Alone on the water a single gust of wind grows more powerful, building momentum and strength while its incandescent spirit charges through steering currents seeking anything but the inevitable landfall. The sheer chutzpah and character of this rising force on the water cannot be denied and is only lightly diminished by the odd hats this solo sailor wears.
Straight back from the double handed Trans-Atlantic race, the Transat Jacues Vabre, and after having put nearly 20,000 lifetime ocean miles under his belt, New Orleanian Ryan Finn took a few minutes of his time over cocktails at the Saint to answer some pressing questions for NOYC’s vast audience.
NOYC.org – So, how’s your house?
Finn – Soaked.
NOYC.org - I hear that people were asking you for your autograph in France – true?
Finn -Yep, it’s true. The French public loves shorthanded sailing, and on a daily basis thousands of people would come to the basin and watch us do the most boring things like cleaning the boat or taping up shrouds. Even so, it was a privilege for me to be a part of.
NOYC.org - What's your vision for the future of the New Orleans levee system?
Finn - Simple, our levees should not break. I know that was the vision last time, but this time we need a little more conviction. And in the bigger picture, but just as urgently, we need to start working to reverse coastal erosion in Louisiana. On a daily basis we are becoming more and more vulnerable to hurricanes such as Katrina.
NOYC.org - Should NOYC keep the vaulted ceilings in the bar?
Finn - Yes. We finally have a bar that could be considered trendy. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the post apocalyptic look is in this season. It’s a big step up from the Lion’s Club aesthetic, which Katrina seemed to have particular disdain for in yacht clubs across the Gulf Coast.
NOYC.org - What are these rumors I hear about you getting involved with an Open 60?
Finn - I am currently searching for a sponsor for the Velux 5-Oceans race. Ultimately I want to do the 2008 Vendee Globe, an Open 60’ race, but for the Velux race I am keeping my options open to either an Open 50 or 60.
NOYC.org - Under what conditions would you beat Bad Dog head-to-head on a Finn?
Finn - I raced against him early in his Finn career and was able to beat him, but that was some time ago. My new strategy is to wait a week or two for old age to catch up to him before I sail against him again.
NOYC.org - What was the most excruciating moment for you on the Transat Jacques Vabre?
Finn - Saying goodbye to Katie and my Dad before the start, because I knew it was going to be a very long and difficult race.
NOYC.org - Word on the street is that your girlfriend was a little nervous helming the boat a couple of days before the start of the Transat, what's up with that?
Finn - It was actually the morning of the start, and Katie was probably feeling a bit of pressure sharing a small space behind a sea wall with the most expensive Open 50’s and 60’s in the world. It was also blowing around 25 knots at the time.
Triplett – No, it was easily 30++.
NOYC.org - With the obvious success of the Sugar Bowl Regatta over the years, how do you feel about CSA's goal to create and host the Bayou Classic Regatta?
Finn - The more racing there is on the lake the better.
NOYC.org - What's the best advice that you can give to Riley Stogner in order to help him overcome his obvious shortcomings in sailing J Boats fast?
Finn - I suggest he reads Dianetics. It changed my life. Would you believe me if I told you that Rod Johnstone was a Scientologist?
NOYC.org – Probably. Has anybody ever confused you with Tony Hawk?
Finn - No, and especially not while on a skateboard.
NOYC.org - What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say “Pave the Lake”?
Finn - Dude, the lake chop would make awesome little launch ramps.
NOYC.org – Thanks for taking the time for us Ryan.
Finn – No problem dude.