Douglas blows into lead at Finn North Americans

Published on May 18th, 2014

Long Beach, CA (May 17, 2014) – A fair breeze Saturday erased Greg Douglas’ opening stumble of a day earlier and lifted the 23-year-old Canadian into first place in the Finn class North American championships at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.

“No major missteps at the top mark,” Douglas said, referring to Friday’s failure to round the offset mark at the first windward mark of the first race.

He recovered to finish ninth, and even that was expunged when throwouts kicked in after the fifth race Saturday, leaving him with a scoreline of 1-1-1-2-2 for 7 points, two ahead of Caleb Paine, his American training partner, with as many as three races remaining Sunday.

The wind puffed up a bit from Friday’s maximum of 4 1/2 knots to a south-southeast flutter of 7 to 8 knots Saturday.

“That little bit of extra pressure today was just enough for me to get the boat moving,” Douglas said.

Still, there were no whitecaps in sight … but the forecast for Sunday was for the most popular Long Beach conditions: 15 knots from the southwest.

“That would be very pleasant and a lot of fun,” said Douglas, who at 6-3 and 217 pounds has the height and weight leverage to work a Finn.

So although ABYC’s own Erik Lidecis moved up to third place in the 18-boat fleet by beating Douglas and Paine in Saturday’s last race (1-2-3)—“I beat [Douglas] by about a foot,” he said—his 20 points leave him a lot to make up, although at 6-10 and 225, 15 knots of wind would help.

“That would be perfect,” Lidecis said. “If there’s 15 knots, I’ll stay [in third].”

And when the wind builds past 10 knots, the Finn class usually lifts sailing’s anti-pumping rule, noted by the race committee posting the “Oscar” flag.

“When the Oscar flag goes up,” veteran Henry Sprague (currently fifth) noted, “all hell breaks loose.”

It might be an interesting day.

The last day of racing east of Long Beach Harbor off Seal Beach is scheduled to start at noon, conditions permitting.

The Finn dinghy, designed by Rickard Sarby in 1949 and first sailed in the 1952 Olympic Games at Helsinki, Finland, has been raced in every Olympics since as the longest enduring Olympic class. The two-man Star class is gone from the Games but the Finns sail on as a singlehander for heavyweights, while smaller people sail Lasers.

The leaders (after 5 of 9 races)
1. Greg Douglas, Royal Canadian YC, (9)-1-1-1-2-2, 7 points.
2. Caleb Paine, St. Francis YC, 1-2-(3)-2-1-3, 9.
3. Erik Lidecis, ABYC/Bahia Corinthian YC, (13)-8-2-3-6-1, 20.
4. Philip Toth, Mooloolaba YC, 5-3-5-5-5-(6), 23.
5 Henry Sprague, Long Beach/no club, 3-9-(11)-4-3-5, 24.

Complete resultsEvent information

Report by Rich Roberts.

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