Results from the British Finn Inland National Championship that was held over the weekend on Grafham Water, in Great Britain.
With the top 7 boats and sailors shipped off to the Finn world Championships in Marblehead, USA and with many of the fleet having an interest in the Etchells World Championships numbers were reduced to 9 boats for the first Finn visit to Grafham for several years.
The weather was kind and the wind a variable 2/3 with the Saturday shifts having a major effect on results. The courses sailed were Old Olympic and reverse 'P' and 7 races were scheduled.
Race one saw Dan Dixon, John Greenwood and Phil Laycock break away at the start and at the end of the first lap they had a lead of 100 yards on the chasing pack. The wind suddenly swung through 40 degrees with the leaders on the wrong side of the course letting Sander Kooij, Brett Cokayne and Luke Chapman through into the lead but the leading six boats were now very close together. For two laps the racing was very close with Dan Dixon sneaking past Sander on the last down wind leg and John greenwood pulling up to 3rd.
Race two was another race of shifty winds with place changing in abundance. You could go from 1st to 6th on one shift and maintaining concentration throughout was paramount. After three laps John Greenwood eventually took the bullet from Dan Dixon and Sander Kooij, Luke Chapman clinging onto 4th.
Race three saw Dan Dixon leading from the start, establish an unassailable lead and despite being chased hard by John Greenwood and Sander Kooij he held this until the finish. Phil Laycock finished in fourth.
The fourth race saw the steadiest wind of the day, albeit the lightest and with a swing in the wind the port biased line made the start crucial. John Greenwood and Dan Dixon after a bit of a battle at the pin-end again broke away and the two boats did hard battle for 3 laps of the course. The closest racing of the day was the battle for the next four places. Sander and Brett Cokayne were quicker up wind but Phil Laycock and Luke Chapman were faster on the runs. The reducing wind made overtaking difficult and Laycock and Kooij eventually held off Cokayne and Chapman to finish in that order.
Dan Dixon was leading over night with John Greenwood on his tail. All to play for!
Sunday brought a stiffer breeze and with it came an opportunity for a bit more fun off the wind. In race five John Greenwood led off the start and held this until the final windward mark where he thought that he had finished and hove to. Dan Dixon sailed through John and headed off down the run to the leeward mark where the finish line had been laid. A subsequent protest was lodged against the race officer, which was not found in his favour and therefore John and to settle for 2nd place followed by Brett Cokayne and Luke Chapman.
A 'riled Greenwood' is generally quite a fast one and with the bit between his teeth John took the next two bullets followed closely by Dan Dixon and Phil Laycock in each race. The Finn is a boat which needs to be worked hard off the wind and the difference between the experienced sailors and those new to the fleet was more apparent when the wind blew and pumping down the reaches was essential and was where the greatest gains were made. After seven races with one discard the sailors certainly knew that they had a weekend sailing! All credit to Luke Chapman and Brett Cokayne who are both new to the class yet both had their moments at the front of the fleet and kept the more experienced sailors on their toes. More to come from these two next year!!
Dan Dixon had done enough to be crowned Finn Inland Champion beating John Greenwood into second place by one point. Sander Kooij finished third beating Phil Laycock also by one point.
1 Dan Dixon 8pts
2 John Greenwood 9pts
3 Sander Kooij 22 pts
4 Phil Laycock 23pts
5 Brett Cokayne 28pts
6 Luke Chapman 28pts