Dan Dixon beats John Greenwood in to first place by just one point
With the top seven boats and sailors shipped off to the Finn world championship in Marblehead, USA and with many of the fleet having an interest in the Etchells world championship, numbers were reduced to nine boats for the Finn inland championship at Grafham Water SC this weekend (1-2 September, 2001).
The weather was kind and the wind a variable Force 2-3 with the Saturday shifts having a major effect on results. The courses sailed were old Olympic-style and reverse ‘P’ and seven races were scheduled.
Race one saw Dan Dixon, John Greenwood and Phi 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. For two laps the racing was very close with Dan Dixon sneaking past Sander on the last downwind leg and John Greenwood pulling up to third.
Race two was another race of shifty winds with place changing in abundance. After three laps John Greenwood eventually took the bullet from Dan Dixon and Sander Kooij, Luke Chapman clinging onto fourth.
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 three 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 the overnight leader with John Greenwood on his tail.
Sunday brought a stiffer breeze and with it came an opportunity for a bit more fun offwind. 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 had to settle for second place followed by Brett Cokayne and Luke Chapman.
In the last two races Greenwood took the bit between his teeth and won both races followed closely by Dan Dixon and Phil Laycock in each race. 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.
Dan Dixon however, had done enough to be crowned Finn inland champion beating Greenwood into second place by one point. Sander Kooij finished third beating Phil Laycock also by one point.
1st Dan Dixon (8pts)
2nd John Greenwood (9pts)
3rd Sander Kooij (22pts)
4th Phil Laycock (23pts)
5th Brett Cokayne (28pts)
6th Luke Chapman (28pts)