Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014

Can Australia be a threat in the Finn Class??

by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team on 2 Apr 2013
Finn: Brendan Casey - 44th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre MartinezStudio.es
While the British have dominated the Olympic Finn class since 2000 onwards, Australia´s prospects are looking up.

It now has a three man Finn squad and there is the possibility of a 2012 Olympic Gold medallist switching to Finns.


The Australian Sailing Team post Olympics 2012 appointed USA's John Bertrand, the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic silver medallist as its Finn class coach. The other John Bertrand' had won the Laser World Championships in 1976 and 1977 and the Finn Gold Cup in 1980. Now, at 56, he still races actively in Laser Masters events, including the 2010 World Championships where he finished third.

In the last quadrennium Bertrand had coached Australia´s Brendan Casey. Casey's 2012 Olympic campaign had a solid start as he placed 10th at the 2010 Finn Gold Cup in San Francisco which secured him a place in the 2011 Australian Sailing team.

He was the top ranked Australian in his class at the 2011 World Championships in Perth and he secured his place with a win in the 2012 World Cup event in Hyeres, France.

Weymouth was not kind to Casey, who has proven over the years to always have his best regatta if he starts well. He had an equipment issue in the first race, was penalised in the second for lack of the correct safety equipment and had to pursue a high risk catch up strategy which did not work. He finished.... overall.

Committing to Rio 2016, the Queenslander has had a much better start to this campaign. He won the first World Cup event, Sail Melbourne and was fifth in the second event in Miami and is the new season top ranked Finn class leader.

Joining him in the Finn squad are two young sailors determined to make a name for themselves. Oliver Tweddell (AUS) and newcomer Jake Lilley (AUS), who was on the Laser circuit last year. At 19 years Lilley is two meters high and 96 kg so the Finn class was a natural for him.


Then there is a big gun. Australia´s Tom Slingsby after winning London Olympics Laser Gold headed to San Francisco to join the Oracle USA America´s Cup program and has said he won´t be making a decision on future Olympic campaigns until end September 2013.

As the years have rolled by the six times Laser World Champion Slingsby, now 27 years old has been bulking up, as you´d expect. With Weymouth being a heavy weather venue, he was not particularly troubled by the optimum Laser weight but looking ahead to the expected light weather venue of Rio 2016 that would not bring a lot of joy for a 31 year old.

He has been making signals over the last 18 months that if he was going to continue in the Olympic classes anywhere it would be the Finns.

The top ranked British Finn sailor Giles Scott confirmed just a day ago in the Palma boat park, that Slingsby has 'murmured' the switch to the Finn class was on his mind.



Slingsby has always said he wanted to sail against the best and there were many pundits who considered Scott the better Finn sailor than Ainslie and with the strength of the competition with Posta and Lobert and the raft of other Brift, so the tempation to jump into the Finn class, now there is an Australian squad and a well credential coach could be compelling for the 2010 ISAF World Sailor of the Year.

With all these elements, Coach John Bertrand is having an interesting time.

'Whereas before I was Brendan’s coach, now we have an Australian Finn squad. We are adopting a squad mentality which is something that we suffered from last time because Brendan really didn’t have a dedicated training partner so we did train a lot with the Brits and the French and others but it was more on their schedule and what they wanted to accomplish so we were somewhat frustrated because we couldn’t necessarily work on some areas that we wanted to work on.

'Now we have got three dedicated, motivated sailors and we can just start rolling out all the things we want to develop and all the things we want to work on so it is pretty exciting.

'Brendan is off to a good start this time around. Obviously we worked pretty hard over the last three or four years and post Olympics some times when the pressure is off a little bit all the lessons kind of sink in but he is really keen, looking forward to the next four years. He is a good size. He is in really good shape. The physical side of it wasn’t an issue last time and nor will it be this time. It seems like these guys have all obtained a high level of fitness to do what’s needed especially when it’s downwind pumping. He is right in there.

'Yes, it is exciting right now. Obviously Brendan is doing really well and Oliver and Jake, the new guys, this is a whole new generation coming into the Finn which is what I predicted would happen and I think the old guard is starting to take notice. These guys are up to speed already. It is whether they can convert it into regatta performance. To me that is just a matter of time.

'If Tom wants to have a go at the Finn we are prepared to have him come in to take a look at it.

'I´ve been told Tom’s natural weight is 87 so getting to 95 wouldn’t be a real problem. He is getting older so the weight comes with age whether he knows it or not or wants it or not. He is good in the gym.

