Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Finn World Masters - Sailors return en-masse to La Rochelle

by Robert Deaves on 15 May 2013
2011 Finn World Masters Claire ADB and BFA
The Finn class returns en-masse to La Rochelle , France for the 2013 Finn World Masters next week. It is destined to be not only the largest Finn Masters ever, but also the largest Finn event ever if all the pre-entered 307 sailors from 27 countries show up.

While the seniors have held their European Championship in La Rochelle in 2004 (and will again in 2014), the Masters' last visit was way back in 1996, when it was held over the same week as the Finn Gold Cup. But the event has moved on a long way since those distant days when it only attracted a mere 120 boats, though a look at the results list from 1996 shows that many of the same names will be competing next week.

Last year's winner, and the winner for the last three years, Michael Maier (CZE) is back. He is undoubtedly the favourite to take a record equalling fifth Masters title, and barring any disasters shouldn’t have too many problems doing so. The real interest is around who will be chasing him closely enough to cause an upset, or end up on the podium with him.

Allen Burrell (GBR) will be looking for a third successive medal, having been runner-up to Maier in 2011 and 2012. He commented, 'It's going to be a great event with 300 Finns and hopefully some perfect weather conditions. The level is always increasing as we get older and younger sailors come in so getting into the top 10 is going to be harder than ever this year, especially with a lot of new sailors competing. Hopefully La Rochelle will suit the bigger, stronger sailors so I hope to be fighting for a medal at the end of the week, but with that many boats anything can happen.'

Laurent Hay (FRA) has been the top Frenchman in recent years at the Masters but he agreed with Burrell. 'This year the level should be very high, with of course Mike Maier the best of us. There is also Uli Breuer (GER), Allen Burrell, Karel Van Hellemond (NED) (his first Masters), Andre Budzien (GER), Rob Coutts (NZL), Jorgen Svendsen (DEN).....and several other new sailors in the Masters. So my goal is first to have beautiful races with a lot of pleasure, and if I finish in the top 10 I will be satisfied.'

Explaining the expected conditions, he said, 'In La Rochelle we could have different type of winds. The sea breeze sets between 14-18 knots if the weather conditions are OK. But the main characteristics of La Rochelle is a strong chop due to shallow water.'

The fleet is split in Masters (40-49), Grand Masters (50-59), Grand Grand Masters (60-69) and Legends (70+). There are a record number of Legends this year, 27 in total, including the Legend champion for the past two years Howard Sellars (GBR).


There are also many new faces this year including some very strong and successful sailors from across the world. As well as van Hellemond, Svendsen (Danish champion and world number one in OK Dinghy, there is Karl Purdie (NZL), a double OK Dinghy world champion who stepped into the Finn the first tie last year.

He said, ' I've always wanted to sail a Finn but it was only at the end of my OK Dinghy career that I was getting big enough and financial enough to be able to sail one. So to sail one is kind of a dream come true. A big attraction I must admit was the Masters scene where you get to line up against past Olympians and medallists.'

'My own goals next week are to hopefully give the top 10 a bit of a run for their money, though long term of course it would be nice to finish top three. It will also be great to just mix with and meet past and current greats of the class. Given the number of entries I can see getting off the start line in good shape will be hard.'

The age range of sailors is as large as the fleet size. The youngest is 39 (you have to turn 40 in the same year to qualify), while the oldest is 78 year old Gus Miller (USA). Surprisingly this is only Miller's second Finn Masters. He said,'The first was also in La Rochelle in 1996.' Miller finished 12th. 'I was also in La Rochelle for the 2008 Europeans where I coached the Chinese Team as part of an IFA Development clinic.' Miller said he is using the Masters as a 'warm up/practice regatta for the Finn Gold Cup in Tallinn,' this August. Miller famously stated that he wouldn't give up Finn sailing until he had sailed a Finn Gold Cup in Tallinn, though no one really expects him to keep to his word.

Finn Masters President Fons van Gent (NED) said, 'It is a great pleasure to return to La Rochelle again and I am sure the Société des Régates Rochelaises will do a wonderful job in keeping us happy on and off the water. So far we have more than 300 entries but it is not about the numbers but about the quality of racing and in this I am sure the Société des Régates Rochelaises will do us proud. It will be nice to meet so many Finn Masters and their families again, especially the large contingent of Legends. It shows that La Rochelle is a popular venue.'

