Finns Rally at the 2nd annual Miami Sailing Week

The Miami Sailing Week, a fixture of the Biscayne Bay winter sailing season, provided three days with eight quality windward-leeward races organized by a cracker-jack on-the-water race committee that managed to keep the starting line and windward legs fair, and wisely abandoned the first race when winds of 30 knots with  a 40-degree wind shift brought on by a squall darkened the sky and blasted through the fleet on its way to the first weather mark.

Then the wind settled into a moderate offshore breeze from the west and four races with multiple lead changes, lots of shifts and catpaws, and nice waves downwind made for some really contested racing both upwind and downwind.
Day 2 and 3 of the event brought light offshore, shifty winds and sunny skies.

Not enough can be said about the “chamber-of-commerce brochure” excellence of the Miami weather this time of year.  It was warm in the 70-80’s both in the air and water. Sunny skies prevailed with some beautiful and inspiring cloud formations above green-blue tropical-like waters enclosed by the futuristic Miami downtown skyline, the mangrove-filled shores of the barrier islands, and the fine horizon of the bay’s opening to the ocean.  Sailing Biscayne Bay is a delight.

We had a great field of sailors in the regatta—Caio Gerassi, sailed Charles Heimler’s loaner  Devoti /Wilke/WB to six bullets with two second places.  Gerassi was recently recruited out of the Snipe fleet, but he sailed Finns in his younger days in Brazil.   Second in the regatta was Jack Jennings, who made the Miami Finn Fleet his sailing home this winter, taking a break from cold Chicago.  Jennings has sailed his Finn frequently at Luca Devoti’s Sailing Academy in Valencia and some regattas in Europe.  Both he and Gerassi, who match-raced most of the regatta,  have lots of time in the Starboat, as well.  They represent a younger-generation of Finn sailors now coming into boat.

Third-place went to Michael Parramore, (first master) who bought Steve Fucillo’s primo Pata B4 that was set-up for the 2008 Olympic Trials as part of a container of several Pata B4’s imported into the U.S. for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. He regularly-sails Jet 14’s, Thistles, and Lasers in the Annapolis area.

His cross-cut, Dacron sail that is made by Bremen Sails, looked crisp on his boat as well as on the 80’s Vanguard “club boat”, that long-time Miami sail-maker Tom Bremen brought up to speed and raced in the regatta.

And the Legend award went to Hans Claesson, 77 years old, who had a Finn in his youth in Sweden.  Hans has sailed his Petticrow Finn throughout Florida and at the 2019 Masters Worlds in Denmark. Despite a capsize during the squall, Hans continued through all the races.

In its second Finn fleet Miami Sailing Week installment, the number of registered boats went from four to ten, more than doubling the Miami fleet in a year.  This is through the enthusiastic promotion of the Finn and providing boats for the “try then buy” program.  With inclusion on the Coconut Grove Sailing Club regatta calendar, the fleet is now embedded in the Miami sailing community.

There are a spring and summer series at the club for those who are in town for those times.

Usually, the fleet travels to the Europe for the master’s worlds in May.  With the current public health uncertainty, the Master Worlds in the Netherlands is also an uncertainty for international travel.  The 2022 Master Worlds is scheduled for Helsinki, and after that the premier candidate is Iraklita, Greece, organized by our Greek friends of the Finn Master Worlds Kavala, in northern Greece near the country’s second city of Thessaloniki.

By Charles Heimler text/cell 510 365 6004

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Rodion Mazin