The 2020 Finn North American Championship was held December 17-20 at Coconut Grove Sailing Club in Miami Florida.
The first day saw winds in the upper teens, the second days in moderate strength, and the third day there was not enough wind to complete any races, although the adept and excellent race committee made two attempts but had to abandon both.
Luke Muller, who will represent the USA in the Finn at the Olympics in Tokyo, won all the races from Jack Jennings in second and Caio Gerassi in third.
Luke is from nearby Fort Pierce, and spend much of his early sailing career in Opti’s and Lasers on Biscayne Bay.
Jack Jennings, from Chicago, has sailed regattas in Europe and North America and is a champion in the Melges 24 and Star fleets.
Caio Gerassi, from Brazil, now works in Florida in the marine industry and is an avid Snipe sailor. When he lived in Brazil, he sailed against Jorge Zarif, the well-known Brazilian Olympian. This regatta was his first opportunity to sail the Finn since leaving Brazil.
Dave Martin, Rear Commodore of CGSC and a regatta organizer, claimed fourth.
A.J. Pereira, the sole 20 something in the field, who sailed on the Lauderdale high school Laser team with Luke Muller, arrived from Atlanta, Georgia for the event. He earned a fifth.
Hans Claesson from St Petersburg, Florida, at 77 years old, was the standout legend. He sailed his almost new Petticrow in the event.
CGSC, led by club regatta-chair Andi Hoffman, went all out in organizing the event, bringing in a U.S. Sailing-certified PRO and providing as regatta gifts two shirts, a duffel bag, and a vanity pack.
The event was sponsored by AOR booms—the Miami distributor Fabiano Vivacqua sailed in the regatta and has AOR booms available for purchase. The event was also sponsored by Cran Sailing, which supplies Finn equipment and logistics support.
Luke Muller was hard-pressed by the challengers in the lighter air races, but once the pumping flag flew, he won races by over 100 meters, a testament to his training, equipment selection, and skillful progression.
Luke was challenged by Dave Martin, an accomplished Starboat crew, who is fairly new to the Finn, in one race. Dave led the light air, double windward-leeward race, all the way until Luke passed him in the last 50 yards before the finish.
In the past two years, the Miami Finn fleet has grown from 3 boats to nearly a dozen, providing loaners and storage to experienced sailors keen on the Finn. This effort has led to several boats being sold to new prospects who have decided to join the fun.
Long-time Miami sailmaker, Tom Bremen (145 pounds) has joined the fleet and has mastered the art of making sails from Dacron, which have proven to be fast for lighter sailors.
Coach Larry Suter has also used the fleet loaner to sail in this regatta. He also weighs in on the lighter side and is having success with the Dacron sails. Larry has coached scores of the world and national champions in several classes.
The Miami Finn Fleet will be hosting its Saturday club races through the winter at Coconut Grove Sailing Club (google the schedule) and also the three-day Miami Sailing Week in March staged at Regatta Park.
The club has mastered conducting a “socially-distanced” regatta with meetings by Zoom and CDC recommended guidelines in the boat park. Outdoor dining is permitted on its open-air deck, and people comply with masking rules.
If you can get here this winter, you’ll be very pleased with the conditions to sail your Finn. Hope to see you soon!
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