Widespread acclaim for new Finn book


Launched in November 2009, ‘Photo FINNish – 60 Years of Finn Sailing’ has attracted widespread acclaim from Finn fans and readers worldwide.




Launched in November 2009, ‘Photo FINNish – 60 Years of Finn Sailing’ has attracted widespread acclaim from Finn fans and readers worldwide.


The book brings together a complete photographic history of the class, with images from every year since 1949 along with fascinating and personal accounts from more than 60 exceptional sailors in a unique exposé of Finn sailing and Finn sailors.


Contributors include Paul Elvstrøm, Paul Henderson, Hans Fogh, Valentin Mankin, John Bertrand, David Howlett, Peter Harken, Jose Luis Doreste, John Cutler, Jose Maria van der Ploeg, Henry Sprague, Hubert Raudaschl, Oleg Khoperski, Stig Westergaard, Jochen Schümann, Cam Lewis, Stuart Childerley, Xavier Rohart, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Luca Devoti, Iain Percy, Ben Ainslie, Gilbert Lamboley, Zach Railey and many, many more.


The book takes the reader from the boat’s designer Rickard Sarby launching the first Finn in Uppsala in Sweden in 1949, full circle through to the 60th anniversary regatta back there in September 2009.


Here’s what people have said so far:

“Robert Deaves has done a terrific job of pulling together some great photos and stories from the Finn class
over the past 60 years. It was great fun recently to review the book with PJ Montgomery and former American
Finn sailors Scott MacLeod and Cam Lewis. The Finn is such a competitive class and has helped in developing
some of the top sailors in our sport including Olympic legend Paul Elvstrom through to most recent Olympic
Gold medalist Ben Ainslie. My years in this class were an important chapter in my sailing career and the catalyst for other
sailing opportunities. The book does a great job capturing what is so special about the class.”   Russell Coutts

“...a fantastic document...”   Bert Sarby

“Exceptional. A magnificent record for world sailing.” Peter Montgomery

“A good read. Excellent work.” Peter Bentley

“Epic, magnificent, fantastic.” Vernon Stratton

“An absolute triumph” Peter Danby

“Brilliant. A masterpiece” Philippe Rogge


As well as the softback edition, the book was also produced in a special edition hardback version and there are still a small number of these left.

This priceless and unique book can be ordered through the Finn Class website for GBP 25 (GBP 60 for the hardback) plus postage

Order now at the Finn Shop while stocks last.


Sample pages can be seen at http://issuu.com/robert124/docs/sample_pages


Right: At the 2009 World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco, Kiwi broadcaster Peter Montgomery presented copies of the book to former Finn heroes Cam Lewis, Russell Coutts and Scott MacLeod.


Extracts from the book:


Stig Westergaard: It was not until the Gold Cup that year, in Marstrand, where I ended up seventh, second best Dane, beaten only by Lasse Hjortnæs who won, that I actually got the feeling that the pinnacle was not that far away. I wondered about how to beat Lasse, who was triple world champion. I still did not have any money. Here in these closed circles I can reveal that I financed that year’s Gold Cup by filling the car with strong Danish beer, and selling it to the local Swedes. So with no money to make my case, I instead fell in love with the ‘Finnster way’.


Oleg Khoperski: In 1984 we went to Cuba just before the Olympic Games to do some training. Once, a serious storm came through while we were at sea. Everyone broke masts, ripped their sails, and could barely come to shore. I had no chance to get safely back to shore except to go around Varadero. I had to sail 36 km and it took five hours. The wind was strong, about 20 metres per second, and steep waves some 6 metres high. It was physically hard and dreadful. I could have easily died at any moment and I had to really concentrate on the waves. At the end of the peninsula it was very shallow and each wave had a crest. I had to bear off to a run – this was really terrible. Sailing at maximum speed, I tried to avoid the waves and it was the only thing that helped me to survive. By the time I got back, the people on shore had lost all hope of me surviving. They had even put candles on the table in memory of me.

Ed Bennett: In 1971 I met John Bertrand ‘Australia’ at the Midwinters in Tampa Bay, Florida. Later that year he called and asked if he and wife, Rasa, could stay with us and do some training prior to his going home for the Australian trials. I lived a couple of blocks from the St Francis Yacht Club and owned two boats great for the purpose. The first day (Saturday) we sailed on alternate tacks, traded boats and started the process. I recall being faster on either tack and either boat that day. The following week I spent at work while John spent eight hours a day sailing all over the bay and brought himself up to speed. During the evenings, after some wine, we practised leaning over to get our medals. On Saturday we repeated the either tack, either boat programme. John was way faster, proving that time on the water, even if alone, is a winner. John won his trials and I won ours the following year. John’s leaning-over practice almost paid off – fourth in 1972 and a medal in 1976. I was much further back.


Cam Lewis: I sobered up about midnight and went to find out the results. Sure enough, these two had done me in. The race had been tossed. Well, I rose to the task, played mental warfare on JB (I’m not sure if he got involved in the protest) like he played on me. He would make sure I had to follow him from the beach to start area every day. I found him reading ‘Inner Game of Tennis’ at 1977 Laser worlds, so I bought a copy and read it. I had my boat all rigged and covered and ready by sunrise.


Peter Harken: Enter John Christianson, a world-class measurer and his jig. John gushed with compliments about the boat, its construction, finish and workmanship. After completing his task, his expression became beatific and, looking Peter, Olaf, and Mitch straight in the eye, he pronounced, “It’s a beautiful boat you’ve got there, truly magnificent – too bad it’s not a Finn.” The boys were devastated and didn’t know what to say or do. Fortunately, it was a minor problem and quickly remedied; but to John, 1 mm out at the bow and it was another boat. Subsequently, John Bertrand, of Australia, and Bill Allen, of E-Scow fame, took the first two Vanguard Finns to Southern Yacht Club for the North American Championships and finished first and second in the regatta.

Peter Holmberg: I arrived in Pusan a virtual unknown and hoped for a top ten result. In practice before the Games I had great speed against the favourites, so I started to feel good about my chances. Then, while inspecting all my gear a few days before the Games started, I found a crack in the back of my mast at the deck ring. So I switched to the one back-up mast I had purchased a few months before, but my speed was not the same. So the big decision – to go with my damaged mast and risk failure or go with the back up. I decided to go with the cracked rig and take my chances. I wanted a medal.


Luca Devoti: He won and I tailed in. The crowd went wild; the big man was emotional and put his arms around me and told me, “It is your turn to go and win this time.” I don’t know if it was that moment, if it was the end of a long path of growth that Finn sailing forced me to go through, but it really happened; and, like all over my sailing career, I made friends there that I still have today. The Finn is such a tough challenge, at times so brutal that you end up respecting your competitors, and learn about your limits.

Zach Railey: The first day I ever sailed a Finn, we practised off Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the Atlantic Ocean in 20-25 knots and an 8 ft swell. I remember thinking to myself as I sailed out the pass, “This is either going to end really well or really badly.” For the next three hours I had one of the best sailing experiences of my life.


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