Please select your home edition
Edition
Rolly Tasker Sails 2019 728x90 Leaderboard

Joaquín Blanco awarded Finn Gold Cup 40 years late

by Robert Deaves on 25 Jun 2017
Joaquín Blanco awarded Finn Gold Cup 40 years late Robert Deaves
The 1977 Finn Gold Cup never happened. The winner of the renamed Finn World Week was never officially acknowledged as World Champion.

Now, 40 years later, Spaniard, Joaquín Blanco has been acknowledged by the class and his peers as the 1977 Finn World Champion and has had his name engraved on the Finn Gold Cup, denied to him four decades ago by the unwelcome intrusion of global politics. Now, four decades later, on Saturday, 23 June, 2017, the Finn Class has rewritten history.



In 1977, 115 sailors from 27 countries gathered in Palamos, Spain, for the 22nd running of the Finn Gold Cup. However, after the Spanish Government refused to accept the entry of the two South African sailors, the International Finn Association withdrew the Finn Gold Cup from the event. It was renamed Finn World Week and has become a scar on the grand history of the class; a decision that cost the 21 year old Blanco his right to lift one of the greatest trophies in sailing.



The wind at that 1977 event matched the mood of the competitors, with only five races possible in unusually light and feeble breezes. Blanco, who was already European Champion, won two races, was always in the top 10 and finished 23.3 points ahead of second placed José Luis Doreste, also of Spain, who would go on to win gold in Pusan at the 1988 Olympics. Blanco himself finished fourth at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Wind the clock forward 40 years and both are again sailing Finns in Palamos this weekend, with the Nàutic Club Costa Brava-Vela Palamós organizing a regatta to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1977 Finn World Week. More than 30 sailors are racing in the same waters of Blanco’s victory including many from 1977 including Blanco himself, as well as Doreste, Gerardo Seeliger (sailed Finn in Kiel in 1972), Jesus Turró (sailed Tempest in Montreal in 1976), Jose Maria Pujadas and Francisco Castañer.



This gathering of Spanish Finn talent past and present seemed like too good an opportunity to miss to finally acknowledge Blanco’s achievement. On Saturday evening he was presented, albeit 40 years late, with the Finn Gold Cup, his name newly engraved to finally recognize his victory. Winning the Finn Gold Cup is a supreme achievement in the sport of sailing, and his name now sits alongside some of the greatest names in sailing of all time.

Holding the trophy for the first time, he said In an emotional, broken voice, “It’s so emotional for me because I have been waiting for this for 40 years; it’s too much. After the 1977 races in Palamos I thought that I could also win in Manzanillo in 1978, but I could only finish second to John Bertrand.”



How did he feel at the time? “I was not sad. I did my best sailing in 1977 and won and I was very happy then. I also won the Europeans that year as well. I know there were problems politically and the Finn class made the correct decision, and at that moment they couldn’t give the prize to me.”

“It was OK for me at the time; it’s very difficult to say but it was very important to for me to be in the list of world champions in the Finn Class.”

“Now, after all this time, when you are getting old and your name is still not on the Finn Gold Cup, then you feel sad, but now my name is on the Finn Gold Cup I am very happy.”

IFA President, Balazs Hajdu explained, “The decision taken 40 years ago to remove the Finn Gold Cup from competition is not in question here. We cannot, and shouldn’t, comment at such a distance, in such a difficult and different political climate. It was a very different time. But we can, and should, acknowledge the achievement of Joaquín Blanco.”

“South Africa has moved on a long way from 1977, and in the atmosphere of reconciliation and restoration, we feel that Joaquín Blanco should be acknowledged for his achievement by his peers and that is all we are doing today. We are rectifying the regret that Blanco felt at winning the regatta but not being able to lift the Finn Gold Cup. It is now time we did that.”



IFA President of Honour, Gerardo Seeliger, who competed in 1977, presented Blanco with the Finn Gold Cup and a Finn half model to remember the occasion, said, “Correcting a decision is the great privilege of wise men. At the time we were pressed by politics, and we, the Class, had a long fruitless debate. As a member of the then Executive I feel proud to give to the sport what belongs to the sport. We have in Olympic sport so many similar precedents.'

Another competitor in 1977, Gus Miller from the USA wrote, 'Congratulations to Joaquín Blanco again. The event showed the collective wisdom of Finn sailors. When they were confronted with an international political situation that could have prevented there being any racing at all, the Finn guys found a solution that solved the problem at the time. Now that the roots of the larger problem have evolved, it is time to call Blanco the 1977 Finn Gold Cup winner.'



Earlier in the day, the 32 Finn sailors, old and young, had three fantastic races in Palamos Bay. A light wind in the first race built through the day to 12-14 knots by the end and with blue skies, temperatures in the 30s, it was a perfect day’s Finn sailing. In race one the fleet edged left before running out of wind and trying to cross back to the right, Victor Serrano rounded the top mark ahead of Spanish Cup champion Miguel Fernandez-Vasco. Fernandez took the lead on the downwind to lead round the course for the first of two wins. By the second race, the fleet were generally favouring the right side as the breeze built.



