Sailing consistently well and unbeatable in the first four races, defending Finn World Masters Champion Andre Budzien of Germany took the 2008 title by a margin of nine points over the seven race series from Mihail Kopanov (BUL) and by ten points from third placed Han Bergsma (NED).
The 229 boat fleet was the largest ever assembled Finn fleet in the 59 year history of the class and underlines the popularity of the boat outside the Olympic circuit. The line up included 11 previous Olympic contenders and countless sailors who had campaigned a Finn at the highest level. The Dutch sailors had prepared well and took nine out of the top 20 places, but they couldn't stop Budzien's domination of the highly competitive Masters fleet.
The final day of racing was split into gold and silver heats and produced conditions similar to previous days. A promising stiff breeze in the morning gave way to a shifty and patchy 5-10 knots during the race. However, it was an exciting race as most of the top 20 already had a high score on the board, so couldn't afford another. As a result of the fitful winds, several sailors who had been top ten all week, suffered in the tricky conditions and dropped a significant number of places.
As usual those who favoured the left hand side dominated the races with the gold fleet race win going to Bas de Waal (NED) to place 5th overall, followed by Luuk Kuijper (NED) which boosted him from 10th to 6th, and third was Mihail Kopanov (BUL) to maintain his silver medal position. In fact the top five positions remained unchanged after the final race.
The last race prove crucial for Cees Scheurwater (NED) who dropped from 6th to 14th, Thierry van Vierson (NED) who dropped from 7th to 12th and Jan Willem Kok (NED) who dropped from 8th to 20th. However after a great final day the only two Americans sailing here both leap frogged into the top ten. Conrad Brown (USA) placed 5th to jump to 8th and Phillip Ramming (USA) placed 12th to jump to 9th.
Ramming also took the silver in the Grand Masters behind the 1972 Olympic silver medalist Illias Hatipaulis (GRE) who also finished 4th overall. Luksa Cicarelli (CRO) took the Great Grand Masters title while Walter Mai (GER) was the top Legend sailing here. All ten Finn Legends competing in the event were honoured with a prize.
Next year the Finn World Masters is being held in Maubuisson, France. With more Finn sailors reaching the age of 40 and more ex-Finn sailors coming back to the class, a large fleet is also expected in 2009. The problem facing the event organisers now is finding venues large enough to hold a regatta of this size. It is a problem well worth having.
Finn Masters - Leading positions
Finn masters prizegiving, by Robert Deaves - Event Media
1 GER 711 André Budzien, M 9,0 1 1 1 1 3 2 -10
2 BUL 24 Mihail Kopanov, M 18,0 5 4 2 3 -33 1 3
3 NED 100 Han Bergsma, M 19,0 -21 3 2 5 2 3 4
4 GRE 1 Ilias Hatzipaulis, GM 30,0 10 2 8 (dns) 1 1 8
5 NED 29 Bas de Waal, M 31,0 3 9 10 4 (ocs) 4 1
6 NED 888 Luuk Kuijper, M 47,0 11 2 5 6 -30 21 2
7 GBR 2 Allen Burrell, M 58,0 -52 1 1 9 28 4 15
8 USA 24 Conrad Brown, M 61,0 4 -17 17 10 13 12 5
9 USA 808 R. Phillip Ramming, GM 63,0 23 6 7 9 6 -57 12
10 NED 703 Eric Bakker, M 64,0 12 7 13 -20 3 18 11 Finn Masters - Individual categories:
1. Andre Budzien (GER)
2. Mihail Kopanov (BUL
3. Han Bergsma (NED)
Grand Masters (50-59)
1. Ilias Hatzipaulis (GRE)
2. Phillip Ramming (USA)
3. Michael Bæk (DEN)
Great Grand Masters (60-69)
1. Luksa Cicarelli (CRO)
2. Pascal Tetard (FRA)
3. Jiri Outrata (CZE)
1. Walter Mai (GER)
2. Victor Kozlov (RUS)
3. Willi Meister (GER)