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  • Finn Gold Cup

    Paul Oliva's bi-weekly Sf Chronicle mentions some goings on about the Bay

    Gold Cup Starts in earnest Monday, two races daily with Medal Race next Saturday!

    Even in the busy San Francisco Bay racing scene, this week and next stand out.

    For the first time, the Olympic-class, one-person Finn sailboat is holding its world championships on the bay.

    Nearly 100 boats from more than two dozen countries will compete in the Finn Gold Cup through next Saturday. On Tuesday, 15 junior sailors ages 16 to 21 from 10 countries wrapped up competition, with Florida's Luke Lawrence winning the Finn Silver Cup.

    "The Finn is arguably the most demanding boat to sail," says Santa Cruz software exec and sailing fanatic Philippe Kahn, who worked with Finn legend Gus Miller and the St. Francis Yacht Club to bid on holding the championship for these 15-foot, single-sail, 235-pound boats.

    Thinking of the bay's winds and that many top sailors are Finn champions (think four-time America's Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist Russell Coutts and triple gold and silver Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie), Kahn says, "It's a spectacular event ... very prestigious."

    The sailors are big not just in prestige, but in size. That's the point of the Finn.
    Size matters

    Corinne Rolland-McKenzie, who heads the International Finn Association, compares it with the smaller Olympic-class Laser dinghy, which forces sailors to stay below 175 pounds to be competitive.

    Finn sailors tend to be over 5 feet 10, 180 to 230 pounds, and fond of saying they don't have to starve themselves to be competitive. British Finn sailor Ed Wright has quipped, "It's for men, not for the weak. It is the only dinghy a man can sail in the Olympics."

    Seven junior Finn sailors sitting together at the closing ceremony Tuesday were as tall and lean as a basketball team. They told of learning in smaller boats but switching to the Finn as they grew. The Californian in the bunch was Caleb Paine, who was disappointed after a strategic error in the last race dropped him to fourth overall. But he laughingly acknowledged winning the informal eating competition with an epic pile of chili con carne after racing Sunday.

    More than half the juniors, including Lawrence and Paine, will race against the adults in the Gold Cup. The entries include Olympic 2008 silver medalist and 2012 hopeful Zach Railey, as well as Wright, Kahn, and Coutts' brother Rob Coutts and nephew Matt Coutts.

    The Gold Cup kicks off with a practice race Sunday, then two races daily and a medal race next Saturday. Racing begins after noon on the Berkeley Circle, west of Berkeley and south of Richmond. The boats will be at Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond.
    Sails, bodies whiz by

    The colorful, spidery-looking boats whizzing past Crissy Field and the San Francisco cityfront this week? Those were the indomitable International 18 skiffs. Teams of three, big sails, enormous racks to lever out over the water, pure speed, and bodies flying with the slightest miscalculation. Thirteen boats cut up the bay Sunday through Thursday. The highlight was the annual adrenaline-inducing Ronstan Bridge-to-Bridge drag race between the skiffs and over 40 kiteboarders and windsurfers. The boats won this year, with Thurlow Fisher taking first in a reportedly carnage-filled race.

    The larger Melges 24 and 32 sailboats held their annual Race Week, along with half a dozen other sizable sailing regattas. Much slower, with no shouting or carnage, the South End Rowing Club hosted the bay's first all-wooden-rowboat regatta Sunday.

    Today, check out the Vallejo Yacht Club's 20th Annual Flea Market, the Sarcoma Cup ( or the Great San Francisco Schooner Race ( for an $85 ticket for the scow schooner Gas Light). The Windjammers Race to Santa Cruz ( and the Jazz Cup to Benicia ( run Labor Day weekend.

    Photographer Erik Simonson's photo blog posted photos this week of the International 18 skiffs and the Finns, and a tour of San Francisco waterfront under consideration for America's Cup facilities.

    Paul Oliva is a consultant, writer and sailor. E-mail him at
    Read more: ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~

  • #2
    2010 Finn Gold Cup Preview

    The 2010 Finn Gold Cup is about to get underway in San Francisco. With 95 pre-entries from 28 countries and five continents it is set to be the largest Finn World Championship in the USA for more than three decades.

    The focus is turning to the senior championship after the conclusion of the highly successful Junior Finn World Championship for the Silver Cup last Tuesday. The reliably solid wind patterns here should produce a tough and challenging series, starting Monday, with the breeze regularly hitting 18-25 knots in recent days and little signs of change in the near future.


    Picking favourite's is as always a difficult task. The defending champion is Jonas Høgh Christensen (DEN). Having won in Denmark last year after almost stopping sailing for a year, the big question was whether he could he do it again, having only sailed Kiel in the last 12 months. However fate played a cruel hand as the Dane inexplicably broke a finger while out training this week and he is now all bandaged up rethinking his expectations. A pirate's hook wasn't an appealing prospect to the reigning world champion.

    Edward Wright (GBR) is still hunting for his first world title. After taking the Europeans in 2006 and the bronze at the worlds the same year, he came closest last year and recently won the ISAF Sailing World Cup for Finns for the second year running. However he recently fell victim to one of the UK's fastest rising stars, Giles Scott (GBR). Scott won the recent Sail for Gold in Weymouth against some formidable opposition including the double Olympic Finn champion Ben Ainslie (GBR) and this may well have given his confidence such a boost that his lack of consistency becomes less of a problem. In fact, any of the four strong Skandia Team GBR sailing here are potential race winners, so expect to see at least two or three in the top 10 by the end of the week.

    Double European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) is also likely to make a strong challenge. He has won two of the other major events this year and has been on the podium at all those he attended. However he tends to prefer the lighter winds, being one of the lightest sailors in the fleet, and San Francisco Bay is famous for its stiff winds.

    Another sailor to watch for is Jonathan Lobert (FRA). Having medalled at two major events this year, including silver at Sail for Gold a few weeks back, Lobert is having his best season ever, and, together with sparring partner Thomas Le Breton (FRA), these two are increasingly featuring in the top 10 by the end of regattas.

    The local favourite has to be Zach Railey (USA). The 2008 Olympic silver medalist probably knows these waters as well as or better than any other sailor here and has won races at most major events this season. However he has a strong fight ahead of him to be top dog this week with Bryan Boyd (USA), Caleb Paine (USA) and newly crowned world Finn junior world champion Luke Lawrence (USA) more than keen to upset the pecking order.

    Also keep an eye on Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Finn Gold Cup 2007 silver medalist; Daniel Birgmark (SWE), 2010 European bronze medalist; Dan Slater (NZL), 2008 Finn Gold Cup silver medalist; Rafael Trujillo (ESP), 2007 world champion; and Gasper Vincec (SLO), 2005 European bronze medalist; and back for another go is three time Olympian Anthony Nossiter (AUS). Another 10 to 15 sailors have race wining potential.


    Added into this mix are a number of great sailors including former Laser world champion Nik Burfoot (NZL) and former Star world champion crew David Giles (AUS). The event is also set to become something of a Coutts family gathering with Rob Coutts (NZL) sailing alongside his nephew Matt Coutts (NZL), in his first Finn world championship. The last time a Coutts raced a major Finn event on the USA west coast, in 1984, he won Olympic Gold. That of course was Russell Coutts (NZL), Rob's brother and Matt's uncle.

    The last time the Finn Gold Cup came to the US west coast was 1974, 36 years ago. In 1974 it was held in Long Beach and the winner there, Henry Sprague (USA), is also sailing this year, a most definite 'old hand' of the class. Another old hand, Gus Miller (USA), has spent the last week driving the 5,000km from his Rhode Island home with a new Finn on the roof because, “I gotta be here, it's the Finn Gold Cup,” At 75 he is the oldest competitor here, though maybe one of the youngest at heart.

    Over the coming week, we'll be talking to all these sailors, and more, to bring their stories and their exploits in the Finn Gold Cup to the world. Some will be winners on the water and some will be winners in spirit, but they all take pride competing against some of the best sailors in the world, in this supreme test of physical and mental ability. After 54 years, the Finn Gold Cup remains one of the hardest trophies to win in the sport of sailing.

    Follow it online

    You can follow the 2010 Finn Gold Cup in any number of ways:

    - To keep up to date on all happenings in San Francisco, and other Finn events, as they happen, sign up for the Finn Class press releases at

    - There will be live screening of the racing each day, plus post-race interviews, broadcast live through the event website at by as well as in depth reports and the class blog event feed.

    - Live GPS boat tracking online for all races by Kattack through the event website

    - Live action, clips and photos will be posted to the class blog at during each and all of the races

    Berkeley Circle

    While the Silver Cup was based out of St Francis Yacht Club and sailing took place between the stunning backdrops of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, the Finn Gold Cup is being sailed on the Berkeley Circle, some six miles away. To save our tough sailors the long sail to and fro the event is actually based at Marina Bay in Richmond, just a short reach from the Circle.

    Measurement and registration runs from Friday 27 to Sunday 29, with a practice race scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

    Racing commences on Monday 30 August with two races scheduled each day at 12.00 each day until Friday 3 September. The medal race for the top 10 and the final race for the rest will be on Saturday 4 September. ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


    • #3

      Jonas and his finger ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~


      • #4

        Rafael Trujiullo leads early and often

        Day 1 of the Finn World Championships (aka the Gold Cup) kicked off today in a blustery, but blue skied, San Francisco Bay.
        Sailing out of the Olympic Circle near Berkeley, California the 87 competitors were greeted with 17-20 knots of wind and San Francisco Bay’s infamous voodoo chop in full swing.

