Snettisham Beach Sailing Club took on an international flavour last week as part of the Finnish Military Sailing Team came to train and race at the club.
The World Military Games are being held in Mungyeong, Korea between October 2-11, with the sailing being in 2000 class dinghies. The strong fleet of 2000s at the club, together with a record of producing national champions in the class, led to the Finnish team of Janne Ikonen and Henri Koski contacting Commodore Adrian Tebbutt for help in their preparation as there were no 2000s in Finland. The club was happy to help and offered the loan of a boat, some practice opportunities and tuning help and the opportunity to race in one of the national Crewsaver Millenium Series races being held at the club last weekend.
Janne and Henri arrived in the UK on Wednesday and were introduced to the boat that evening before returning to sail the boat for the first time the following morning, accompanied by Tebbutt and Ed Napolitano in a sister boat for some competitive practice. After some familiarisation work and some practice races the Finns rapidly got up to speed and were showing their sailing skills to advantage. A further session on Friday morning, this time in very strong winds and a confused sea with large waves, saw the Finns and Tebbutt with regular crew Sue Falch-Lovesey out again for a morning of hard sailing, which was going to prove useful to both teams the following day for the Open meeting. On Friday evening Janne and Henri had the chance to discuss the finer points of boat tuning with current national champion Fergus Barnham and past national champion Jasper Barnham – helpful as crews at the games are simply given a boat that they have to set up for themselves from scratch.
The Open meeting saw boats from around the country arrive on Saturday morning. The practice from the previous two days obviously paid off for the Finnish pair with a third place in the first race on Saturday. An early return flight only gave opportunity to sail two races on Sunday but the team left the club with grateful thanks for the hospitality and promising to keep SBSC updated on their progress in Korea.