- March 31st, 2009
- in Yachting
A BVI Champion – It’s not easy to understand what makes a champion, whether it is the triumph of the spirit when all is lost or an utter determination to win and be true at all costs. Finian Maynard is a BVI champion, defined by the characteristics of a lot more than simply, local boy made good.
Stepping on to a windsurfer at the age of six, Finian's discipline has never changed as it has been all about the windsurfer and the man who is driving it. Within the sport itself he has taken it to levels that were seemingly untouched before. All of Finian's world records are sailing records that have been broken on a windsurfer, notably the world speed record that broke the 11-year record of the boat Yellow Pages in 2004.
It was this achievement that brought Finian to the world’s attention as a speed champion, hailing from the BVI. It would then be an assumption that this is one of the windiest places and that the drive and training for that speed is prevalent here.
The BVI does not have trades of 30 knots plus on a regular basis, more like 15 knots, but it was Finian's Caribbean racing that gave him the stepping stone to reach further afield. In Europe and the Americas, simply due to the sheer mass of people in the sport, there are several classes of discipline to break through to achieve status. The islands are made up of self-regulating associations to attempt to achieve the same stepping stones. Finian's first taste of glory was winning the Caribbean men’s championships in St. Croix, age fourteen. From there to eventually the PWA world tour, which he now competes still in the disciplines of slalom and speed. Spending his time between BVI, Hawaii and Europe you might say he has it made, but it’s all still in the making. The world speed record was taken back by kite surfers ( at 50.57 knots) and in true spirit, the windsurfers of the world with Finian as a proven contender – want it back.
Recently on a photo shoot in Anegada, there are many locations in the BVI to windsurf which Finian cites as probably the sailing capital of the world, not just the Caribbean. As a small collection of islands that are safe to travel to and from whilst enjoying great times, the roots of sailing are all still here and he remembers some of his buddies that he used to train with who are still here, still sail and spend time on the water.
To the youth and aspiring athlete, the question is really how do you get from the dream to the reality of being an international champion? Finian cites it as a determination , when everything feels lost , “ it was frustrating to really get through in windsurfing and I spent a lot of time lost and trying to get better, but most of that time growing up was spent on the water doing it and then off the water thinking about it.” Currently he recognizes the kit in today’s world has never been better or easier to use, with such a wide range. As in all sports, the ability for the professionals to use production models creates a grounding of the sport and a level that is realistic.
In the past, windsurfing has gone through major upheavals and economy and marketing has helped it but also burnt it out. These days equipment is of the biggest user range possible and several schools here on the island promote that. Though some will be drawn to competing, that is not necessarily the end goal. The BVI has many aspects of sailing; the disciplines chosen are supported by the whole sailing community. With Finian Maynard in windsurfing, he has taken and maintains a level of sportsmanship and dedication that is proudly backed by one of his main sponsors – the BVI Tourist Board. He is one of the few that has as much determination aged six, as aged thirty four, now with a family of his own.
Finian Maynard Bio
• Born in Dublin, Ireland on November 22nd, 1974
• Moved to the BVI in 1979 with parents Angelika Maynard (Resident) and Mike Burrill (BVIslander)
• Went to school at St. Georges and 'The Group' (now Cedar School) in Tortola and Antilles in St. Thomas
• Sailing under the BVI flag for 23 years since age 11, when all 100 miles of the HIHO were completed in 1986
• Turned part-time professional at age 15 after winning the men's Caribbean Championships in St. Croix at young age of 14. Member of the PWA World Cup as a full-time professional at age 18
• The only individual sailor to break four ISAF sanctioned WSSRC sailing speed records in history. Three 500 meter world records – 46.24, 46.82 & 48.70-knots. Nautical mile world record – 39.97-knots
• 6 windsurfing world titles in the speed and slalom disciplines. 23 career Top-3 World Cup podium finishes