crew restrictions from San Diego County for recreational boating that don’t appear anywhere else in California, but local sailors have largely complied. These singlehanded regattas are great that way. They’re safe, compliant and the competitors are all polite and thankful to be sailing,” expressed SDYC Waterfront Director Jeff Johnson.
“SDYC did a great job running the races as well as putting on the event in our current environment. It’s a lot of stress stepping up the plate like that to host an event and with so many of them being canceled, it was nice for the Club and the sailors alike to be able to have this regatta. Overall it was a success for everyone,” added Buckingham.
To view the results from the 2020 Finn Pacific Coast Championship, visit here.