It's been a very sad few days, but the 300 or so Finn sailors arriving in La Rochelle are hoping to lift their spirits a little bit with a memorable week of friendly and competitive racing. Racing begins on Monday 20, May with eight races scheduled until Friday 24, Event website

Zhik Dinghy 660x82T Clewring One DesignBarz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

RS Vareo Volvo Noble Marine National Championship – Day 1
A warm but overcast day saw a fleet of 26 Vareos take to the water of the large reservoir in South Wales for three races A warm but overcast day saw a fleet of 26 Vareos (the largest for a good few years) take to the water of this large reservoir in South Wales for three back-to-back races this afternoon. The lake is about 1.5 miles long and a mile wide so plenty of room for the standard windward leeward course.
Posted today at 11:57 am
Volvo Noble Marine RS400 UK National Championships – Day 4
It's easy to convince yourself that fit crews also have the upper hand. But on day four, this was anything but the case. Today the 400 fleet had wind. Sometimes when the breeze gets up and kicks against the tide it's easy to imagine that the big guns at the front are enjoying flawless manoeuvres and seamless mark roundings. It's also easy to convince yourself that fit young crews also have the upper hand.
Posted today at 10:33 am
RS800 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship - Day 3
RS800 Volvo Noble Marine Nationals - Thanks to the weekend entries, a larger fleet of 42 RS 800s left the beach on time 2016 RS800 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship - Thanks to the weekend entries, a larger fleet of 42 RS 800s left the beach (mostly) on time and headed out to the promised nine - eleven knot NE breeze. However, on arriving at the committee boat the breeze had built to a steady 15 knots+.
Posted today at 5:55 am
RS700 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship - Day 1-2
Thursday morning dawned with light airs and a forecast for light and variable breeze throughout the day. Thursday morning dawned with light airs and a forecast for light and variable breeze throughout the day. After a couple of hours postponement and some last minute bumbling the fleet took to the water in the vain hope of the breeze filling in. It didn’t but the Ians were improved...
Posted today at 4:37 am
RS800 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship – Day 2
38 RS800s made their way out to the bay for Day 2 of the Volvo Noble Marine National Championship. 38 RS800s made their way out to the bay for Day 2 of the Volvo Noble Marine National Championship. After a short delay, an eight - ten knot breeze filled in from the South West allowing racing to get underway in glorious sunshine – with the fleet managing to complete their full schedule of three races.
Posted today at 4:16 am
RS700 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship - Day 3
Race four saw Robbie choose the least favoured route to the right of the beat to clear the fleet at the windward mark. 2016 RS700 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship - The wind arrived at last on day three for a four race extravaganza. Race four saw Robbie choose the least favoured route to the right of the beat to clear the fleet at the windward mark. He held the lead to the finish. Big waves and traffic made for some white knuckle rides. Jerry Wales held on to a solid second. Neil Ashby finished third.
Posted today at 3:58 am
VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA - Day 1
73 boats have signed on for the 2016 VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA in Weymouth. Seventy-three boats have signed on for the 2016 VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA in Weymouth. With the odd lightning strike off Chesil Beach and a huge storm over Dorchester, the fleet were released to leave the shore once it was deemed safe enough to sail in Portland Harbour, with racing getting underway just 20 minutes after the scheduled 1pm start time.
Posted on 27 Aug
2016 Volvo Noble Marine RS400 UK National Championships – Day 2 and 3
Among many questions that have arisen over last three days, the most pressing is how to stop the Oakey’s winning streak. 2016 Volvo Noble Marine RS400 UK National Championships – Among the many questions that have arisen over the last three days, the most pressing for those at the front of the fleet, is how to stop the Oakey’s winning streak.
Posted on 27 Aug
Volvo Noble Marine RS200 National Championships - Final report
Excellent PRO Peter Jellis had to cram in six races in two days. Day 4 was a gnarly force three - four through a chop. Excellent PRO Peter Jellis had to cram in six races in two days. Day 4 was a gnarly force three - four through a chop. From this helm’s perspective (glorious mid-fleet mediocrity), that was hard work. Keeping the bow down and getting the foils to bite was the order of the day, and you could now bounce a coin off these abs.
Posted on 26 Aug
Volvo Noble Marine UK National Championship - Day 1
Day 1 of RS400 Nationals dawned with blazing sunshine. This lead to a two hour postponement before fleet were released Day 1 of the RS400 Nationals dawned with blazing sunshine. This lead to a two hour postponement ashore before the fleet were released to Hayling bay. Race one got away first time with only an individual recall for Kevin Podger and Heather Chipperfield who had mistaken the leeward mark for the pin end of the line.
Posted on 25 Aug