by Rich Roberts
The Finn class North American Championships were supposed to be fleet racing, but San Diego's Caleb Paine turned the last two races Sunday into match races to take the title from Canada's Greg Douglas.
Paine (l.) shadows Douglas
As others scrambled for third place---a contest swept by local veteran Henry Sprague, who won both races---Paine dragged Douglas, his Olympics training partner, into a feisty battle apart from the main fray.
Henry Sprague leads Dorgan to finish in first of his two wins
As an onshore breeze fell short of forecasts at only six to ten knots, Paine was doing the math.
Everyone thought Douglas had thrown out his opening ninth place that resulted from failing to round the windward offset mark, but Paine, trailing by two points entering the last day, brought it back into play by forcing a worse finish in the next-to-last race.
'If I made him count his ninth it would change everything,' Paine said. 'So I raced him to the back of the fleet.'
Greg Douglas (l.) tracks Caleb Paine (r.) downwind in last race of Finn North Americans at ABYC
When Douglas tried to escape, Paine was able to stay in control, as the rest of the fleet sailed its own race. Although Douglas eventually passed Paine, the tactics resulted in Douglas finishing 13th---third from last to Paine's 14th---in the next-to-last race.
But it was delicate strategy. In the last race Paine placed fourth to Douglas' seventh, which left the latter with 23 points, only one ahead of Sprague, while Paine discarded his 14th for a final tally of 16.
Now the top pair, each 23 years of age, will continue training together into the Finn world championships at Santander, Spain in September. No hard feelings?
'We've been sailing against each other since we were kids,' Paine said. 'It's a lasting friendship.'
Greg Douglas tries to squeeze past the pin at the start
Douglas: 'Let's just say we both plan to go to the (2016) Olympics.'
Paine, a member of San Francisco's St. Francis YC, currently is sixth in ISAF's Finn world rankings; Douglas, of the Royal Canadian YC in Toronto, is 21st---mostly because, Douglas said, 'I haven't sailed as many events.'
This was Paine's first Finn North American title. Douglas won it two years ago.
The result also was meaningful for Sprague, who at 68 is old enough to be their grandfather but still going strong.
'It's been a good year,' he said. 'I won the Zellerbach Regatta at San Francisco this year. I also won it in 1964---50 years ago.'
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.
Mike Dorgan (l.) moves to overtake Philip Toth for second place in seventh race
The final leaders: (Eight races, one throwout)
1. Caleb Paine, St. Francis YC, 1-2-(3)-2-1-3-(14)-4, 16.
2. Greg Douglas, Royal Canadian YC, 9-1-1-1-2-2-(13)-7, 23.
3. Henry Sprague, Long Beach/no club, 3-9-(11)-4-3-5-1-1, 26.
4. Erik Lidecis, ABYC/Bahia Corinthian YC, (13)-8-2-3-6-1-5-2, 27.
5. Philip Toth, Mooloolaba YC, 5-3-5-5-5-6-3-(10), 32.
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|