History of the Finn Gold Cup

The Finn Gold Cup was presented to the International Finn Association by the late F. G. Mitchell of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Great Britain in 1956 and became the World Championship Trophy for the Finn Class. The late Joerg Bruder of Brazil won the cup three times. In 1973 while en route to defend his title in France, he was killed in an airplane accident and the original cup, which was in his custody at the time, was lost. Somms Marine of France presented a replica of the original cup to the Finn Class in 1975 which is used today to represent the highest honour in single-handed racing.

The Gold Cup is the most important part of the history of the Finn Class. The foundation of the IFA August 23, 1956 in Loosdrecht Holland was strongly influenced by the first Gold Cup March/April 1956 in Burnham-on-Crouch in England. From there on the Annual General Meeting of the IFA was generally at the time and place of the Gold Cup. Therefore the sportive and administrative climax of each year coincided at the Gold Cups.

In the beginning there was no limitation of numbers of entries to the Gold Cup. Because of the difficulties at the starting lines in 1961 and 1962, the number of participants in the Gold Cup 1963 in Medemblik was limited to 15 boats per nation. In 1964 in Torquay there were 10 entries per nation allowed. In 1964 the idea was considered to have the Gold Cup divided into two weeks of racing, one week of eliminations and a second week with those qualified. The idea was finally rejected. By 1965 it was agreed to allow again 15 boats per nation. In 1969 in Bermuda a new regulation was decided upon. A basic quota of 3 boats was granted to each member country, plus 1 entry for each 25 paid IFA dues, up to a maximum of 15 boats per nation. In 1971 this system was altered, the minimum being 2 boats per nation. In 1973 the IYRU tried to reduce the number of entries to 60 boats. The IFA refused. The system remained unchanged and national secretaries were allowed to enter above the national quota in addition. By 1974 it was agreed, that the top 10 individual finishers of the previous Gold Cup are allowed to enter above the national quota.

The proportional system, relating number of paid IFA dues to the number of entries to the Gold Cup and the European Championship was changed again in 1977. By 1978 the IYRU tried again to enforce a limitation of 60 boats, but the IFA decided, it would try to find a way to circumvent this rule. In 1980 the proportions between number of IFA fees paid and number of entries allowed was changed once again. In 1982 it was decided, that the basis should be the average of the fees paid in the last three years. The Gold Cup races together with the European Championships turned out to be the best indicator for any new technical development of the Finn Class.

In the first 5 Gold Cups 1956-l960 only wooden boats were allowed. When GRP was permitted in 1961 and plastic boats ended up lst, 2nd and 3rd, the Finn class ran into a severe crisis. Many owners of older wooden boats were afraid, that their equipment had been totally outmoded. In addition Arne Akerson won the 1962 event with the boat of Fred Miller jun., which Rickard Sarby found to behave very different from an ordinary Finn dinghy in the waves. The measurement committee of the Gold Cup 1962 found several kilos of hidden lead in that magic boat, a fact which raised further objections against plastic boats. It was felt, that it was too easy to cheat in GRP.

And then in 1964 Hubert Raudaschi won the Gold Cup in his home made wooden boat and thus turned backward the wheel of Finn development for almost a decade. After two years of experimenting with his own GRP development, Willy Kuhweide bought back his old wooden Finn and won the Gold Cup twice. After Raudaschi and Kuhwei- de, also the late Jorg Bruder used wooden hulls to demonstrate the qualities of this traditional material. In the mid seventies GRP hulls with soft wooden decks proved to be most successful and from the late seventies on the full GRP hulls were leading in the Gold Cups, dominated finally by Vanguard.

In regard with masts the development was less confusing. The traditional wooden masts were outmoded by special wooden Bruder spars by 1969. In that same year Jack Knights showed up with an aluminium spar at the Gold Cup in Bermuda for the first time. In 1972 Jorg Bruder himself won the Gold Cup with his own alumini- um-mast. From then on only aluminium masts were used by the winners of the Gold Cup, and Needlespar masts gained a complete domination of the Finn market.

In regard with sails up to 1959 only cotton was allowed. Thereafter Dacron was used exclusively up to 1984. In the late sixties Raudaschl sails dominated the Finn events in combination with Bruder masts. In the late seventies early eighties North sails gained a similar dominance.

Outstanding individuals in the history of the Gold Cup are:

Joerg Bruder of Brazil won the Cup three times consecutively in 1970/1971/1972 and was second in 1969;

Willy Kuhweide of FRG three times in 1963/1966/1967;

Lasse Hjortnaes three times in 1982/1984/198;

Andre Nelis of Belgium won the Cup twice in 1956/1961, was second three times in 1958/1959/1960, and third twice in 1957/1962, thus he finished seven years among the top three;

However all of this has been overshadowed in recent years when Ben Ainslie won the Finn Gold Cup four years in succession (2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005) and again in 2008.

 

The Full results archive can be found here: http://www.finnclass.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=9

 

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