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Compiled and edited by Robert Deaves With a Foreword by Jacques Rogge


Compiled and edited by Robert Deaves With a Foreword by Jacques Rogge

Published by Robert Deaves for the International Finn Association www.finnclass.org Copyright © Robert Deaves and the International Finn Association First edition 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the International Finn Association, the authors or the copyright holders. Some material in this book has been previously published. ISBN 978-0-9559001-1-2 Designed and produced by Robert Deaves While every care was taken in the preparation of this book, neither the authors, the editor nor the publisher can take any responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies that may be present. If anyone does find any errors herein they are most welcome to send details to the editor.

Photos on pages 1 and 2: Bert Sarby Archive, PPL, Willy Kuhweide Archive, Riccardo Grande, Sharon Bullock, Björn Hedin, François Richard, Peter Bentley/PPL, Fabrizo Prandini, Vernon Stratton Archive, IFA Archive, Ralph Roberts Archive




Foreword by Jacques Rogge Introduction by Robert Deaves Rickard Sarby by Bert Sarby

5 6 16

1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 38 42 44 46 48 50 54 56 60 62 66 70 74


Rickard Sarby Paul Elvstrøm André Nelis Charles Currey Apolinary Pastuszko Didier Poissant Paul Henderson Vernon Stratton Peter Danby Ralph Roberts Vernon Stratton Alexander Chuchelov Hans Fogh Jonathan Rogers Hubert Raudaschl Willy Kuhweide Richard Hart Walter Mai Henry Ericsson Valentin Mankin Andrzej Zawieja




1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992




Bret de Thier John Bertrand Ed Bennett David Howlett Henry Sprague Magnus Olin Jochen Schümann Joaquín Blanco Andrei Balashov Cam Lewis Peter Montgomery Esko Rechardt Wolfgang Gerz Jørgen Lindhardtsen Peter Harken, Olaf Harken, Art Mitchell Russell Coutts Derek Mess Stig Westergaard José Luis Doreste Peter Holmberg John Cutler Oleg Khoperski Stuart Childerley Gus Miller José Maria van der Ploeg



76 78 82 86 90 94 96 98 102 104 108 110 114 116 118 120 122 124 126 128 130 134 136 138 142




1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009


Xavier Rohart Hans Spitzauer Imre Taveter Mateusz Kusznierewicz Luca Devoti Ian Ainslie John Driscoll Iain Percy Josje Hofland-Dominicus Ben Ainslie Anthony Nossiter Gerardo Seeliger Ed Wright Jonas Høgh-Christensen Gilbert Lamboley Zach Railey Balazs Hajdu

146 150 154 158 162 166 170 174 178 182 186 190 194 198 202 208 214

Appendix Acknowledgements Postscript Hall of Fame Olympic Games Finn Gold Cup Finn Timeline




218 219 220 221 222 223




hen I started sailing in the early 1950s, I had one dream: to sail a Finn at the Olympic Games. Paul Elvstrøm, arguably the best sailor of all time, was and still is my hero. During my Finn period from 1960 to 1980 I had the privilege to compete with legendary sailors and make great friends. Champions like Paul Elvstrøm, John Bertrand, Jochen Schümann and Russell Coutts dominated other classes and the America’s Cup. There is a long list of reasons why Finn champions dominate in other boats. They are athletic and extremely fit. We saw the revolution in the Star class when lain Percy and his fellow Finn sailors started to hike aggressively.

The Finn is a boat with minimal speed differences, thus putting the emphasis on minute tactical gains. There are limited mast and sail tuning possibilities. Much of the choice has to be made before the race begins. The steering skills and ‘feel of the groove’ are key. The Finn class has a unique atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect. Gybing successfully in a strong breeze and a big swell with a low boom is both exhilarating and the ultimate test for the good sailor. The success of the class lies also in wise management by the International Finn Association. While adopting gradually and carefully the technological changes (I started sailing in wooden boats with cotton sails), the Finn never got into a costly arms race and the boat is close to a one-design while allowing for sailors of different sizes and weights to be successful. The hulls are strong and long-lasting. The Olympic classes must represent both genders and the weight and size distribution of modern youth. The boats should be as cheap and as universally widespread as possible. The Finn class has achieved this over the last 60 years, and 60 years of uninterrupted Olympic presence will be celebrated at the London 2012 Games. But there is no reason to rest on one’s laurels and the International Finn Association must continue to prepare the future of this unique boat.



