Free Beer

I always chuckle at those occasionally risqué brass signs you see adorning classic old wooden cruising yachts when you go down below. ‘Work like a captain…party like a pirate’ or ‘Daily flogging will continue until crew morale improves.’ I’m certain you have better. And the one that I saw on a member’s yacht parked on the Royal London YC’s pontoon this summer made me smile: “Free Beer…Tomorrow.”

Valeria Lebrun – Finn Masters Champion ©Robert Deaves

Well, down at the Finn Masters in Mar Menor Spain, it’s free beer today as the organisers have read the room correctly and laid on libations for gratis to the competitors who are there for more than just the racing on the water.

It’s wonderful to hear and the reports coming back are of a thoroughly enjoyable week of racing sailed amongst friends with high competition in all of the age categories. As class chronicler Robert Deaves wrote: “The racing has run on schedule and has been great, the weather has been superb, the water has been clean with fish swimming around your feet as you launch, the hospitality has been awesome, the parties have been memorable, the beach has been desirable, and the free beer has gone down a treat.

©Robert Deaves

Valerian Lebrun has absolutely aced this regatta and sits clear and untouchable going into the final day as Masters World Champion. Winning any regatta with a day to spare is a wonderful feeling. It usually means that you go out and sail like a drain on the final day or you take the wimp’s way out and pack your boat up. The adrenaline has gone. The fight has evaporated. Your regatta is done and only the prize-giving awaits but it’s a fantastic achievement by Lebrun who has dominated the week in the light conditions. The minor chocolates are all to play for today, the final day of the regatta.

©Robert Deaves

Much was made by readers of my first post on the regatta with regards the Super Legend title – those who are 80+and still sailing Finns. I said it then and I’ll say it again, what a terrific sport we’ve got where you can still compete in 108 boat fleets at foreign venues into your ninth decade on planet earth.

Richard Hart in action: ©Robert Deaves

The late, great Bob Fisher used to have a line about dinghy sailing in old age: “If you can still feel your knees and hike past 50, you’re a lucky bugger.” So it’s great to see Richard Hart from Great Britain doing the business in this regatta and still keeping the Finn flame burning. What a terrific performance and if he doesn’t get nominated for Seahorse Sailor of the Month in the next issue, then there’s something wrong in the world…

Richard Hart – Super Legend Champion ©Robert Deaves

Check out the videos of Day 3 and Day 4 below. What a fabulous scene. And what a huge loss to the Olympic family, the Finn is. World Sailing and the IOC should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

And I wonder when we’ll see the old gold medallists of recent times back in the class at a future Masters regatta – Coutts (84), Doreste (88), Van der Ploeg (92), Kusnierewicz (96), Percy (00), Ainslie (04, 08, 12) or Scott (16, 21) …now wouldn’t that be a great story.

3 thoughts on “Free Beer

  1. I saw a funny one on sale at the US Navy Museum here in DC— “I’m just a sailor, my wife is the admiral.”

    Has Coutts sailed the Finn at all since the Olympics? From his memoir in the 90s he made it sound like afterwards he went right to 18-foot skiffs and then big boats


    1. After the shenanigans at those Games where they tried to disqualify him for his clothing being too heavy when wet, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted out as quickly as possible!!


      1. It’s interesting that in his memoir he said that if the economy in New Zealand hadn’t been in a recession after the Olympics, he would have gone to work as an engineer instead of trying to make it as a pro.

        Imagine that sort of alternate universe! “Did you know Dr. Coutts from Rocket Lab used to be a competitive sailor back in the day? He actually won a gold medal at the Olympics and was almost in the America’s Cup in Fremantle! I wonder what would have happened if he’d kept at it?”


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