Alex Muscat took two second places in the first two races, almost passing Fernandez-Vasco in the closing stages of race two. In the final race of the day, Paul McKenzie found the best speed on the right to lead round the first lap. Muscat rounded the final top mark just ahead and the two battled downwind with Muscat just crossing ahead to level the score with Fernandez-Vasco, who finished third.

This meant that Fernandez held the lead overnight by virtue of two race wins to Muscat’s one, while McKenzie, who could only race one day, is third overall.



One of the big questions was how the stars of yesterday were going to perform, and that answer was, in fact, very well. While Blanco found himself at the front for a while in race two, it was Doreste who ended the day in fourth, bettering Blanco’s score for the day by five points.



Three more races are scheduled for Sunday.

Results after three races
1 ESP 161 Miguel Fernandez Vasco 5
2 ESP 7 Alejandro Muscat 5
3 AUS 22 Paul Mckenzie 10
4 ESP 111 Jose Luis Doreste Blanco 14
5 FRA 49 Dorian Gachon 18
6 ESP 117 Carlos Ordóñez Sánchez 18
7 ESP 1 Joaquin Blanco 19
8 ESP 86 Francisco Castañer 27
9 ESP 337 Miguel Ángel Cabrerizo Morales 29
10 ESP 11 Miquel Alvarez Valls 36

Vaikobi 2019 - Footer 3X-Yachts AUS X4 - FOOTER - 2Nanni Diesel 2019 Footer

Related Articles

Rescue at sea in Transpac 50
Pyewacket rescues OEX crew in Transpac 50 On the 50th edition of the Transpacific YC's 2225-mile race from LA to Honolulu, at 0200 Pacific Daylight Time this morning the YB tracking system had activated an emergency signal from John Sangmeister's Santa Cruz 70 OEX
Posted today at 1:46 am
Hempel Youth Sailing Worlds day 1
Nacra 15 Youth Olympians come to the forefront in Gdynia Nacra 15 Youth Olympians came to the forefront at the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships on Monday as racing commenced in Gdynia, Poland.
Posted on 15 Jul
World Match Racing Tour status renewed
Special Event status confirmed by World Sailing The Special Event Agreement, signed with EFB Group, who took over ownership of the WMRT in December 2018, will see World Sailing work actively together with WMRT to promote the global tour which awards the World Sailing Match Racing World Championship.
Posted on 15 Jul
Finn Silver Cup opening ceremony
Jorg Bruder trophy proudly on display in Anzio The U23 Finn World Championship, for the Jorg Bruder Finn Silver Cup, was opened at Circolo della Vela di Roma in Anzio, Italy, on Sunday night under warm Italian sunshine and with great Italian hospitality
Posted on 15 Jul
Beach party opens the Hempel Youth Sailing Worlds
66 nations on the beach at Gdynia, Poland The Port of Gdynia was baked in sunshine on Sunday night as the 409 sailors from 66 nations took to the city beach for the opening ceremony of the Hempel Youth Sailing World Championships.
Posted on 15 Jul
Nanni - powering innovation and development
Inboard powerplant and generator specialist, Nanni, has recently collaborated with Hanse France's inboard powerplant and generator specialist, Nanni, has recently collaborated with Germany's Hanse Yachts on their latest Dehler 29 Cruiser/Racer, and also Dehler 30 One Design.
Posted on 14 Jul
2020 Windsurfer Class Australian Championships
After the fantastic success and massive fleet of 107 in Toronto, NSW at the 2019 Nationals After the fantastic success and massive fleet of 107 in Toronto, NSW at the 2019 Nationals, the Windsurfer Class travels back to South Australia for the first time in over 30 years to do battle on the Gulf of St. Vincent.
Posted on 14 Jul
The Good Oil
I've been fortunate enough to have spoken with a lot of terrific sailors This week I've been fortunate enough to have spoken with a lot of terrific sailors and unreal people. So let's just get straight into it then: Our first sailor is none other than the great Tom Slingsby.
Posted on 14 Jul
Marine Auctions highlight for August
1942 72ft launch Mako must be sold - in Brisbane The auction for 'Mako' a 1942 72FT TIMBER MOTOR LAUNCH (EX RNZN) commences Friday 9th August 2019 and will end on Thursday 15th August at 2pm AEST.
Posted on 14 Jul
Clip on with care, new RYA video urges
Advice for boaters on how to attach safety lines You wouldn't drive, take a plane journey or tear around a roller coaster ride without being properly strapped in, so why tackle the waves without being secured to your boat? That's the safety message being delivered in a new RYA video.
Posted on 14 Jul