Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

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

Helm Events 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignMackay Boats

Related Articles

Hotting up at the Star Sailors League Finals
Three light airs races were held for the penultimate day of the Qualifying Rounds in Montagu Bay Nassau. Three light airs races were held for the penultimate day of the Qualifying Rounds in Montagu Bay Nassau. Getting a good start and having the boat speed to hold a lane was paramount today.
Posted on 2 Dec
MS Amlin International Moth Regatta attracts podium finishers
A fleet of 52 sailors, including two of the top three from last regatta, is set to contest the second annual regatta. Last year Rob Greenhalgh and Paul Goodison made British sailing proud when they finished first and third. Greenhalgh trailed by one point heading into the final day and then went out and won all three races in dominant fashion to stamp an eight-point victory. Goodison, a member of Artemis Racing for the America’s Cup, placed third.
Posted on 1 Dec
RS Aero UK Winter Series to start at Yorkshire Dales’ Brass Monkeyand
Sailors will count three best event scores allowing most to compete in a couple of close by events and then travel once. The ten venues will provide balanced geographical spread and support to new fleets. Sailors will count their three best event scores allowing most the ability to compete in a couple of close by events and then travel once.
Posted on 1 Dec
Sailing World Cup Final brings the best to St Kilda
Thirty-six nations have registered sailors across a combined 22 Olympic and Invited classes for next week’s World Cup Competitor numbers are predicted to reach 800 across the two competitions - the final stage of the international body World Sailing’s six-part Olympic class international circuit that will come to a head at St Kilda for the 11 classes, and the 11 Invited classes.
Posted on 1 Dec
Bid process reopened for new venue for the 2017 Youth Worlds
The Bid process has been reopened after the Israel Sailing Assoc withdrew from hosting the 2017 Youth Sailing World The Bid process has been reopened after the Israel Sailing Association (ISA) withdrew from hosting the 2017 Youth Sailing World Championships which were due to take place in Akko, Israel in July 2017. World Sailing will accept bids from MNAs interested in hosting the event in July or December of 2017.
Posted on 30 Nov
Battle commences at Star Sailors League Finals
The early exchanges confirmed the amazing quality and depth in fleet, which contains no less than 16 Olympic medallist The early exchanges confirmed the amazing quality and depth in the fleet, which contains no less than 16 Olympic medallist among the skippers alone.
Posted on 30 Nov
World Sailing lead the conversation at the Yacht Racing Forum
Sailing - sport, technology and nature in perfect harmony was the message delivered by World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt Sailing - sport, technology and nature in perfect harmony. This was the message delivered by World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt at the opening session of the Yacht Racing Forum in Valletta, Malta that provided the backbone to much of the day's conversations and presentations.
Posted on 29 Nov
Star Sailors League Finals – Opening ceremony at Bahamas
The curtains are about to be unveiled, with the grand Opening Ceremony at Government House of the Bahamas in Nassau The curtains are about to be unveiled, with the grand Opening Ceremony at Government House of the Bahamas in Nassau at the presence of Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Matilda Pindling
Posted on 28 Nov
Around the Island Race – Calum Gregor wins for third year in a row
With an ominous grey sky at the start, the sailors were relieved to have the sun come out at around noon. With an ominous grey sky at the start, the sailors were relieved to have the sun come out at around noon.
Posted on 27 Nov
RS Aero Winter Training 1 at Oxford SC
12 RS Aeros took to the water with 15 sailors taking part thanks to the opportunity from RS provided charter/demo Aeros Shaun Priestley headed up the weekend together with Paul Robson in a second coach boat. Peter Barton added to the RS Aero specific input and took to the water in an RS Aero for demonstrating and sparring.
Posted on 25 Nov