2020 Finn Nationals Worser Bay 6-8 February 2020

2019/20 NZ National Finn Championship Hosted by the recently re-built Worser Bay Boating Club over February 6-8 2020 the regatta attracted 12 entries from both North and South Islands and was held in conjunction with the OK Dinghy National contest. The fleet rapt with recently crowned Finn World Champion and Gold Cup winner Josh Junior being allowed time to escape Team NZ duties and return to the club where it all began for him and sail with his mates. Numbers were down on what was expected with some appearing a trifle trepidacious about facing the famed Wellington winds. In the event some superb sailing conditions, outstanding club hospitality and truly excellent race management was experienced by both fleets. Day 1 graced sailors with hot, sunny conditions and a 15-22knt northerly. Racing was typically tight at each top mark with positions 1-6 rounding within 20 seconds of each other. Each race winner primarily being determined downwind. Karl Purdie coming from behind in every race on this leg of the course to take three narrow victories over the tall timber of Ray Hall and Mark Perrow. Gary Lokum having only recently returned to Wellington from Black Rock YC in Melbourne was making his presence felt within the NZ fleet with some excellent sailing mixing it with the experienced Denis Mowbray, Chris Wells and Brendon Hogg for positions 4-7. Chris sailed excellently in race 3 reading the very tricky windshifts to perfection to lead for much of this race before being overtaken on the final upwind leg. Newcomer Paul Bamford also put in a great effort having recently returned to dinghy sailing after many years absence to be amongst sailors having considerably more experience. Josh undertaking groomsman duties was unable to attend this day. Day 2 saw Josh join the fleet (Many thanks Dave Hoogenboom for bringing his boat down along with his own) and impress with some very athletic technique and accurate low risk strategies. Races 4&5 sailed in a southerly of 10-15 knots dropping to 8-10 knots for race 6. Josh dominated race4 to build a large lead at the finish. Minor placings behind taken by Ray Hall (2nd), Karl (3rd) and Dave (4th). Race 5 again saw Josh win this time from Karl and then Ray, the fleet however managing to keep him a bit more honest in this one. Fair to say Josh was in a class of his own downwind with the free pumping flag up, upwind all top boats showing near identical speed. Race 6 saw Oscar flag lowered and a change in fortune as Paul Bamford emerged at the first top mark from the right with a clear lead from Karl close by in second. Josh having been bounced repeatedly out to the left course side after missing the first shift off the start line rounding in 6th. Welcome to light air masters racing with no quarter asked nor given. Dave and Ray also rounding ahead of Josh. At the bottom gate Karl rounded first just ahead of Paul with Josh now close behind in 3rd. Karl dominating the course right side still led at the next mark with Josh now into second with Paul 3rd. Positions remained unchanged down the next run and the final upwind work until near the top mark Josh capitalised on a wind shift to round just inside Karl and maintained his narrow lead to the finish. Paul retained his 3rd place to the finish further heralding his arrival to the fleet. Having previously been one of NZ’s top OK Dinghy sailors however there was no disputing his future potential. The end of racing saw the fleet return to the club for a BBQ , post race debriefing over refreshments and a catch up with Josh. The Gold Cup proudly on display being admired by all at it’s rightful New Zealand home. After many, many decades of intense effort a NZ sailor finally lifting one of the most elusive, most hard earned and most prestigious of all international sailing trophies. It wasn’t lost on us that Josh had managed to win an America’s Cup before winning this.The final day of racing saw the sailors greeted with a northerly of 25-40knots and the postponement flag raised. With a southerly change forecast for midday and heralded by the famed southern arch it was hoped there would be a temporary respite to allow racing before the 3pm cut off limit. Unfortunately by 1pm the northerly was still present with 40knot gusts from the south now being recorded across the Cook Strait. The decision was made to abandon racing allowing sailors time to pack up and get on their way home.Final results showed Karl retained the overall championship and grand master titles of the previous season with Ray in 2nd and Mark in 3rd. Gary Lokum finished an extremely credible 4th with Josh despite missing the first days racing finishing 5th. First South Islander was Chris Wells in 7th with current South Island Finn Champ Brendon Hogg close behind in 8th. A feature of the current Finn landscape is the rapid growth of the fleet in Christchurch, it’s sailors despite showing excellent boat speed however coming to some grief while trying to get to grips with the Worser Bay windshifts. As this was Karl’s home club he undoubtedly had an advantage in this respect. Auckland fleet numbers have decreased temporarily and we are on the hunt for more sailors. Wellington numbers having doubled with the arrival of Gary giving Karl a hurry up at club racing. So a big call out to all past Finn sailors – time to return to your roots and experience the power and ease of sailing a modern day Finn. Feel free to contact your local class reps and arrange a sail. Our next event is the National Masters Championship being held over ANZAC weekend upon the fiendishly tricky but sheltered waters of Waiuku with all welcome to attend. With the European season now approaching a large number of sailors are continuing training with the World and European Finn Master Championships looming in May and August respectively. Hopefully they can follow Josh’s lead and also bring these titles back home. With a large 400 boat fleet expected for the Worlds competition will be tough. Large numbers of NZ masters travelling to these regattas overseas has become a feature of the local landscape over the past 5 years. International Finn Masters racing has gone off like a rabbit in a sock over the past decade with many past Olympic and World champions returning to the class they love and renewing past friendships. The class would like to thank Worser Bay Boating Club for their excellent hospitality, race management and world class facilities over the course of the regatta. A special thanks also to Brett Linton regatta PRO for doing an outstanding job in communicating with the sailors, laying excellent courses and getting racing away on time with no hiccups. The upcoming National Optimist Championship also to be raced under his guidance is in very good hands. Mike Hood also deserves a special thank you for supplying his glamorous 40′ catamaran as the committee boat, a new gold standard has been set! As always the regatta would not have been possible without the numerous volunteers giving their time to man mark/rescue/committee boats and the yacht club bar. Their efforts were truly appreciated. The members of WBBC definitely get behind their club and know how to turn it on. On a personal note the author would like to thank Josh for taking time from his busy schedule to attend this contest and to also lend him one of his boats to sail. We started Finn sailing together at Worser Bay and the last days racing and particularly the final race brought back many memories of the fun training and racing days we shared back then. It was most likely the last time we will see and race against Josh in a Finn and we will all remember this regatta if only for that, for many years to come. It’s not every day one gets to sail against the Current World Champ. The NZ Finn sailors wish Josh and Andy nothing but the best as they head into their final European season with Olympic selection expected to be finalised following the next Worlds in Palma during May 2020. Whoever is selected can be confident when attending Tokyo to be firmly in the running for that Gold Medal and be proudly supported by their fellow Finn sailors back home.

