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The Finkle Files- Great Stories By Don Finkle


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Long-time J/Sailing Veteran, J/Dealer and leader at RCR Yachts enjoyed his first J/70 regatta with his son Tim and friend Morgan Paxhia-- it was a family affair.  

Sunday, January 19
"When the editor asked me to write a blog for Quantum Key West Race Week, he failed to tell me that the other storytellers he chose were Jonathan McKee and Steve Hunt. I’m not sure I would have agreed to do this if I knew I was in such accomplished company. But even 'ham-and-eggers' like me have stories, so here we go.

Quantum Key West 2013 started for Team Junior last Monday as my wife Heather and I pulled out of Youngstown, N.Y. (near Niagara Falls) with our J/70 in tow.  So began a three-day drive, which was enjoyable for me but less so for her. The fog in the mountains of the Appalachians made for some hairy driving conditions. Plus, I had no idea there were so many 18-wheelers on the roads. We passed a couple of them in the ditch, which was even less reassuring to Heather….

One of the reasons for my downsizing from my 36-footer to the J/70 was the ability to travel more easily. My favorite part of sailing is doing travel regattas. To that end I wanted to tow down and back myself for the experience. We had already done that in November to Annapolis for the Fall Brawl Regatta, but that was only a one-day trip. Key West is a much bigger deal, but so far, it’s been well worth the trip---

Another reason I moved into the J/70 was so that I could sail with younger people, especially my family, who frankly have more fun on a sportboat. I’m 65 years old, and I’ve always sailed with multiple generations on our boats. I find sailing with younger people gives me energy. I’m clearly the weak link on our crew this week, but that is OK, the boys seem happy to put up with me-- at least so far.

Our youngest son Tim is the trimmer. His long-time friend Morgan Paxhia, who is family to us, is our driver. These two started sailing against each other in the Youngstown YC junior sailing program when they were about 10 years old and have been school classmates, buddies, and sailing friends for 20 years.

Morgan went off to sail in college at the University of Rhode Island, and Tim went to Connecticut College where he played hockey and lacrosse. The three of us sailed together on the J/70 in Annapolis in November and had a ball, but figured we'd be light for Quantum Key West so Morgan tabbed his former teammate from URI, Joey Mello, to be our fourth. Joey has been heavily involved in the 'Ninkasi' Melges 20 and Melges 32 programs. He’s our tactician, and that leaves me with the all-important tasks of passing up water and sandwiches, helping on the hoist and douse, making sure the Velocitek has batteries, and so forth. It all worked well on the practice day, now we get to see how we do when the fur starts to fly in earnest!"

Read on here on the Sailing World blogs:

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