'For Rio, the low 90´s where it will be a light weather venue, only a few knots above Qingdao, It is probably a little more consistent. A little more wind, a couple of knots more probably.

'But it is in an area that is surrounded by mountains and obstructions and it is going to be really very shifty and puffy and very tricky and there is current. I think it will be fine. It is a matter of what you do before Rio because you have events like the World Cups and the Worlds in Santander so you want to be able to be competitive in other events and not just rely on the Olympics as a sole event. If you suffer weight wise at these other events psychologically it could be pretty tough.

'I'm really happy to work here in Australia on such an excellent program. The Olympic coaching team and management is world class and their commitment and team work is impressive,' Bertrand said.

'Of course right now, the Brits are the benchmark. We saw that on day one with Giles Scott doing well as always. Yes although they have probably been out of the boat doing America’s Cup stuff and things like that. It is going to be really interesting. I am really excited to see how things roll out here and over the next six months especially.'

Naiad/Oracle SupplierProtector - 660 x 82Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

A Q&A with Charles Pessler, the regatta director of the legendary STIR
I corresponded with Charles Pessler, STIR’s regatta director, to learn about the event’s recent changes and evolutions. I recently corresponded via email with Charles “Chuck” Pessler, who is serving as the regatta director of the legendary STIR, to learn more about the changes and evolutions that have taken place at the event since my 2010 trip to racing paradise.
Posted on 22 Mar
New Pacific 52 class makes its debut in San Francisco
The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. The first of two new-build Pacific 52's from Auckland's Cookson Boats is now sailing in San Francisco. Invisible Hand for San Francisco's Frank Slootman replaces his earlier RP63 of the same name. She will soon be joined by a second Cookson build, Bad Pack (Tom Holthus) from the same moulds. A third, RIO 52 is for RIO 100 supermaxi owner Manouch Moshayedi.
Posted on 18 Mar
A Q&A with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race
I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba. The 2017 Miami to Havana Race is set to begin on March 15 and promises high adventure-both sailing-related and cultural-for the sailors lucky enough to be participating in this historical-and for now legal-race. I talked with Chris Woolsey, regatta chair of the Miami to Havana Race and SORC race chairman, to learn more about this exciting race to Cuba.
Posted on 13 Mar
Gladwell's Line - Of Carnage, Characters and Colour
About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched About this time of an America's Cup season, the sap begins rising as new boats are launched, and Cup fans get their first sight of the various team designers' response to the latest America's Cup Class rule. In the monohull days, of course, we initially only got a partial glimpse thanks to the shrouding practices adopted by all teams to hide the nether regions of their America's Cupper
Posted on 13 Mar
Caleb Paine on winning a US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award
I talked with Caleb Paine about his recent US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his Olympic plans. On August 16, Caleb Paine broke the longest-running medal ceremony dry spell for American-flagged Olympic sailors since the 1930s when he captured a bronze medal in the Finn class at the Rio 2016 Olympics. I recently caught up with Paine on the phone to talk about his proud US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award and about his future sailing plans.
Posted on 10 Mar
A Q&A with Lloyd Thornburg about his love of fast boats and racing
I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore. Not too many world-class sailors hail from the high deserts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but Lloyd Thornburg isn’t your average sailor. The 37-year old investor flies the New York Yacht Club’s burgee from his fleet of raceboats that have included a Gunboat 66, a MOD70, and a Farr 280. I recently caught up with Thornburg to learn more about his program, and to gain insight into racing MOD70s offshore.
Posted on 8 Mar
So what’s it really like?
For ages now, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and 24-hour runs For ages now, well it seems like that anyway, these editorials have talked about multihull this, record that, outrageous boat speed and incredible 24-hour runs. In their own very unique way they totally represent the technical avant-garde, and thank God for that. Where would we be without their impressive shapes, wonderful rigs, and now of course, foiling magic.
Posted on 6 Mar
JJ Giltinan 18ft - Kiwi Champion the subject of two protests in Sydney
Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings on Friday Overall series leader Yamaha will have her position put on the line in a series of protest hearings Friday morning in Sydney. She faces two claims - both from Appliancesonline (David Witt). The first is an attempt to re-open the Hearing held on Wednesday morning after Yamaha was suffered damage in Race 3 as a result of a collision with a give way yacht, and Yamaha received redress of average
Posted on 3 Mar
A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb