San Diego, CA (September 12, 2021) The Finn fleet has been extremely active in San Diego over the past two weeks with the San Diego Yacht Club hosting the Pacific Coast Championship (September 4-5) and most recently the Finn North American Masters Championship (September 10-12).
The Pacific Coast Championship featured 20 boats from as far away as Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Colorado. Jack Jennings on Pied Piper finished in first place with 10 points for the 5 race series. In second and third were Roland Fournier (2nd) on SurFinn and AJ Nosar (3rd) on Finn, both with 12 points.
“The top three boats were all within two points of each other. I was super happy and lucky to get the win. Thanks to Chris [Snow] for the quality coaching and running some training for the fleet on Thursday and Friday…it definitely made the difference for me, especially on the starting line where I felt very confident all weekend,” said Jennings.
Many Finn sailors were using the Finn PCCs as a warm-up to this weekend’s Finn North American Championship, sailed on the same course out on the Coronado Roads. One return sailor was Rob Coutts from Mission Bay Yacht Club. Coutts placed mid-fleet at the PCC and returned this weekend for the North American Masters finishing second on Beverley with 21 points. However, even those who came with practice could not compete with Gregg Morton on Pickle Dish.
Morton pulled into a solid lead as early as the first day of racing and never let up. Winning races 5 and 6 on Saturday and finishing second in race 7, Morton’s victory was confirmed. Morton earned the North American Masters title with a mere 11 points, finishing four out of eight races in first.
SDYC Staff Commodore Mike Dorgan commented on Morton’s success. “Competitors commented he seemed to have ‘another gear’ sailing upwind, sailing a couple of degrees higher and a couple of tenths of a knot faster. No one sailing this weekend could touch him. And putting an exclamation mark on his regatta, he sailed the last race (even though he already won the regatta) winning the last race and the overall Championship.”
“I just seemed to have a little more wheels than I’ve had in the past. I haven’t sailed in a Finn since last February and then just jumped into this regatta…so I impressed myself too. The conditions couldn’t have been more perfect and the Race Committee did a really fine job,” said Morton.
The fight for second place between Coutts and James Buley, who finished third on BWMwith 24 points, really came down to the final race. Coutts was able to stay ahead of Buley, finishing third in race eight. Buley was stuck in the middle of the fleet and finished the final race in eighth, allowing Coutts to take second overall.
The North American Master Championship allowed for one throw-out.
The conditions on the water this weekend were typical champagne San Diego sailing conditions. Winds ranged from 7-15 knots. A handful of legs were sailed with the “O Flag” flying, representing 10+ knots over the whole course and allowing sailors to use kinetics, like pumping and ooching over the white caps.
Waterfront Director Jeff Johnson was out on the course today keeping an eye on the conditions and the results. “The racing was tight all the way around the course. The boats separated by just feet at every mark with passing lanes both upwind and downwind. The competition was awesome to watch,” he said.
After the races, the sailors enjoyed daily off-the-water socials and camaraderie, a big part of the Finn fleet community. Today, September 12, they concluded the regatta with an awards ceremony.
The Finn fleet’s next return to SDYC will be for the Finn Fall Classic on November 13 and 14.
By Casey Coffin and Michael Dorgan