Ed Wright has moved to the top rung in the Finn Class. Here are a few words…
SA: Tell us a bit about your sailing background.
EW: I came from from the Laser but have sailed many different classes.
SA: Why did you choose to sail the Finn?
EW: The reason I chose the Finn is because I found it very hard to keep down to Laser weight. Then when i moved to the Finn I was amazed at what a great boat it is. It sails great, lots to tweak and there’s ample of power which I love in a boat. I like to come in from a days’ sailing and feel like my body had done something that day as well as my brain. And the sailors in the finn are a great group of people.
SA: When did you start to get an idea that you might be pretty good in the boat?
EW: Well it definitely was not the first time I went out! I was with Chris Brittle (even big for a Finn). It was 25 knots he told me, I reckon 35. We could hardly get out over the surf breaking over the harbor entrance but with a few failed attempts we made it. Over the next 3 hrs he proceeded to destroy me over and over again and I thought there is no way i can go that fast to beat him. I think that’s still true!
SA: Much is made of how brutal the Finn is to sail. Give us a rundown on your physical training regiment.
EW: Ya its pretty physical as you are hiking in 8 knots. So you have to be fit to make the boat go fast. I do a lot of sailing, cycling, and work hard with my personal trainer Steve Gent and Pete Cunningham overlooking my program. I Just tell them what weight I want to be. How much time I have and how fit I need to be and they devise a strategy to achieve it. As long as i do the work it seems to work.
SA: What do you think it is that separates you from the pack?
EW: Its all very close with the top sailors but maybe fitness-wise its a couple of things. I am lucky genetically and I actually am one of those guys who likes to be fit. I enjoy it. I love going out on my bike for a ride. If it was not for sailing I would do it anyway. Another thing might be the fact I hate losing and never give up. In respect to the gold cup I had a great team to work with. Ian Clingan coached me and I took local advice from a circle expert Don Jesberg on the boat each day. It worked out great. Also Matt Howard has been coaching the team all year and we all move a long way forward.
SA: Where would you say you are compared to Ben Ainslie in the Finn, right now?
EW: It will take me a long time to achieve what he has.
SA: How old are you and how long do you think you can remain competitive in the Finn?
EW: I am 32 and judging by my fitness levels at the last Gold Cup I probably have a while left in the finn. I have never been that strong or fit or hungry for it. I think only injury has stopped people racing at the top level so fingers crossed! And if you are fit I presume that’s less likely!
SA: Is your big sailing push now focused on the Olympics? And to that end, how will you get there?
EW: Yes. I will try to win everything and beat everyone and after the last gold cup I found keeping it simple is the ticket. Low risk, fast, and steady.
SA: With an eye towards the future, and combined with the recent AC announcement that it will be sailed in big multi’s, where do you see your next sailing endeavor headed.
EW: We will have to see what opportunities come along. I am open to many things.
SA: How do you fund your sailing? What do you do professionally, or beyond sailing?
EW: I am very lucky to be funded by Scandia Team GBR and all its partner. Along with that, UK Sport Lottery contribute towards my program. I also work hard coaching and sailing to make up the shortfall.
SA: Who are the other tough Finn sailors in the world?
EW: There are many tough guys in the Finn all sailing well in there conditions but a lot find it hard to sail fast in all conditions. Ivan (CRO) has been one of the most consistent this year. It was a very light year and being one of the lightest finn guys at 92kg (202lb) he has had a big advantage all year. I did not see him at the worlds apart from early in the week. Rafa was very fast all year and in all conditions. The Brits and French have been slotting them in. Zach had a great worlds along with Gasper. Birgmark is always a threat and great sailor. Ainslie had a hard event at sail for gold but he will be back strong soon.
SA: Tell us about your equipment and are there any clear advantages in any area?
EW: I have changed this year to Hit masts. Similar performance but I needed to increase mass for SF and the HIT masts take the weight a lot better in the light. But as with everything it’s hard to find really fast mast for the Finn. No real sail developments in the last 2 years as I used the same Ben used at the last games to win. A new mould from Devoti has helped the Finn class improve the downwind speed.
SA: Do you ever look at the Moth, and think that looks like a lot more fun than sailing a Finn?
EW: The moth looks fun and fast though it could be bigger and even faster! Although for me sailing is all about being close and almost having a chess game on the water to beat your competitors. I like close tactical racing. After the initial buzz of learning a new boat it all comes down to racing. Just like with relationships. After that honeymoon period you get back to the nitty gritty. Is there any substance? With the Finn there is.
SA: Let’s play word association. James Spithill
EW: Great helmsman
SA: Russell Coutts
SA: Zach Railey
EW: Good friend.
SA: San Francisco:
EW: Bring your hiking shorts.
SA: Sailing Anarchy:
SA: Big boats:
EW: Love it
EW: Stay away
EW: London 2012
SA: Thanks Ed!
EW: My pleasure.