Gulf Yachting Association Championship

The GYA Finn championship contested in conjunction with Buccaneer’s Spring regatta last weekend was one of the best regattas we’ve held in a while. The challenging conditions truly tested the skills of the 10 boat Finn fleet and taught many lessons to the less experienced finnsters. For example, one who shall remain nameless (JB) learned the reason why you must tie your “Jesus knot” in the right spot or go swimming. Also learned in that same incident is why most masters have some stirrups tied in their boats to make it easier to get back in after a refreshing swim. Also learned by some is to make sure your bungees holding your mast chocks in place are in good shape or you lose those chocks when you go swimming. The good news is that no masts were broken and no permanent damage was done to the fleet. A quick look at the standings showed way too many alphabet scores and not enough numerical ones. But that is what is great about sailing in general and finning in particular, you are always learning.

Another quick look at the scores showed how competitive the front of the fleet was, 2 points separated the podium finishers. In fact, the regatta win came down to the last second at the last finish. To recap, after Saturday’s two breezy races ( 15-20 kt sea breeze with big waves ), yours truly had a 2,1, with a one-point lead over John Dane the elder and 2 points over Thomas Duffy the younger. Sunday was a big change in conditions with the first race in maybe 8kts from the east. Thomas put the hammer down finding some great pressure from the left for a big win leaving JD and me picking up second and third respectively which then left a three-way tie between us all. The second race was pretty much the same conditions but now with JD winning, Thomas second, and I stuck in third, leaving JD in the lead by 2 over me and 1 over Thomas. With my excellent math skills still working, I knew I had to win the last race and put a boat between John and me to win, a tall order. However, the wind gods smiled upon me and the big sea breeze came back. At the last weather mark, I’m leading with Thomas in second and JD in third, and my defense of the illustrious GYA championship looking good…or was it? With the big wind back on, I needed to focus on sailing and as Thomas held a good lead over JD, I felt no need to watch them closely. However, as I approached the finish, I heard, not saw, but heard a boat smashing through the waves on a full-on plane and I knew who it was. The question was could JD make up the distance to Thomas? They come down to the finish neck and neck, I stopped after finishing to watch this battle. They cross the line, whistles go beep, beep very quickly. I can’t tell who won for sure but I had a sneaking suspicion that Dane had done it. And you know the story, he did. So for the regatta Dane 1, me 2, and Thomas 3. Congrats John Dane III, 2021 GYA champ!

While I did not successfully defend my championship, I can honestly say that I enjoyed that competition more than any in recent memory. Yes, my body is sore but I am so stoked that we all had so much fun in true Finn conditions, warm sun and water, big breeze, and great camaraderie. Thanks to all competitors and especially the race committee and PRO Commodore Hunter for a job well done!

John and Thomas had so much fun, they left their boats so they can do some sailing with us. So this week, we are back to the usual schedule Thursday at 5, Friday 4, Saturday 3, and Sunday racing at 2. There is some big breeze for tomorrow and then slowly backing off over the following days. I’m definitely on for tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday.

Who else is sailing and when?

By Michael Mark


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