by Rich Roberts
Caleb Paine has his sights set on representing the U.S. in the 2016 Olympic sailing at Rio de Janeiro and is making friends along the way to help him get there.
Canada’s Greg Douglas (r.) beats American buddy Caleb Paine (l.) in Friday’s second race - Finn Class North American Championships 2014
One is Greg Douglas from Toronto, who won these Finn class North American championships at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club two years ago when he also represented Canada in the Olympics.
Caleb Paine (r.) hails Greg Douglas (c.) and Rob Hemming (l.) about their oversight - Finn class North American Championships 2014
He is now a training partner for Paine, and the relationship showed in painful conditions for the first of three days of the event that started Friday when Douglas led fellow Canadian Roy Hemming around the windward mark, with Paine in third place - but the first two neglected to round the white bulb offset mark before turning downwind.
Paine noticed their oversight and yelled to let them know about it as he rounded the bulb to move into first place, prompting Douglas and Hemming to scramble back to round properly.
Caleb Paine wins the first race Friday - Finn class North American Championships 2014
Why did Paine speak up?
'The nice thing to do,' he said, smiling, 'the Corinthian thing to do they're friends of mine.'
And although Douglas and Hemming recovered to finish ninth and sixth, respectively, it may not make any difference when throwouts kick in after five of the scheduled nine races.
Paine, who is from San Diego but now has an Olympic training relationship with St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, emerged from the dismal day in first place with three points after Douglas beat him by three boat lengths in the second race.
Andy Kern patiently waits for the wind that never arrived - Finn class North American Championships 2014
For the moment, Philip Toth is in second place with a steady five – three for eight points in the 19-boat fleet, one point ahead of Andy Kern (two - seven), who is one ahead of Douglas.
A third race planned for Friday was canceled after an hour's futile wait for wind. The south-southeast winds peaked at a puny (for Long Beach) 4.5 knots on the flat offshore race course outside the breakwater, then faded to 2.5 for a second race before the race committee gave up hope after an hour's futile wait for a third race.
They'll probably make it up. 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.
Henry Sprague leads the fleet off the start line - Finn class North American Championships 2014
The conditions were so off-normal for Long Beach that veteran Henry Sprague, in seventh place with a three - nine log, said, 'In the 50 years I've been sailing here I've never seen the current going west at three knots.'
Sprague, 68, said that enigma complicated the challenge of picking the best side of the course, prompting the fleet to split left and right, with better wind one way but a current the wrong way.
Maybe they'll all figure it out before the last two days, or maybe conditions will kick in with the popular Long Beach southwest sea breeze.
Chuck Rudinsky leads fleet to the offset mark in 2nd race - Finn class North American Championships 2014
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 a singlehander for heavyweights, while smaller people sail Lasers.
The leaders: (After four of nine races)
1. Caleb Paine, St. Francis YC, 1-2, 3 points.
2. Philip Toth, Mooloolaba YC, 5-3, 8.
3. Andy Kern, no club, 2-7, 9.
4. Greg Douglas, Royal Canadian YC, 9-1, 10.
5. Chuck Rudinsky, no club, 7-4, 11.
Complete Overall Results:
|1st||Finn||6||Caleb Paine||St. Francis YC|
|2nd||Finn||USA 75||Philip Toth||MYC|
|3rd||Finn||USA 741||Andy Kern|
|4th||Finn||5||Greg Douglas||Royal Canadian YC|
|5th||Finn||USA 40||Chuck Rudinsky|
|6th||Finn||69||Rob Hemming||Balboa YC|
|8th||Finn||USA 1214||Peter Connally||Newport Harbor YC|
|9th||Finn||59||Mike Dorgan||San Diego YC|
|10th||Finn||USA 505||Erik Lidecis||BCYC/ABYC|
|12th||Finn||132||Jim Hecht||Mission Bay YC|
|13th||Finn||USA 303||Joe Chinburg||Denver Sailing Assoc|
|15th||Finn||USA 1066||Glenn Selvin||Alamitos Bay YC|
|16th||Finn||USA 333||David Wilson||Ventura YC|
|17th||Finn||66||Rich Wright||Mission Bay YC|
|18th||Finn||100||Santiago Reyero||Mission Bay YC|
|20 DNC||20 DNC||40||40|
|18th||Finn||1213||Andras Nady||St Francis YC|
|20 DNC||20 DNC||40||40|