Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

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
NaiadSchaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr