2017 Finn Eastern Championships
The 2017 GAC Pindar sponsored Finn Eastern Championships took place in Dovercourt Bay over the weekend of August 12-13. The event was ably hosted by Harwich Town Sailing Club who provided a fantastic venue, lots of friendship and a really excellent all you could eat BBQ on Saturday evening.
Seventeen sailors from all over the UK and Ireland braved the holiday traffic and to attend the GAC Pindar sponsored Eastern Championships. Hopes were high across the fleet from the 70yr old plus legends to the growing army of GAC Pindar and British Finn Association sponsored Under 23 sailors. Although the forecast was for light breezes Dovercourt Bay proved a fantastic venue for the upwind downwind courses favoured by the Finn fleet.
Saturday commenced with a short concise briefing by the race officer, who was, as ever questioned by sailors who had not read the sailing instructions. Launching with the offshore breeze as made even simpler by an army of Harwich Town Sailing Club officials who were eager to take the launching trolleys above the high watermark.
Rounding the breakwater off Cornwalis Battery provided the sailors with an insight to the gusty offshore conditions. The PRO managed to set a decent windward leg despite the breeze moving up to 15 degrees in each shift. Very quickly into the race Hector Simpson established his dominance in preparation for the Finn Silver Cup in Hungary in September. He quickly showed the rest of the fleet his transom, leaving second placed Cameron Tweedle barely able to see his sail numbers by the finish. This pattern continued through the next three races with John Greenwood, Will Patten and his son Dan fighting the rest of the fleet for third place. The big shifts and lulls in the wind meant sailors could gain and lose places all too easily.
The evening BBQ cooked by master chef Adrian Pells with salad and extra dished prepared by club members was a delight, with all sailors enjoying an evening of eating and drinking.
Sunday morning was forecast light, possibly no sailing, but by 10:00 the forecast had improved with the possibility of a sea breeze to counteract the offshore gradient. This proved the case and once in the start area the PRO established a course and got the fleet away first time again. The wind oscillated left then back right then dropping to almost nothing. Quickly after rounding the first mark Robert Deaves took the lead and managed to hold it to the finish relegating the previously dominant Under 23 sailors to mid- fleet positions.
Race 5 became a lottery as the wind shifted from offshore to onshore back again and back to settle as an onshore sea-breeze. The sailors complained but the race officer persisted eventually shortening the course just as the fleet bunched up at the first leeward mark to allow normal service to result with Hector taking the gun from Dan Patten and Cameron.
The final race saw a few sailors leave to get home before the holiday traffic – but they missed the race of the weekend. A steady 10 knots prevailed for most of the race with an increasing chop making downwind in the non-pumping conditions very competitive and fun. Martin Hughes rounded the windward mark first only to be overtaken by Hector Simpson downwind, Hector gradually pulled away to win by a comfortable margin. Martin battled with Cameron Tweedle as they gradually pulled away from the rest of the fleet with Martin leading Cameron behind him all the way to the finish.
Another great GAC Pindar sponsored Finn event at a great Club, thank you Harwich Town Sailing Club. Good luck to all the Under 23 sailors attending the Finn Silver cup and all the sailors in the Finn Gold Cup the following week in Balaton Hungary.
Report by Martin Hughes
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