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First Finn World Masters set to begin in Helsinki

by Robert Deaves 30 Jun 07:19 PDT 3-7 July 2022
Day 2 - 2021 Finn World Masters © Robert Deaves

Seventy years ago the Finn changed sailing history and put in its first appearance at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.

To celebrate this occasion, the Finnish Finn sailors decided to hold the 2022 Finn World Masters in Helsinki and after three years of planning, it opens this weekend with around 125 sailors from 22 countries expected to take part.

Racing starts on Monday 3 July, while the Open Finnish Championship is currently under way, giving many competitors some valuable preparation time on Helsinki's tricky waters. Despite many fearing cold weather, Finland is currently experiencing a heat wave with 27-30 degrees and 15-20 knots wind.

The entry includes a lot of new names for the Finn Masters and no recent winners. The most recent winner here is John Greenwood, from 2002, who has been training hard with Tim Tavinor, who is making a welcome return to Finn sailing. Also from Britain, Lawrence Crispin and Allen Burrell should figure well.

Last year's Grand Master champion Laurent Hay, from France, is still looking for his first overall win, but will be up against last year's European Masters champion, Akos Lukats, from Hungary, Christoph Christen, from Switzerland, and the ever strong Dutch team led by Bas de Waal and Karel Hellemond.

However, the new name everyone will be watching is the Belgian 1996 Olympic silver medallist, Sebastien Godefroid, who while sailing domestically, has not sailed an international Finn regatta since 2004. And while not yet showing on the entry list, it is rumoured that another Olympian is on his way to Helsinki.

Throughout the regatta there will be many occasions to remember that first Olympics 70 years ago when the great Paul Ellvstrøm won the first of his three Finn Gold medals.

On Monday 4 July the City of Helsinki will host a drinks party on the island of Särkkä which is located right in front of the city centre. This island was the location of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics prize-giving ceremony and the original 1952 podium will be used for a small prize-giving as part of the party.

The regatta dinner on Wednesday 6 July will be held on Blekholmen, the home harbour of NJK (Nyländska Jaktklubben) one of the oldest yacht clubs in Finland. Blekholmen sits in the middle of the south harbour of Helsinki and the clubhouse is an amazing old wooden building dating from 1900 and is full of treasures and heritage of sailing in Finland.

Andy Denison, Finn World Masters President commented on the preparations, "I for one am really looking forward to visiting Helsinki for the first time, which coupled with the unique heritage of this year's anniversary of the first time the Finn was sailed at the Olympics means this year is definitely one not to miss. I know the organising team have been making a huge effort to make this a special event, which coupled with Finnish hospitality will make this an event to remember. It's the first time we have gone to Helsinki and I think it's going to be rather special. I am looking forward to it immensely."

The 2022 Finn World Masters has been kindly supported by the City of Helsinki, by various government departments and some private donors, making it possible for the organisers to ensure an appropriate 70-year celebration of the Finn class' Olympic debut in Helsinki in 1952.

Measurement and registration begin on Friday 1 July. The practice race on Sunday 2 July is followed by an eight-race series from Monday 3 July to Friday 7 July.

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