sail-world.com -- Finn North American Championships - Racing for glory at Alamitos Bay
Finn North American Championships - Racing for glory at Alamitos Bay
Thu, 15 May 2014
We are halfway into a mad month of May and the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club is shifting gears from training Olympic sailing hopefuls to racing for Finn class glory Friday through Sunday.
It's the Finn North American Championships, with competitors' eyes on South America two years hence when Brazil is scheduled to host the 2016 Games.
The usual Memorial Day Regatta May 24-25 for various classes and the Laser class North American Championships June 12-15 follow a month-long training session for many of the 42 US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider campaigners currently polishing their world class talents in the Olympic classes with eyes on Rio de Janeiro.
The Finn fleet has at last count 19 entries from coast to coast and Canada, led by 2012 NA champion Greg Douglas from Toronto. The defending champion from 2013 would be Darrell Peck from Gresham, Ore., but he'll just be coaching this weekend.
'I planned on racing but I hurt my back doing something stupid,' he said. 'I was picking up one of those big plastic water bottles and twisted something. It laid me out flat for three weeks, so I'm coaching three of the Masters guys.'
In his absence, Peck likes Douglas' chances.
'He's been sailing smart and sailing fast,' Peck said.
Other podium prospects are 2012 U.S. champion Caleb Paine, a member of the Sperry Top-Sider group in training; local veteran Henry Sprague, third in the 2013 NAs; Philip Toth of Panorama City, Calif., and Erik Lidecis from nearby Huntington Beach who placed third among 286 boats in last year's Masters Worlds.
The schedule calls for as many as nine races over the three days in the greater Long Beach Harbor, starting at noon each day, conditions permitting.
The Finn dinghy, designed by Rickard Sarby in 1949 and first sailed in the 1952 Olympic Games at Helsinki, Finland, has been raced in every Olympics since as the longest enduring Olympic class. The two-man Star class is gone from the Games but the Finns sail on as the singlehander for heavyweights, while smaller people sail Lasers.
'I outgrew the Laser when I hit 185 pounds,' Peck said. 'The thing about a Finn is you can be fast from 200 to 255 pounds, which is where I'm at now. You just have to set up the boat differently.
'I was talking to a guy who jumped into Finns after trying to stay light enough to sail a Laser for years. As soon as he bought a Finn he changed the name to 'All You Can Eat.' '
Peck also is into special boat names.
'I've had 'Suicidal Tendencies' ... 'Lunatic Fringe.' You go downwind in big waves and big breeze in a Finn and it's nothing but exciting.'
Finn North American Championship
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club May 16-August 18, 2014
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