RankSail NumberHelmNameBoat NameClubR1R2R3R4R5R6TotalNett
1stNZL 111Karl PurdieThe Tighty WhiteyWorser Bay Boating Club111-322107
2ndNZL 2Raymond HallMavTamaki Yacht Club23224-51813
3rdNZL 4Mark PerrowNZL 4Waiuku YC / Wakatere BC32363-72417
4thNZL 6Gary LokumknotokWorser Bay Boating Club / BRYC54655-83325
5thNZL 61Josh JuniorNZL 61Worser Bay Boating Club(13.0 DNC)13.0 DNC13.0 DNC1114229
6thNZL 10David HoogenboomDeep Blue SeaWaiuku Yacht Club9-1174644130
7thNZL 20Chris WellsInfinitiNaval Point Club Lyttelton8648-964132
8thNZL 5Brendon HoggScatsamasaganaCBYC4759-10104535
9thNZL 81Paul BamfordAstraeaNaval Point Club Lyttelton688-121234937
10thNZL 19Denis MowbrayGryfinnNaval Point Club Lyttelton7597-1194837
11thNZL 18Gerald Levieveldpata NZL18/61Waiuku Yacht Club10910108-115847
12thNZL 29Cameron DoigNZL 29Queen Charlotte YC(13.0 DNF)1011117126451

Comments are closed.