Please select your home edition
Edition
Safety at Sea - Baltic - 1

Rio Olympic Games 2016 - Finn class in Brazil

by Robert Deaves on 27 Feb 2013
New Brazilian Finn 2013 Jorge Rodriques
The next Olympics Games are being held in Rio in 2016. The approach of an Olympic Games normally has a positive influence on activities in the host country and this is proving to be especially true of the Finn class in Brazil.

Just over four years ago we reported on the joint initiative between Brazil, Pata Boats of Hungary and the International Finn Association to import a mould into Brazil to start building boats there for the first time in more than three decades.
The success story of that initiative continues and the class recently held its most successful National Championship in many decades. While numbers are still small compared to some European countries, it attracted 26 boats, out of a total of 36 Finns actively racing in the country, to three days of competition on the Guarapiranga Lake, in Sao Paulo.

The strength of the class was underlined by fact that most of the boats being raced were new boats built in Brazil on the back of the 2008 initiative. While there are still some imports from Europe, the sheer cost – in terms of duties and transport charges – and complexity of this has meant the unmitigated success of the home build project. Before 2008 the class had very little growth because the cost of importing a boat was almost the same as the cost of the boat itself.
The fleet at Guarapiranga included boats from the three centres of Finn sailing in Brazil. There were boats from Rio, Sao Paulo, and from the fledging fleet growing in the capital Brasilia.


There was a complete mix of conditions over the three days, but favourite, the 2012 Olympian Jorge Zarif, took the title from the returning Bruno Prada. Andre Mirsky ended up third after Prada sailed a great last day to snatch second place.

Zarif took six race wins out of the seven races (Prada took the other race win) to dominate the competitive and expanding fleet. Further growth is expected over the next three years as the country and the fleet prepare for the Olympics.

New boats - The man behind the 2008 project was Jorge Rodrigues, though most of the new boats were built by the local boatbuilder Holos under his guidance. Jorge is now the new National secretary of the class as well as being involved in ‘Apoio Rio 2016’, a training support organisation for sailors and federations wishing to locate in Rio.

After the first dozen of so boats were built Jorge felt that the boat could be improved, so set about designing and building a new boat. Because the cost of Holos doing the work was so high, he started work himself and the first boat has recently been launched.

'I started to work by myself to develop this new boat last year. It took me 10 months of hard work to complete the job, but right now I have a new set of moulds for this new model.'

'I built a single hull to test it as a prototype. The new boat was sent to sail in the windiest region in Rio for a good structural test, and the boat went without any problem and without a single drop of water inside the hull. I am right now working with the class to see how will we measure and approve the new boat to allow me to sell it to our market.'

'We also built a few masts here and we are still working to have a competitive mast for sailors in all weight ranges. We produced good masts for light or heavy sailors, but we still need to produce a mast with good numbers for the average sailors, from 90 to 100 kg.'

'The first mast built here was very soft and only performs well for light sailors and in light winds. The second mast, after some fine tuning, sanding some areas and reinforcing in others was very good, and this mast won a local regatta in Rio with four races and nine boats competing.'

'After this we went to Brasilia to race there and a local sailor, Juliando Camargo, liked the mast performance and decided to buy it. Some time ago Juliando also bought the first boat that we built and is the first helmsman to compete with both a boat and mast nationally built for a long time. He went to compete at our nationals and he got the best race position of all the boats we have built.'

'Unfortunately, on the last leg of the first race of our Nationals, a very strong wind caused many sailors to capsize or rip their sails, and Juliando lost his precious sail that was perfectly matched to his mast. He finished fifth in the race but the sail was not usable, though he had proved the mast was fast.'

Jorge says the mast project is a bit behind schedule, but a new mould is being planned, maybe built by Holos, and masts should be readily available in Brazil soon.

As for sails, one local sail builder tried to develop a sail but most sailors prefer to buy their sails from North Sails Argentina.

Brazil has a long history and tradition in the Finn class. Its most famous Finn sailor was Jorg Bruder who was tragically killed in a airplane crash in 1973 while travelling to Brest to defend his world title for the third time. The country has twice hosted the Finn Gold Cup, the last time in 2004 when Ben Ainslie famously equalled Bruder’s record of three consecutive wins that had stood for 30 years.

