Sun, sailing and swims….its Barbados mon

Sun, sailing and swims….its Barbados mon

What an event Barbados was.

On the road again

They say the travel is part of the fun of overseas adventures- well whoever said that hasn’t flown American and transited through the States. Mind you Karl and I had some fun along the way…starting in Auckland when AirNZ lost his bag so he couldn’t get on his American flight and had to fly on my later flight …only to find out his bag had gone on the AA flight (without him – isn’t that illegal). 5 hours in Houston and then 2 hours of being stuffed into a United 737 that was so overloaded it barely left the ground…then hit the tarmac so hard I thought the wheels were going to be punched through the wings. Anyway we had a day in Miami…no coke or hookers to be found sadly. Miami beach was stunning but at 9.30am 30 deg ain’t much fun and quickly we were sweating like rapists so off to an air-conditioned mall for us and to watch the AC at a Caviar bar drinking beer and eating oysters…ahh that’s the lifestyle.

Next up the flight to Barbados…American 757 that was older than me….40,000ft and half way into the flight the airbrakes go on and the plane is shuddering …wtf Karl and I say….a few prayers later we landed safely.

The road home again was nothing short of torturous ….American all the way…. Zero service , no leg room- Karl, me and a couple of miscreant OK dinghy boys we collected stood around and talked shit and gave advice….

The “digs”

We were housed in the “bunker” for the first few nights , Jesus I thought …couldnt stand up straight, the toilet barely worked for Karl’s efforts… it was like Colditz. Then we were upgraded to the palace upstairs..the luxury !!! …in typical Ice and mav fashion we turned it into a festering pit within 2 days…much debate was held as to why we didn’t learnt from last time and bring a woman to clean up after us !!!

The heat

Fark it was hot- Ice and I would walk up to the café each day (300 m) for breakfast and would be sweating bullets but the time we got there. So hot that despite drinking water constantly all day I was still dehydrating and holding energy to sail was a constant challenge. So no big nights drinking for us, asleep most nights by 9!!

The swims

Ahh- seriously the best part of the trip …24 deg crystal clear water. A swim after breakfast ….and a compulsory swim after sailing. One thing we found very quickly is that you overheat sailing there and this was the perfect muscle cool down …20 mins well spent to repay the body. We even refined our technique and took beers into the post sailing swim. We debated the need for a chillibin to float with us but sadly no action was seen there.

The Food

Hmmmm- pretty fking average on the whole. Mamma mia (yes Italian ) became our staple dinner as it was a good feed. Friday night before the regatta saw the team as the fish market where the locals eat and what great food and great atmosphere, Karl had Flipper for dinner….. The locals came to dance the Samba and the rum flowed.

The Sailing

Fair to say neither Karl, Dave or I achieved the results we wanted. The conditions were full on, big wind and seas each day, Thursday was brutal and Ice and I agreed that on Tuesday that we got 1 race in in 25kts that the race committee did well not to lose someone. We lost the practice race because it was nuking and there were big seas.

We lacked a tune up regatta like we had before La Rochelle. The first day racing I started like a spanner and was having to fight back in the fleet of death – this day cost me the medal race with 10th and 13th. Sorted my starting woes out (set up ½ way up the line at 2 mins and let the current take me to the pin and punched out the pesky americans who would try to barge) on Tuesday and had a 4th, still wasn’t at my fastest upwind. Wednesday back in the fleet of Death , great start , sailed a good beat , 4th at the top – missed a shift and the dodgy russki got through me, went centre right on the 2nd beat as this paid on the first beat….eehhh wrong – lost 2 places…not happy, my mood was further darkened when sailing upwind on starboard 2 clowns coming down on port didn’t change course and one muppet’s boom collected me on the head. Thursday was hard work in an easier fleet where I needed top 5’s only to get 7th & 8th . going plenty fast just not my finest day tactically, clipped my head again on the same spot …I despair.

Final fleet race, great start etc – won the race but after searching far and wide for the bottom trapezoid mark and not finding it I proceeded to the bottom final mark only to be DSQ because I didn’t see a tiny boat in the distance that was motoring around (not stationary ) that was the missing mark. Never had a chance with the jury that was made up of old white guys, because apparently you must be physic whilst sailing a Finn in 20 knots in a big sea and sense where a 12 ft tinny is.

Other than that I have no complaints – it was a great place to sail , the rides down to the start area each day were something else, the 1.5 mile beats back to the shore after were not !

Sailing a Fantastica is such a different beast and a must for these overseas regatta’s, Pania is fast but the fantastica is just so much faster in a breeze.

I agree fully with Karl’s comments on the format – it must change. There are 20-30 really good sailors who do the event now and to further encourage the best they must change and evolve. This is no longer an event that is for old coots to sail in 5 knots and talk over rums of their manly prowess 40 years ago, the top guys want to sail in 25 knots and give it plenty. Change or die off boys.