        2 races were held on course B (a windward leeward first lap featuring a triangle for lap 2 with a downwind finish) and the sailors were itching to get at it. Perhaps a bit too itchy however as the first starting sequence resulted in a general recall with nearly a quarter of the fleet OCS.
        After the fleet regrouped the start of race one saw an even distribution of boats along the length of the starting line with almost the entire fleet starting on starboard tack. The definitive strategy of most of the top boats was to start on starboard tack and get to port tack as quickly as possible. The local fleet has long had a saying of “stay right at the circle” and most of the top sailors had this figured out early, including Spain’s Rafael Trujillo (ESP 100) and Slovak Republic’s Gasper Vincec (SLO 5). At the first windward mark Trujillo had charged to an early 20 boat lead over Vincec as they turned the corner to head down wind to the leeward gates. Greece’s Ioannis Mitakis (GRE 77), a junior sailor fresh of his second place finish at the Silver Cup, had a stunning first leg and found himself rounding the windward mark in third place. Local sailor Zach Railey was the first American rounding the mark in 10th place.

        By the time they got to the first leeward mark Vincec had completely closed the gap and the two sailors simultaneously rounded opposite ends of the gates with Trujillo going back to the right side of the course and Vincec going to the left. As they returned the windward mark Trujillo had rebuilt his lead on Vincec and the two set off to the reaching mark pushing their Finn’s as fast they can go. With 20 knot winds on the beam and 2-3 ft rolling swells quartering on their sterns the boats where on screaming reaches planning in to a pluming spray of whitewater. Trujillo sailed too high of a line to the reaching mark forcing him to sail deep to make the lay line. This mistake allowed Vincec to again reel him in and as they jibed the mark it was an all out sprint to the finish line. Vincec had shown all race long he was going faster off the breeze while Trujillo was excelling upwind.

        With a deep reach to make the finish line it was just was Vincec was looking for and he sailed to the race one victory with Trujillo taking second. Croatia’s Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO 524) rounded out the top 3. Aussie Brendan Casey (AUS 1) and Zach Railey (USA 4) took fourth and fifth respectively.
        After adjusting the weather mark for a breeze that had clocked 5 degree’s to the right race two was off. Most of the fleet had now figured out the right side of the course was favored making the starting boat end of the line a popular place to be with the bulk of the fleet packing it in. The strategy was again to get off the line clean and get on to port ASAP to get out to the right side of the course which was now even more favored. Once again Trujillo was off to a great start and rounded the mark first this time with Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN 2) hot on his heels, and Great Britain’s Edward Wright (GBR 11) rounding third. Marin Misura (CRO 25), Zach Railey, and Giles Scott (GBR 41) were all in the hunt.

        As they approached the windward mark on lap 2 Trujillo had extended his lead while Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN2) had slipped from third back to sixth trading places with Brit Giles Scott who was now in second place. Trujillo held on for the win with Scott taking second and Wright making up for his race one 18th place finish with a third. Misura took fourth and a consistent Zach Railey came fifth.

        And in a fleet this big consistency is going to be critical. Railey’s two fifth place finishes on the day put him in second place overall behind regatta leader Rafael Trujillo. Giles Scott’s 10-2 scoring line has him in third place overall. The story of the day however was Trujillo, who has already built an 8 point lead over second place.
        Notable performance on the day however has to go to American Junior Sailor Caleb Paine (USA 619) who finds himself in 20th place overall with a 23-21 scoring line. Considering the big winds, and big waters, this is a big performance from a not so big guy in a boat that eats up big guys. Nice work Caleb!
        Lots more sailing to come however with 2 more races scheduled for tomorrow and 5 more days of racing to go.

        Report courtesy David Wells

        Complete Results
        Official Event Website
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5

          Coverage is live right now!


          • #6
            Emma texts from Cressy, Ed Wright Wins, Vincec 2nd, Le Breton 3rd, Piotr Kula 3rd 4th Mills 5th, Scott 6--- Raff finished deep.. She believes Zach is currently in 1st overall!
            Last edited by Photoboy; 08-31-2010, 03:39 PM.
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #7
              Start of Race 4 with Z flag up...
              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #8
                Breeze 18 knots...Circle of Pain swell in effect.

                Top mark

                Matt Coutts 1st at Top

                Zack 6th?
                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

       Photo Gallery


                • #9
                  Wow what a fantastic idea a sailing web site that is covering sailing events……………Keep up the good work!!

                  I love this shit!!!!!!!!


                  • #10
                    Bottom mark: Andrews, Wright, Le Breton, Railey...
                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

           Photo Gallery


                    • #11
                      Brendan Casey, and Trullio and Lobert in top bottom mark
                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

             Photo Gallery


                      • #12
                        At WM

                        Wright, Andrews, Railey!
                        LeBreton, Giles, Scott...

                        Thanks Emma!
                        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

               Photo Gallery


                        • #13
                          Gybe mark:

                          Wright, Andrews, Le Breton, Railey...
                          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

                 Photo Gallery


                          • #14
                            At Finish:

                            Ed Wright, Mark Andrew, Thomas LeBreton and Zack Railey 4th

                            Two Bullets for Ed Wright today..
                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

                   Photo Gallery


                            • #15
                              4 races down 6 to go………correct? What dose the leader board look like after today?

                              Thanks again PB and Emma for the updates!