Junior sailor wins the Finn nationals

The 2001 Finn National Championship was held at Herne Bay Sailing Club over the Bank Holiday Weekend from 25-27 August. A lower than usual entry saw reigning Finn Junior National Champion Charlie Cumbley, not only retain his Junior title but also take the national championship in fine style with three wins out of five races.

Saturday saw near perfect weather, but a sometimes fitful and shifty wind. Light winds and a strong adverse tide saw many boats over stand the first mark. More pressure to the left of the course saw Charlie Cumbley lead out of the start, to win the first race, with European Junior Champion Chris Brittle in second. Just before the start of race two the wind shifted 90 degrees to become offshore and the temperature rose 10 degrees in as many minutes. The course was realigned with the windward mark just off the shore. Tim Carver port-tacked the fleet, but went slowly and let Dave Mellor round the first mark in the lead. Mellor and Cumbley fought it out until the last leeward mark, when the wind (those that found it) backed up to 100 degrees in places rearranged the fleet somewhat. The gun eventually went to Adam Cowling, who had been third, with Brittle second and Mellor third. Robert Deaves, who had been 12th, planed up most of the left of the course to finish fourth!

Sunday saw rain and a monumental thunderstorm. After the first start was abandoned due to a wind shift, Chris Brittle ran away with the lead in race three and looked to be a sure winner. However, a decreasing wind with increasing shifts saw Dave Mellor plug away until he had Brittle in his sights and overtook him up the last beat. Ten minutes later, someone turned the lights out (literally) as the largest black cloud descended on the race course. The fleet steered for the street lights back on shore!

After sheltering on shore for a few hours, the fleet was sent out again in the rain for race four. At the start, Andrew Simpson, headed off out of the tide, but as before Charlie Cumbley stayed in the tide and more pressure to lead all the way round for his second win. Again Brittle was second.

Going into the last day Brittle led because Cumbley was having to count a DNF.

Race five was a sunny light wind affair. The day started breezy and cold, but soon warmed up as the wind gradually died. Simpson headed left out of the start into more pressure and tide, but it was again Cumbley who found the best way up the beat to lead at the windward mark and extend his lead throughout to win in fine style. Simpson was second and Cowling took third.

By this time the wind had died and after two hours waiting for new wind, the race officer called it a day and Charlie Cumbley became the new national champion. Further down the fleet, Richard Hart, sailing Finns for around 40 years, finished in 10th, sailing a new Devoti, instead of his usual wood relic. Newcomers Brett Cokayne and Mark Macdonald showed pace at times while Nick Bridges rounded everyone up and took the Classic Boat prize in the sole non-Devoti hull at the regatta.

Overall Results

1 GBR 15, Charlie Cumbley Teignmouth Corinthian YC 6pts

2 GBR 541, Chris Brittle Roundhill SC 9pts

3 GBR 577, Dave Mellor Budworth SC 10pts

4 GBR 6, Andrew Simpson Hayling Island SC 13pts

5 GBR 537, Adam Cowling Clyde Cruising Club 20pts

6 GBR 8, Tim Carver St Mawes SC 21pts

Veteran John Greenwood

Junior Charlie Cumbley

Classic Boat Nick Bridges

Rookie Brett Cokayne