Whats next

Sadly my MBA will take up my time for the rest of the year so unlikely to do Spain next year, its likely to be a clusterfk so probably best to stay away. So club racing and local regattas with the Nationals in Chch in March- good fun !


selected pics – from Miami- to karl eating flipper- to our breakfast spot- to spotting talent- to taxi van rides – tohead cuts


Ray Hall

Back Home Again

Bloody cold back here and missing those Caribbean swims from Carlisle Bay.

Well the sailing was challenging and awesome. For myself a great venue, for other older masters not so with the conditions proving to be too challenging. I have no easy answers for where the Finn Masters organisation should go from here. This contest showed there is an increasing number of younger, fitter masters who want this kind of venue. And they need to be catered for if this class is to continue to grow and be seen to hold true, respected world championships. Too often the old forget what it is to be young and so can unconsciously impose their own new found values/levels onto the young. With the increasing numbers of masters now sailing the finn it is perhaps time to consider a split in the fleet. Approximately 400 are expected for Spain next year, a ridiculous number to cater for. The class is becoming a victim of it’s own success.

Of the top masters all I know and talk to do not like the split fleet format (they hate it), there is constant debate and angst over some guys getting into “easy” fleets and others sailing too often in “hard” fleets. Personally I thought the randomiser program worked well for this contest with myself at least having equal races in “easy” and “hard” fleets. If we are dreadfully honest there are about 20 very good masters at each worlds…these are the guys who train hard, want to win the worlds overall, can race in winds up to 30knts, and free pump downwind. It is my belief these guys should be put into a separate fleet whereby they race each other all the time. This fleet should have an upper wind limit of 25knts with free pumping allowed in 10knts and over. Normal finn racing rules. To achieve this the first six races of the worlds should be used to rank the sailors…the top twenty then going on to race a further 6 races at “pro level” with 2 races per day. The remaining sailors to continue racing in the existing format for a further 4 races. There should be no medal race, this years contest showed that for the joke it is….undeniably the best sailor this year did not win. After the first 6 races the points you carry through to the next 6 races are the place you finished with that result being discardable.

Venues should also be chosen where possible that offer a range of conditions….not just 5-10knts easy sailing. A range of 5-25knts should be considered.

Such a fleet split should not cause any angst in the fleet as for 6 races everyone is together….but for the remaining 6 the good guys get to race each other fairly with little risk of damage being caused to them by guys who don’t know the rules and have little control of their boats. A common theme I hear among masters is we gather at worlds to have great racing and to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow finn sailors, that we should accept age brings it’s limitations. Well the older have to accept they will never win a worlds but that they can still race in their own age divisions and mingle with all….it’s way past time they are allowed to continue to subject the top twenty to substandard racing. It’s time for change. The format I propose I believe is good for all.


High Drama on the Final Day

The Finn World Masters is over but not without some controversy with Rafa being relegated to 3rd on the basis of the medal race after dominating the week with 6 firsts and a second. A 5th in the medal race was not sufficient to secure the win. The controversy related to the Race committee “forgetting” to put the Free Pumping flag up which was not picked up by any of the medal race sailors. Oscar flag had become a permanent fixture on the start boat the whole week with the regatta sailed in 16-20 knot winds every day. The Medal race was no different 16-20 knots at the start so a fair assumption it would fly.

The Jury members then proceeded to pounce on every sailor on the downwinds dishing out penalties to a bunch of confused sailors wondering what they were doing wrong. The Race committee had 3 opportunities to fly the Oscar flag. At the start and at each of the 2 top mark roundings. Didn’t do it. The Jury also had the opportunity to correct the Race Committees mistake. Again didn’t do it. They just had great pleasure in dishing out penalties as they saw them. The video of the Medal race is on the Finn Masters Facebook page. Viewing it you see every single sailor pumping. So every single sailor realistically believed free pumping conditions prevailed and sailed accordingly.

Rafa was pinged early and completed his turns then proceeded to sail back thru the fleet only to infringe the Russian and have to again complete a penalty. Finished fifth and relegated to third overall.

For the Kiwis Karl took 8th overall and 3rd in the Grand Masters Category with David Hoogenboom 26th Overall and 3rd in the Grand Grand Masters .

Ray had the hard luck story of the day winning his race then being informed he and the 2nd and 3rd place getters hadn’t rounded the temporary mark used to replace the lost bottom mark and were disqualified after a Jury hearing. The fact the race committee had not correctly advised of the replacement mark at the previous top mark was irrelevant from the Jury’s perspective.


Various Pictures of NZ Finn Sailors


Go Pink and Be seen

Day 4 on the water and pink was standing out again