RUHS sailors Micky Munns and Michael Fineman have their sights set on sailing in the 2018 International 420 (I420) World Championship in Newport RI, in August. Talent, grit and hard work have put them on a course that may enable them to test their skills against the world’s best sailors in the I420, a two person boat sailed by youth and adult sailors worldwide.
Remarkably, the young sailors have organized the six-month campaign that will lead to the east coast sailing capital (a term coined by Newport, RI locals) with limited outside help. It started when they began sailing Club 420s (C420) together in fall 2017.
The I420 is a more technical version of the C420. The I420 is also less popular, so there are fewer boats available to young sailors. I420s are so rare, when Munns/Fineman needed a boat for the West Coast Championship last November, they had to go all the way to San Diego. They finished fourth in that regatta after only a few hours of practice in a boat neither young man had sailed before.
That success planted the seed that grew quickly into the dream of taking on the world’s best. Big dreams often come with bigger challenges. The South Bay sailors soon discovered the opportunity to compete against the best in the world wasn’t going to be given to them. They were going to have to win it.
Good coaching can produce results in most sports, including sailing. Munns/Fineman found world-class coach Maru Urban the same place they found the boat, San Diego. Among other accomplishments, Maru coached the US Sailing team in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The young sailors worked with Maru for six days of intense training in December.
Their work with Maru will be put the test in January. The teammates will travel to Miami to compete in the North American I420 Championships. They go to Miami again in February for the I420 Midwinter Championships. Their scores for the two events will determine whether they go to Worlds next summer.
The South Bay team scans the field of competitors at the two upcoming qualifying events and they see sailors with decades more experience, better equipment and intimate knowledge of the local sailing venue. “It’s kind of an uphill battle,” Munns said.
They also see something much more clearly than those challenges. They see themselves standing on the podium with medals around their necks, proudly representing southern California and the South Bay. The smart money is betting on Munns/Fineman to make an impressive splash in waters off Newport, RI next summer.
Learn more about the I420 campaign and donate at www.gofundme.com/I420campaign.