- March 31st, 2010
- in Yachting
Catching Up – We are pretty happy to see windsurfing at the BVI Spring Regatta. Especially me, I am pretty stoked. It’s only natural that there are so many people that are windsurfers sailing on the boats because the two sports are so closely related.
The last time I met up with then world record holder for the fastest sailing craft on the water Finian Maynard, we spoke about the core of a champion. I recently caught up with him again at Trellis on the water, and I mean I literally had to catch up with him.
Finian is a giant guy, and he has got a huge drive. Meeting up for a session, I am feeling like Mad Max in the Thunderdome though I know this is a rare chance to sail with one of the world’s best. Finian was back with his own family to see his family and friends and take a break from the world tour. He has been doing well, pretty awesome, actually, and whilst we crank our own preferred craft through the boats at Trellis Bay onto a slalom drag into the Channel, the guy is smiling, and we are juicing up the wind to let it drive its power through body into the boards and translate into speed. The guy is fast and has an incredible style of bearing off for maximum speed and turning apparent wind back on his favor and knowing when to do it. I always considered it a massive risk, coming from wave sailing where the goal is never to give away downwind till on the wave, but it works, and the beauty is that there is no moment that things are not fast and planing. As Finian tells me , “The trick is in no way to let anyone ever get an edge on you or pressure you; it may take a couple of gybes or moves to assert dominance, but once it’s established that you are going for it, you are already gunning for your own race.” We are on giant sails, and it’s a giant day, again, I say the guy is a speed master. He is on full-carbon production RRD boards and Gaastra rigs (and now involved in RRD development and production), and I am on the lesser, but it is rabbit and hare the whole session, old school and grit and grin. His style is precise and casual. Sailing alongside is fun, Finian’s style is tuned, and at the end of the session, I am whipped, learned and fresh.
Days later, we catch up in town to chat about the BVI representative on the world tour. He talks of how the BVI used to have 150 windsurfers and that there are less now. “Not many athletes in watersports here, Owen, and laid back doesn’t cut it competing against the best, but I am still very proud to have honed my skills in BVI waters throughout my childhood before tackling the world stage.” As I wrote before, the guy has major commitment. Last year was an incredible year for him, ending up second in the overall slalom ranking on the world tour. “Consider me a slugger. Baseball would be the best analogy as it is big guys in slalom keeping at it to hit the home run.” As to speed, the former record breaker and current speed world champion now dukes in speed competitions where guys battle it out together at the same time with the conditions at hand. Finian is going for the top spot on the tour for slalom in 2010, and as we talk, he tells me of his trip heading back to Tuscany where the boards he uses are designed and fabricated in 3-D. “From there, I will do a triangle of training between Italy, Croatia and France and being on the road between gives me time to think and unwind.” Next, on April 16th is the Mondial du Vent event in Leucate, France, an invitational speed challenge of ten kite boarders and ten windsurfers on 250m speed courses and 10k long distances to battle it out. He is confident his sport will win and that he will be championing it as ever. As to kite boarding recently claiming a speed record, he smiles, “Well, that’s good but it was done in 10cm of water which bent all the rules, very little drag to deal with and is kiting sailing? It’s kiting.”
Good for you slugger, keep it up from everyone at Yacht Guide and the BVI.