Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Don Finkle named Sailor of the Week

by US Sailing on 19 Jul 2013
Don Finkle US Sailing © http://www.ussailing.org
Yacht Clubs and other sailing groups around the world take great pride in running their own signature regattas. These events create enthusiasm, build tradition, and support the organization’s brand. The Youngstown Yacht Club (N.Y.) will host the 40th and final edition of The Youngstown Level Regatta on July 27-28. Thanks to regatta founder Don Finkle and countless volunteers, this event has helped develop the club’s own unique identity.

Don and other members of the club were interested in creating a regatta for big boat racing that did not use a rating or handicap system. In order to make this a reality, they needed to create a format that allowed different boats with similar speed potential to race fairly against each other. They wanted to compete boat-for-boat with no time allowances involved, so that it was easy to determine who won, and what place each boat finished.

The first Level Regatta took place in 1974 with 20 boats in participation. The number of participating boats doubled the following year. Popularity grew each year and maxed out at 466 boats. Each year experienced an increase in attendance and the addition of more classes. A growth spurt occurred when they added one-design classes. Over the years, the Level Regatta has settled into the more manageable 180 boat range.

'Probably the toughest job we have is breaking the fleet into divisions that are as fair as possible for all and we work hard at it,' said Don. 'In a few divisions we may still be able to sail level (no handicaps applied), but most of the fleet now competes using PHRF or IRC ratings. A higher percentage of the overall fleet is now made up of one-designs ranging from Vipers to eight Metres.'

Rolling Stone magazine labeled the Level Regatta as one of the top ten outdoor parties in North America. In addition to the racing and social scene, another attraction was the location at the western end of Lake Ontario.

The Youngstown Yacht Club was truly stretched to its capacity. 'We’ve always focused on providing quality racing while doing our best to be friendly hosts,' explained Don. 'We accomplished our goals and that is the real story of the event, the amazing contributions of the large number of volunteers who have made it all happen.'

This signature regatta has benefited the club in many ways. 'The event does a remarkable job at promoting our club,' said Don. 'Most of our own racing sailors compete, and it is our contribution to the sailing scene. Various clubs put on different events that make up the overall regional racing calendar, and the Level is our part in that.'

'Maybe best of all is the camaraderie developed by members working together. It is a lot of fun and there is a real sense of satisfaction for those involved. We garner plenty of positive comments from sailors who take part. Finally, what brings me personally to put forth the effort, time after time, is something I figured out years ago. If you have the power to make that many people happy, why wouldn’t you do it?'

Don also had some helpful tips for clubs interesting in starting or improving a signature event. 'The regatta landscape is very competitive these days. There are plenty of similar events out there, so you need to differentiate yourself in some fashion. You need to make sure that your Organizing Authority, your club or class is really committed to the cause. There is an arms race taking place where each of us running an event is faced with keeping up with the latest twist that others have built into their events. To do the job right, it is essential to enlist a sufficient number of volunteers who are actually going to do the work, not just show up for meetings. Finally, make sure you are hosting for the right reason. Your purpose should be to do the best you can for the sailors themselves.'

For more information on the 2013 Youngstown Level Regatta, visit the event website
Barz Optics - Melanin LensesZhik Yachting 660x82T Clewring - Generic

Related Articles

11th Hour Racing to present at annual Green Sports Alliance Summit
11th Hour Racing is headed to Houston, Texas, to present at the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit 11th Hour Racing is headed to Houston, Texas, to present at the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit, June 28-30, the world’s largest gathering for the sports community around sustainability, including both professional and collegiate sports teams, leagues and venues.
Posted today at 7:29 am
RORC IRC Nationals - Round two FAST40+ Race Circuit - Day 1
Girls on Film showed guile and skill to come out on top for Second Round of FAST40+ Circuit, held at RORC IRC Nationals. 2016 RORC IRC National Championship - Girls on Film showed guile and skill to come out on top for the Second Round of the FAST40+ Circuit, held at the RORC IRC National Championship. Invictus showed impressive downwind speed to lead the class after three races but a problem in the last race cost Invictus the overnight lead. Seven of the eleven Fast40+ fleet made the podium on the first day.
Posted today at 6:36 am
RORC IRC National Championship - Mike Greville in action
61 crews competing in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship were eased gently into the regatta today RORC IRC National Championship - 61 crews competing in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship were eased gently into the regatta today initially with sub-10 knot conditions. However by the time the fourth and final race was held, the breeze had built to 20+ knots in the gusts. This, combined with a short, sharp chop kicked up by a building flood tide, led to numerous wipe-outs.
Posted today at 6:04 am
470 Junior Worlds - Don't get stressed!
Patience and the ability to read the wind shifts were important at third race day of the 470 Junior World Championship Patience and the ability to read the wind shifts were important at the third race day of the 470 Junior World Championship at the Kiel Week. 'It wasn't easy today', said race director Fabian Bach, since the classes could only be started in shifts on the inner race courses due to a thunderstorm warning.
Posted today at 5:41 am
2016 Bacardi® Newport Sailing Week – Action will begin on Friday
Looking forward to great weather and great sailing conditions, one-design sailing boats will be on Narragansett Bay 2016 Bacardi® Newport Sailing Week – Looking forward to great weather and great sailing conditions, one-design sailing boats will be on Narragansett Bay to compete sixth Bacardi Newport Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG.
Posted today at 5:00 am
Superyacht Cup - Day 2 action-shots by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery was on water at 2016 Superyacht Cup and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action. Photographer Ingrid Abery was on water at 2016 Superyacht Cup and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action.
Posted today at 4:14 am
More spectacular sailing on race day two at Palma's Superyacht Cup
The Superyacht Cup's social scene, known to rival the insane on-the-water action, has already lived up to its reputation The Superyacht Cup's social scene, known to rival the insane on-the-water action, has already lived up to its reputation as last night's après-race partying went on long after the sails had been packed away. Apart from a lively atmosphere and full dance floor, this year's '20 Years of Rock' theme showed some sailors' hidden talents of playing air guitar and being able to rock back-combed hair
Posted today at 3:57 am
Picture perfect conditions for day one of racing at the Clagett
Newport turned on the charm for day one of racing for 22 sailors at C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta. Newport turned on the charm for day one of racing for the 22 sailors at the 14th C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta. After a slight delay waiting for the breeze to settle, the race committee, led by Principal Race Officer (PRO) Tom Duggan (East Sandwich, MA) provided four races for the two classes taking part, the 2.4mR's and the Sonars.
Posted today at 3:28 am
Oman Air revel in Cardiff breeze to extend lead
Oman Air kept up a steady pace despite high winds and sudden gusts to extend their lead on the second day 2016 Extreme Sailing Series - Oman Air kept up a steady pace despite high winds and sudden gusts to extend their lead on the second day of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cardiff.
Posted today at 2:58 am
Act 3 leaderboard compresses as Cardiff Bay deliver spectacular racing
Cardiff Bay lived up to its reputation for delivering wet and wild racing today 2016 Extreme Sailing Series - Cardiff Bay lived up to its reputation for delivering wet and wild racing today as it played host to some of the most exciting action of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series™ so far.
Posted today at 2:34 am