Wednesday, May 5, 2010

J/80 SW NOOD Champion- Terry Flynn Interview

J/22 and J/80 sailor- Terry Flynn sailing
 SW NOOD Annapolis* Terry Flynn- a past J/80 World Champion had a great time in the recent SW Annapolis NOOD Regatta, in particular since he had long-time Texas friend Mark Foster sailing with him (a former 470 Champion with Mark Ploch and J/24 Champion, too).  Sailing World's Mike Lovett interviewed Terry, read on below:

With a first-time crew, Terry Flynn won the J/80 class—and the overall prize—at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD.  As the J/80 freight train rolls northward on its USA Tour, bound for the World Championships in Newport, R.I., in October, the class just keeps picking up steam. The 36-boat fleet at the 2010 Sperry Top-Sider Annapolis NOOD was the largest of the regatta's 16 divisions, and, arguably, the most competitive.

Over the course of eight races, four boats posted first-place finishes; Houston native Terry Flynn had just one bullet in his scoreline, but his team sailed with enough consistency to win both the division and the overall prize, which includes an invitation to compete in the NOOD Championship in the B.V.I. in November.

The Annapolis NOOD was the first time Flynn had sailed with his crew of David Whelan, Mark Foster, and Charlie Snyder, but the Quantum sailmaker had no trouble getting everyone on the same page. "Too many times, when it's your first time sailing together as a crew, everybody's real quiet the first race of the regatta, and you do terrible," says Flynn. "We made an effort to say, 'You start giving input, and if we don't want to hear it, we'll tell you."

With Foster and Snyder feeding information to Whelan, the tactician, Flynn was able to concentrate on steering the boat through the light wind and mixed-up chop on Chesapeake Bay. "I didn't do anything but drive," he says. "I put my head down, concentrated on keeping the boat moving, and listened to what they wanted me to do. I very rarely got involved in the tactical end of things. I'm pretty good at listening, and they're pretty good a putting me where we need to be.

"It's important for everyone on board to give feedback," continues Flynn. "I've been on boats where the tactician doesn't really share the information, he just kind of tells the skipper when to tack. But I think it's important that the skipper know the thought process. That way, it's not like, 'Why are we doing this?'"

Refined communication, uncharacteristically good starts—"I historically have terrible starts," says Flynn—and close attention to changes in wind speed propelled Flynn's team to victory. And, apparently, word is spreading that the affable Texan is a fun guy with whom to sail. "I've already had a few people come up and tell me they want to go to the B.V.I. to crew with me," he says.

Between now and November, Flynn will be competing in the J/80 North American Championships, the aforementioned Worlds, and the J/22 North American Championship. So there's a good chance that, by the time he hops aboard that Sunsail 39 in Tortola, Flynn could have a few more feathers in his cap—and a few more eager crew members.   More SW NOOD Regatta coverage.