Arif Gurdenli

The 2003 Finn Clinic took place in Cadiz just before the Gold Cup, with  participation from China, Japan and France.

The program had intensive content, both on shore and on the water. The mornings were covered by classroom work, where Luca Devoti, Ben Ainslie and Sebastien Godefroid were the guest speakers.

On the water (2-4 hours per day) sail trim, speed testing, boat handling drills (mark rounding, tacking, gybing), start drills, short races were the focus areas.


Luca's lecture was on boats, rigs and tuning : all the secrets for a fast Finn. (9th Sept)

Optimum weight for a Finn sailor

These days the optimum weight seems to be around 103. This may be down to 95 as minimum, and up to 115 as max. to be competitive.

Centreboard pin position

In general, heavy guys can move the pin forward where the lighter sailors would prefer to move it back. Also in light winds it would be faster to move it forward and would be faster to move back in heavy winds.

Deck ring position

Considering Devoti boats, 1 big + 1-2 small pieces of blocks would be ideal in from of the mast ring. In heavy wind the ring can be placed more forward and in light winds could be moved aft.

Mast rake

More technology is involved in the rake measurement. A tape is still used but a weight system seems to be more accurate.

With a tape, 6.77 metre would be an average rake. Using a cord of leach length where an electronic scale is attached at the end, boom is positioned on deck and the load is measured as 37 kg for an average measurement. This can go down to 32-33 kg as a minimum (by raking the mast aft).

In flat waters and light winds you can rake the mast more back and in choppy conditions more forward.

Mast types

Two type of masts seem to dominate the class these days:

a) Diamond shape; can deliver more consistent masts according to the required measures. Since the shape is more symmetrical and the draft position is in the middle, it's easier to build the mast to the numbers. Also the centre of gravity may be slightly lower. These masts have quick response (more nervous)

b) Teardrop shape; may have a better aerodynamic shape to produce a narrower angle of attack on the sail. This type of masts is more difficult to produce to the required numbers. Therefore, would be vise to get the numbers of already built masts and choose in between. These masts are slower in reaction.

Mast deflection

Most sailors and sailmakers test the masts by supporting the mast at the bottom and at the deck ring, then by attaching 12 kg at the tip.

Fore/aft measures:

Tip deflection (difference of mast tip position before attaching the 12 kg, and after attaching it); 49 cm is stiff - 52 cm is on the softer side.

Middle deflection; 110 (stiff) - 125 (soft)

An all-round mast (fore/aft); 86 mm at 1/4 - 117 mm at 1/2 - 86 mm at 3/4 with 51.5 cm tip deflection

Side to side measures:

Tip deflection; 37 (stiff) - 42 (soft)

Middle deflection; 115 (stiff) - 130 (soft)

3/4 deflection; 90-93% of middle deflection

An all-round mast (side to side); 127 mm at 1/2 - 92% at 3/4 with 39 cm tip deflection.


North Sails have a firmer cloth and is built for relatively stiffer masts.

Victory Sails have softer clothes, need more mast bend in the middle.

In general, best would be to decide on one sail and stick with it, since the feelings are very different.

1 mm of change in the mast curve (by the measurement) may result in 0.8 mm change in luff curve of the sail.

Many thanks to Luca.


Sebastien's lecture was on fitness: must do for all Finn sailors. (10th Sept)

Balance seems to be the most important idea in the physical preparation. In sailing certain muscles work more than the others and they are more developed. During the workout program, it's more important to focus on unused parts of the body, to develop those muscles. This will result in a better performing body in the long term (over a busy season)

Before starting a training program it's very critical to find a good physio man who can analyse you, your movements in a Finn and can come up with a specific program to your needs.

In general, before developing your most needed muscles in a Finn, it's necessary to develop the opposite muscles to those.

Resting is a very important aspect of the total preparation. When the regatta season is over, one month of resting (in October) , with little exercises would be good.

In November, starting a heavy physical training with 3 sessions a day, 6 days a week

Program type-A (in a day)

1st session; cardio by 2 hours bike or 1 hour run

2nd session; Gym for about 1.5-2 hours.

3rd session; Trunk (upper body) workout

Program type-B (in a day)

1st session; cardio intervals (focus on speed - explosion)

2nd session; gym for about 1.5-2 hours.

3rd session; stretching

In December, include sailing in the training program after the cardio session in the morning. On sailing days, gym work can be combined with trunk workout after sailing session.

In January, it's good to travel to warm countries for more on the water training and regattas. Less cardio work and opposite muscles workout (heavy weight less reps) in the gym should be integrated in the program. Longer sailing sessions replace cardio time.

In February, training type turns to speed/quick and active sessions in gym and cardio. On the water focus on short racing and start drills by doing your best (maximum effort) for shorter periods. Closer to the regatta season focus more on the shorter, quicker training style with more effort in a shorter time interval.

Sailing season; focus on 3-4 major regattas (like Hyeres, Europeans, Worlds). Train really hard for 3 weeks before your important regatta. During your important regattas stop your cardio and gym work. In other regattas, gym and cardio work should continue as before. Therefore, it's important to find a good gym as the first thing when you arrive at the venue.

Between regattas, take a rest, by sailing just 1-2 times a week. Fitness training continues.

Heart rate: Keep track of your heart rate in the night. If the difference between night and day is high, you're doing well.


Strong breakfast with lots of carbohydrate is essential.

No fat before sailing.

Lots of drinks during sailing, especially in light wind and hot days. Rehydration specific drinks are good in such days. In long days of sailing, energy drinks can be included as well.

Protein rich meals could be eaten 30 min. after training.

Carbo intake is necessary during gym training.

Many thanks to Sebastien.


Ben's lecture was on Regatta preparation: should be considered by anyone with big goals (11th Sept)

For a good preparation of an important regatta, logistics are very important. Finding a good place to stay, a gym, restaurants to your taste, nice pubs etc. that can make you feel relaxed after a long and stressful day is needed.

To get used to the conditions, three weeks would be a good time in advance. More than 3 weeks would be boring and cause demotivation during the regatta. During the three week period, focusing on wind patterns, wave types, small racing. Spending 3-5 hours on the water is good enough.

If you really focus on the regatta, coming to the same location and training 3-5 months before could be very positive. For the 2003 Worlds, Ben was in Cadiz in March.

Extra info by Ben

Few things to consider in downwind :

- After rounding the windward mark, do not gybe too soon. This will help you in keeping clear wind.

- Boom vang tension is more crucial on reaches than on the run.

- Keep 1/4 of the centreboard down on the run, where 1/2 could be down in reaches.

- Using the rudder is very slow downwind. Keeping the balance of the boat while playing the waves to have minimum rudder action is very critical.

- Planning down the wave, keeping the boat flat or slightly to leeward seems faster.

Many thanks to Ben.



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