The Finn World Masters has been sailed every year since 1970. It is the class championship for Finn sailors over 40 years old and is divided into age groups: Master (40-49), Grand Master (50-59), Grand Grand Master (60-69), Legend (70 – 79) and Super Legend (80 and above).
Ages vary between 40 and 82 years, but the binding factor for these Finn sailors is their love of Finn sailing in a friendly and yet very competitive fleet.
The Finn itself is a 4.5 metre singlehanded dinghy with a single mast, and it has been used in the Olympic Games since 1952. Many of the sailors now competing in the Masters have done Olympic campaigns in the past but have stayed sailing the boat because of the first class competition it offers.
The Finn is widely regarded as the toughest challenge in the world of dinghy sailing because to win at Olympics the sailors need to be a perfect athlete, extremely fit and strong to cope with the demand of sailing the boat, tactically astute on the water, and with an excellent technical knowledge of their equipment.
The Finn’s legacy is creating top calibre sailors that have the skills and knowledge to be successful in other areas of the sport, for example, some of the best America’s Cup helmsmen gained their skills in the Finn class.
The Finn is sailed in around 50 countries worldwide and the Masters attracts sailors from around 35 of them. The event regularly attracts more than 200 sailors each year and in 2016, for the first time, 355 sailors travelled to Lake Garda for the biggest Finn event of all time.
The 2017 Masters is being sailed in Barbados.
There are several South Africans competing, as there are every year. This year the RSA contingent is led by SAS President Philip Baum who ended the event in 37th place out of 133 competitors.
Here are the RSA results:
37 Philip Baum
58 Andreas Bohnsack
78 David Kitchen
95 Arend van Wamelen
125 Gerd Bohnsack
Anyone dreaming of a relaxing Caribbean sojourn at these Finn Masters will have been sorely disappointed as the conditions on the water have been about as challenging and tough as any Finn World Masters in recent memory. The upside is that the sea is warm, the air is warm, the sailing is awesome and the beach side is simply fabulous.