Finn UK National Championships 2011 at Christchurch Sailing Club was held over the 6th to 8th May 2011 and ended in fine style with two fantastic races in near perfect conditions in Christchurch Bay.
by Robert Deaves
Rob McMillan (AUS) won both races to take the open title from Laurent Hay (FRA) by just one point, while two top six finishes for Allen Burrell was enough for him to take the National title for the first time, after many years of trying.
For the final two races the wind had strengthened and shifted to a more southerly direction, making it more stable over the course area. With 14-16 knots most of the day, and brilliant sunshine, it was a fantastic way to end a great championships. After tricky winds so far the sailors enjoyed stretching out and enjoying the great conditions.
Start of race six - Finn UK Nationals 2011 Claire ADB and BFA
Race six was led from start to finish by Rob McMillan (AUS), with Marc Allain des Beauvais (FRA) and Allen Burrell close behind. A third for Burrell was enough to take the overall lead, if ever so briefly. The wind died slightly for the start of the deciding race seven and there was a tricky decision to stay inshore or go offshore. Burrell opted inshore while McMillan went offshore, but it was Neil Robinson who rounded first with McMillan in hot pursuit. Burrell rounded about 10th and the chase was on. While McMillan moved into first, Burrell could only climb to sixth, just two points from taking the open title as well. Robinson finished second while Allain des Beauvais crossed third.
Robinson leads race seven - Finn UK Nationals 2011 Claire ADB and BFA
A fifth for early regatta leader Laurent Hay was enough to tie for first overall with McMillan but lose out on count back tie break, as McMillan had won more races.
An emotional McMillan, who has been sailing the Finn since 1983 and won the British title on three occasions before becoming an Australian, said, 'It means an awful lot to me to win the British open as an Australian. To come back here to race against people that you know and like in a great environment, it’s actually quite emotional, and I am really pleased for Allen. I have known him since 1991 when we sailed Solos and to see him become National Champion is just fantastic.'
'It's also great to come back to the UK and see the health and strength of the British fleet, and the fantastic event that Christchurch Sailing Club have put on for us. Today we had champagne conditions, it was perfect.'
Winners - Finn UK Nationals 2011 Claire ADB and BFA
The new JM Finn, UK National Champion Burrell said, 'It feels great to have finally won the British Finn Championship. It's taken long enough, but it’s fantastic. Today I was very nervous before the start and that was probably my downfall today. I was sailing a bit conservatively, especially downwind. At the start of the second race I didn't really know what I was doing and went off in the wrong direction thinking, 'what am I doing?'. But I am very happy with the final result.'
Hay, second overall , said, 'It was a very good championships, the club and the people racing are great and it was a very interesting regatta. The English boys are very strong and very fast, so for me this was very good training. I am very happy to have come here. I did not win it this year but maybe next year.'
The championships as well as the qualifier series for next year's world championship have been generously sponsored by JM Finn and Co, one of the UK’s leading privately owned investment managers.
David Higham of JM Finn, who finished 39th in the championship, said that it was a natural and obvious fit for the company to sponsor the Finn class , 'JM Finn are really enjoying their association with the Finn class and I am thoroughly enjoying coming along to events and am grateful for everyone who is making boats available for me to use, and also trusting their boats in my hands, especially after my efforts last year.'
'The event this year has been really great fun and thanks to Christchurch Sailing Club for hosting it so well - it's a fantastic spot here. JM Finn look forward to being associated with the Finn class for hopefully many years to come. With the Olympics coming up next year we are looking forward to supporting the class however we can going forward.' Final results after seven races (one drop)
1 AUS2 Rob McMillan 18
2 FRA75 Hay Laurent 18
3 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 19
4 FRA99 Marc Allain des Beauvais 35
5 GBR 65 David Potter 41
6 GBR 679 Neil Robinson 43
7 GBR 635 Simon Percival 52
8 GBR 567 Martin Hughes 55
9 GBR 70 George Cooper 56
10 GBR631 Richard Hart 66
Finn UK Nationals: website
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8:18 PM Sun 8 May 2011 GMT
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