The current big name in the class is Jorge Zarif, and for anyone with aspirations to represent Brazil in the Finn class in 2016, Zarif is currently the one to beat.


The recent return of former Finn sailor and double Olympic Star medalist Bruna Prada has added a new ingredient to the mix, and though he won the opening race in January at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, has yet to make a final decision on a full campaign. Though the numbers were low, it was a competitive week that gave Zarif the bronze, while Prada finished in seventh. On their return to Brazil, Zarif was again dominant at the Brazilian Sailing Week in Rio, winning nine of the ten race series.

Zarif said on his performance in Miami, 'It was good in general, and I was happy with the bronze. It was hard because I was always coming from behind, so you have to work harder in the free pumping to win positions. We always had the same guys in the front, one point was super important.'

'The downwind was nice, so I gained a few positions in critical moments, but the upwind was not so good. We are working to improve that for Palma.'

He has not been full time since the Olympics saying, 'I had some surgery in my knee after the Olympics, so I have been training for just two months. The downwinds are much better than before.

'I am training with Bruno Prada and coach Rafa Trujiillo in Rio. It’s been great for us. Neither of us likes to lose so the training has been very hard. He has experience and he knows very well what you need to do to have good results, so I am trying to learn from him. We are having good times training and we are good friends. It helps a lot.'

Prada commented, 'I am happy to be sailing the Finn again. After just starting to sail the Finn two months ago I am happy with my upwind, and very impressed with the free pumping downwind, but I need to train a lot.'

Since he last sailed a Finn at the 2004 Finn Gold Cup in Rio, he has only sailed Stars and big boats. Was it hard to come back? 'I felt old...most of the sailors are at least 15 years younger. The biggest change has been the downwind free pumping for sure. A nightmare…'

While his Star helm Robert Scheidt has already been making his mark back in Lasers, was there an agreement between the two to try different classes for 2016? 'Robert needs to eat a little bit more to become a Finn sailor...he is 80kg. He told me that he will try the Laser again. As I was nine years without sailing dinghies, my plan is to do one year of hard sailing, and then evaluate if I am able to go ahead.' However, of course, both are still hoping for another chance in the Star.

'Jorge and I are training together. He is a big, young, talented sailor and with a lot of motivation. It is very good training with him. Rafa Trujillo is coaching us. He is a great coach and he is helping a lot.'

Olympic training - To help sailors, both Brazilian and from overseas, familiarise themselves to the conditions both inside and outside Guanabara Bay, the class is running its next three National Championships in Rio.

Rodriques said, 'The class decided that we will have the next three Brazilian Nationals in Rio de Janeiro as a way to encourage all Finn sailors to get to know the racing area for the Olympic Games of 2016, in Guanabara Bay.'
'We are also interested in hosting the 2015 Finn Gold Cup here in order to provide the Finn sailors some regattas and training for those who will compete in 2016. The idea would be to hold State Championships, Brazilian Nationals, South Americans and the Gold Cup in sequence, to provide various opportunities for sailing here.'

He is also involed, together with fellow Finn sailor Colin Reed, with the Apoio Rio 2016, (literally ‘Help Rio 2016’), initiative which offers help to sailors and national authorities looking to train in Rio prior to the Olympics. He said, 'Apoio Rio 2016 has been set up to work in conjunction with FEVERJ (Rio de Janeiro Sailing Federation) and other established Brazilian sailing federations, to provide the operations side of team training support.'

Describing some of the problems they will face, 'At present training facilities do not exist, but there are resources available. It will also be virtually impossible to find space for team containers on site in any of the host clubs. All clubs have very little spare space. It’s the one thing they don’t have.'

Logistics is the major problem but hopefully the solution is in sight, with Apoio Rio 2016 in negotiations to provide the required facilities. The initiative offers a wide range of services to visiting sailors and federations. A full presentation document, including detailed Rio weather information and contact information, is available on the Finn website.

