The third edition of the annual Finn Masters Magazine has been described as the best yet. As the number of Finn sailors entered for the 2016 Finn World Masters gets ever close to 400 (last count was 384), the 2016 Finn Masters Magazine provides a great insight into what makes the Finn Masters scene so popular among sailors of all abilities, nationalities, ages and backgrounds.
As well as bringing news from the past year and previews of the upcoming championships in Torbole and Barbados, this issue includes interviews with a range of new and old Finn Masters who describe their experiences and what makes the Finn World Masters so special.
2015 Finn Masters World Champion, Vladimir Krutskikh from Russia, who won the title on his debut appearance, says “The Finn World Masters has a very high level of competition and a strong mood of competitiveness during the race, while all are friends just after you finish a race. Everybody is ready to help you, and you are feeling yourself as member of a big family on ashore. I also like that the regatta has so many participants. It is a real adventure to sail in such a big fleet.”
Runner up Dmitry Petrov, also from Russia backed this up, “The atmosphere, which predominates in races and ashore, is the biggest motivation for me to race the Finn and to come to World Masters. But also it gives motivation to keep in good shape, and we are having fun by competing in the Finn. Every day was like holiday.”
Former Finn sailor, but not yet a Master, Ross Hamilton looks at physical training and conditioning for the older athlete. “The general perception is that the older you get the weaker you become. This is not the case. Studies looking at the response to training in an untrained elderly population vs. untrained young adults showed the elderly to have a greater positive response to training. The reason being that they are more sedentary than young adults. They have a greater response because they have more to gain.”
The 2016 Finn World Masters is receiving a large number of entries from sailors who have come back to the class after an Olympic career and then going off to do something else. One of these is Tim Tavinor who says, “The Finn is a successful boat and remains a successful boat because it is just basically a beautiful boat. The Masters circuit is just so well supported by people that have previously raced Finns at different levels because they just love the Finn. They’ll go off and sail different things, and always have fond memories, but they always come back to the Finn to meet up with their old friends.”
One Finn Master who hopes to do more Finn sailing now is Jan van der Horst, who has sold his successful HIT Masts business. He talks about the early years of carbon masts and how the company developed, and why he has now moved onto other things.
“Our policy was never to leave the customer without a mast. If a mast broke due to manufacturing issues it was quickly replaced without any costs.” Quite possibly was this the main reason that Finn sailors were willing to take the risk with the new HIT Mast. When Jan brought 20 masts to a regatta, and laid them out against a washhouse wall for all to see he sold them all within the shortest time. “The start-up costs were perhaps a bit high, but the demand was immense. The first batch of masts sold like hotcakes, especially when the race results began to reflect the performance of the mast. That Larry Lemieux won the Masters twice with a HIT carbon mast was enough to convince the doubters. Suddenly everyone wanted one.”
Several former Olympians and Olympic campaigners returned to the Finn in 2015 and even more are expected in 2016. One of them was Paul McKenzie, who represented Australia at the Olympics in 1996. He said of his first Masters experience, “This regatta was the most fun I’ve had for a long time. I was back in the boat I love, with a lot of the old mates and racing on pretty even physical terms (everyone is aching somewhere). Even the attitude of the sailors was better than usual. No-one really got upset about a bad race or too carried away with a good one. These mature sailors know how to turn on for the racing and off between and after racing. Some of the Olympic aspirants would perform better if they could do the same. I was on a high all week: meeting up with our old mates and spending a week together doing what we like.”
The Finn World Masters is rapidly becoming one of the most high profile sailing events in the world, with rock star names returning or jumping in to find out what it is all about – and all being pleasantly surprised – as well as first class venues such as Torbole and Barbados to showcase a master class in athletic sailing.
This issue has been produced with the generous support of the Fantasica Sailing Team, Devoti Sailing, Dinghy Racing Centre, Doyle Raudaschl Sails, HIT Trailers, HiTech Sailing, North Sails, Pata Finns and Masts, Pantaenius, Petticrows, Sandiline, Suntouched, Tihany Sailing Club (the) - host of the 2016 Finn Masters Euro Cup, WB-Sails, Wilke and Zhik.