We caught up with Finn Lynch, Olympic sailor and Irish Sailing Performance Athlete, fresh off the plane from the Hempel World Sailing World Cup in Miami. Finn placed 10th overall in a Laser fleet of 101, becoming the first Irish man to reach a medal race in the Laser at a World Cup. With the Olympic qualifiers in July in Japan looming, we found out more about his plans, working with competitors, and that medal race.
Congratulations Finn and welcome home !
How did you feel on the morning of the medal race in Miami ?
Nervous and excited, because I knew that people would be watching the live feed. It is important to get medal race practice, so if I get to the medal race in Japan at Tokyo 2020, I have been there before. So it was great to get my first World Cup Medal race.
And how was it when you crossed the finish line?
Pretty disappointed because I didn’t feel I put together a good race. I saw it as a big opportunity to do something well with everyone watching but the race didn’t go as I saw it. From the bottom mark the race went badly.
Having sailed that race in light wind conditions, have you any tips ?
The conditions were special ! There were so many boats watching us and leisure craft enjoying the bay, so there were waves in all directions and the cross swell was a challenge.
Usually in light winds it turns into a height battle – who can sail closest to the wind and keep the speed. In these waves you had to keep up top speed all the time.
How do you prepare for racing ?
I focus on the race course. I try find my smartest friends on the water and we share our thinking.
So you work together with competitors from different countries ?
Absolutely. This regatta I was chatting with the Norwegian Hermann [Tomasgaard] before every race. He won the regatta and we trained together the last few months so it was good to share ideas.
What do you think you would be doing if you didn’t have competitive sailing and the Olympic goal?
I never had another goal in mind. Since I was 10 and watched my eldest brother compete in sailing, I already knew what I wanted to do. I would probably have done a generic college course and would be working as an intern somewhere now.
What do you give up to compete?
The whole college lifestyle. No random late nights or drinking sessions. It was a lot harder not to doing all the social fun things when I was younger (18/19), but now I have been to Rio and am a bit older I have naturally become more focussed and don’t really enjoy the whole drinking scene but enjoy the catch up with friends.
Do you have a message for the young sailors out there preparing for the season of sailing ahead?
For any young sailors who are serious about trying to get to get good at sailing I would say to make a choice now if you want to do it for real. When I look back now I see how many things I could have added to my training that would have progressed me much earlier (fitness training, sleep, nutrition,). If you want to go to the Olympic Games or win the Worlds – you can do it. But don’t do it halfway, the sooner you go 100% the better.