X-Yachts AUS X4 - 660 - 1Mondo Travel - Americas Cup Tour - 4885Henri Lloyd 50 Years

Related Articles

Vendée Globe – Thomson locked in battle for first place
Alex, who has been locked in battle with Armel Le Cléac'h, was sitting in second place as he passed the half way mark Alex, who has been locked in battle with Frenchman Armel Le Cléac'h since the race began on November 6th, was sitting in second place as he passed the half way mark - the tip of New Zealand’s south island.
Posted today at 5:57 pm
Entries open for another Classic Milang Goolwa Race
The Freshwater Classic is a must-do race for hundreds of families from around the State, that is a unique experience. The Freshwater Classic is a must-do race every year for hundreds of families from around the State, that is a unique experience for all yachties. The 2016 race attracted nearly 200 boats with over 1,000 sailors as crew on the water competing.
Posted today at 2:06 pm
Solo round-the-world record attempt – Thomas Coville rounds Cape Horn
The skipper of Sodebo Ultim’ sets a new solo reference time between Ushant and Cape Horn. With an average speed over the ground of 25.33 knots, the skipper of Sodebo Ultim’ sets a new solo reference time between Ushant and Cape Horn.
Posted today at 12:49 pm
Double capsize in thrilling Act 8 opener at Extreme Sailing Series
Sydney Harbour delivered 'classic conditions' in an electrifying opening day of the finale that saw two teams capsize. Sydney Harbour delivered 'classic conditions' in an electrifying opening day of the finale that saw two teams capsize. Clear blue skies were met with a blustery north-easterly breeze of around 22 knots as the eight international crews hit the iconic waters of Australia's largest city, for the eighth and final Act of this season.
Posted today at 12:22 pm
Oman Air lay foundations for gripping duel at Extreme Sailing Series
Oman Air made a flying start to their final bid for championship honours on a wild and windy day in Sydney Oman Air made a flying start to their final bid for championship honours on a wild and windy day in Sydney to lay the foundations for a gripping duel with rival Alinghi in the ‘winner takes all’ finals
Posted today at 11:47 am
Capsize on the Harbour - including Beth Morley images
In race three of Act 8 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Sydney, Land Rover BAR Academy and Visit Madeira capsized In race three of the first day of Act 8 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in Sydney, Land Rover BAR Academy and Visit Madeira capsized at around 1500 local time. At the time of the capsizes the wind was around 22 knots. The Extreme Sailing Series' safety protocol was immediately initiated and the event's Safety Team was immediately on site to provide assistance, as were the teams' support boats.
Posted today at 11:07 am
SWC Final – Nacra sailors react to Olympic foiling announcement
Last month the World Sailing Council met in Barcelona, Spain, and confirmed the Nacra 17 will convert to foiling Last month the World Sailing Council met in Barcelona, Spain, and confirmed the Nacra 17 will convert to foiling for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the only foiling class among the 10 Olympic sailing classes.
Posted today at 10:48 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne pays tribute to Paul Elvstrom
Sixty years ago, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron welcomed legendary Paul Elvstrom for the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. Sixty years ago, the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron welcomed the legendary Paul Elvstrom for the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. At the time the Danish sailor was carving a legacy that included four consecutive Olympic gold medals, numerous world championships and sporting innovations that are now the norm within the sport.
Posted today at 7:22 am
Super Maxi CQS action shots by Big Boat Racing - White Island Race
Big Boat Racing provided this gallery of images from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club Round White Island Race. Big Boat Racing provided this gallery of images from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club Round White Island Race.
Posted today at 5:56 am
Phuket King’s Cup 2016 – have we used up all the breeze?
Three hours’ sunbathing, Russian swimsuit parades and giant inflatable pink flamingos Yesterday was spectacular but Wednesday was less so: it was an undeniably slow start on the water this morning. If there is atmospheric action going on in the Bay of Bengal, then Phuket is not on the party line. Having rushed breakfast, and having rushed out to the boats, there wasn’t much more rushing to do. At 0900 mark boat Alpha were reporting “less than two knots from 120… 140… 100...
Posted today at 4:56 am