Micky Munns and Michael Fineman are two fairly normal high school students. The two friends go to school, hang out, get good grades, and most recently, have decided to take on the world. No, these two aren’t mustache twirling villains with an appetite for destruction–they’re boat racing sailors, looking to make a splash against the best in their field.
The two Redondo Union High schoolers – Munns, a 14-year-old junior and Fineman, a 13-year-old freshman – met at the King Harbor Youth Foundation, a non-profit sailing school in Redondo Beach. There the two cut their teeth in the Club 420 (heavy, stiff, small two-man boats) boat racing world. They now sail out of Marina Del Rey.
Looking to test their mettle against stiffer competition (and plant the seeds for a hopeful future Olympic run), Munns realized the two would need to jump up to the International 420 class of boats (like the Club 420, but the i420s are lighter and more technical). Unable to afford the price of an i420 boat outright–a cost that can reach the sticker price of a late-200s used car–Munns and Fineman joined the Del Rey Yacht club to get closer to this class of boat.
With only two months of practice with this boat type at Marina Del Rey, the boys’ raw talent led them to a 4th place overall finish in the i420 Pacific Coast Championships.
The boys will now participate in the North American i420 Championship race in Miami, taking place this weekend, January 13th through 15th. It’s an event where, if Munn and Fineman place highly, will potentially lead them to their dream event, the i420 World Championships in Rhode Island.
“I have never competed on a stage as big as this before.” Micky Munns, the 14-year-old half of the dynamic sailing duo, said in an email. “Some of the other sailors have many more years in these boats. Some have even been to Worlds, so that’s a little intimidating.”
Despite the one-two punch of wunderkind talent from Munns and Fineman, these trips will require a sea not even these sailors can fully master — finances.
“One of the biggest myths around sailing is that only rich people sail,” says Harry Munns, Micky’s father. “Micky and Michael both come from middle class families with working parents. The cost of participation in a high school sailing program is comparable to other sports with travel teams.”
The stigma of “only rich people” sail is because, well, this sport is expensive. The elder Munns details that with the costs of coaching, boat charters, airfare, housing, and registration, the costs for a World Championship run spill well over $10,000. It’s an unfortunate barrier of the sport that can snuff out certain talents such as Munns and Fineman’s.
“Kids from families with modest means don’t often make it to the bigger, more prestigious events. It isn’t lack of talent or drive. They don’t go because they don’t have the money.”
Instead of throwing in the towel (err, lowering the sail?) on their dreams, Micky and Michael decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to help finance their immediate future competitions.
As of the printing of this article, they’ve raised $3,335 of their $11,000 goal.
Although the boys feel the weight of expectations on their shoulders (“people are investing in our dream; we feel like we can’t disappoint them”) they’ll be at ease once they’re doing what they do best.
“As soon as we get on the water, all that will go away because we’re confident in all the preparation we’ve done.”
To donate to the Fineman and Munns sail team, please visit their GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/I420campaign