Right: Jacques Rogge sailing his Lanaverre Finn at Hyères in 1974 Opposite page: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain on his way to winning his second Finn Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Qingdao, China Photos: Jacques Rogge Archive, IOC, Carlo Borlenghi/ SEE-SEA FOREWORD BY JACQUES ROGGE | 



ickard Sarby (1912-1977) was my uncle. When I was nine years old I took part in the carpentry of the first Finn in 1949 in the garage of my father’s house. For me this became an early starting point for 20 years of devoted Finn sailing. Rickard was a person with special gifts. He learned to read at four years of age. At seven he began the ordinary Swedish elementary school, which at that time included six years of schooling, the only formal education Rickard got in his life. Rickard had special characteristics. He was artistic and very skilful with his hands in handicraft, carpentry and painting or drawing. Outside the sailing season he became an elite chess player, won prizes in photography and played the accordion. He was a humble man and had a special sense of ingenious humour. In about 1930 Rickard moved with his family to Uppsala (70 km from Stockholm) and at 20 years old he was introduced to canoe sailing. The birth and introduction of the Finn is excellently described by Rickard himself in Finnfare from 1975 and 1976. What is not so well known is that it took 15 years of intense experimentation, building and racing of sailing canoes to mould the lines and properties of the Finn dinghy. In order to get ideas for his canoe designs from international sources it was necessary for Rickard to learn English and German. This inspired the development of planing sailing canoes with a flatter and broader transom than had been used hitherto, giving rise to superior downwind properties. At the same time the front of the underwater shape was made sharp and slender, with the stability-giving section abreast of where the helmsman sits, which improved the windward properties. These characteristics were transferred to the layout of the Finn and are the basis for its still unique sailing performance. Other innovations taken from his sailing canoes were the rotating, unstayed and flexible mast together with the effective shape of the mainsail. In 1956 he tested out an effective self-bailer of the flap type, which is still in use today. Rickard was an imaginative sailor and won five Swedish championships, three in canoe sailing, the first championship in the Finn in 1953 and one around 1960 in the Flying Dutchman class as well as the first Nordic Finn championship in 1951. He also sailed in three successive Olympic Games. He finished fourth in Torbay in 1948, won the bronze medal in Helsinki in 1952 and placed fifth in Melbourne in 1956. He continued successful racing during the 1960s and he was one of the best in the Finn Veteran Gold Cup in Switzerland in 1970. Rickard was an expert on tactics, tuning and the racing rules, but never used this for aggressive sailing. He never protested against a competitor or got a protest on himself.

Bert Sarby

Top: This painting by Rickard Sarby in watercolours reflects his artistic talent and his sense of ingenious humour Bottom: Rickard giving a lecture on tactics and sailing rules in about 1960. He was a good instructor and was often engaged as a lecturer at many sailing clubs and organisations in Sweden Photo: Bert Sarby Archive, Ingemar Nilsson Archive 16





started training as a swimmer in the Dnieper River at Kiev in Ukraine when I was seven years old. At 15 I was training for swimming in the river and in an open pool for water polo. I was goalkeeper. One day we lost a game 14-1. I was very unhappy and walking back I saw a group of people working on a boat, all black, burning wood. I asked them, “Can I stay with you?” They gave me some tools and I helped them prepare the boat. That was on 7 March 1954. In the picture I am at the back on the left. The wooden clubhouse is behind and inside on one of the walls there was a picture of Paul Elvstrøm. At this time I was studying architecture at university. I started sailing as a crew on a M20 and learned about sailing and then in 1955/56 I was skipper in a Yole. In 1956 I went to Tallinn and saw the open Baltic Sea for the first time. It was for the Finn Russian Championship, my first regatta in a Finn. I was 19 years old. I spent all 1957 training. Then in 1958, I won bronze in the CCCP regatta and in 1959, I was Russian champion: it was my selection for the Olympic Games in Rome. A few days after I sent my boat to Rome, I was told by the Government that I had no visa to go. Someone had reported me saying in a restaurant at the club, “If I don’t win a medal in Rome, I’m not coming back.” I had no visa for many years, so I finished university in 1962 and got married to Rita and we had a daughter, Erina. Then they gave me back my visa. I went to Medemblik in 1963 for my first Finn Gold Cup and finished fourth. From then until 1967 I finished top 10 at all the Finn Gold Cups I went to. But this was not the important thing for us. What mattered was to go to the Olympic Games. In 1967 I stopped working as an engineer to prepare for the Games in Acapulco. I won those Olympic Games in the Finn at 30 years old. After 1967 I had become a professional sailor and received money to go sailing. For me this felt very strange and I didn’t like it much because I sailed for pleasure. I still visit my old coach Sergei Mashoviez every time I go back. In my sailing notebook I once wrote, “In the sport of sailing it is not possible to say what is more important: physical fitness, boat preparation, or what I learn at university. In sailing even very small things are important, and sooner or later, they help you. You have to pay special attention to psychological strength, physical strength, then education.” I moved to Italy in 1990. From 1992 I worked in the ‘Beppe Croce’ Olympic Sailing Centre in Livorno. I had a lot of pleasure coaching Luca Devoti, Francesco Bruni, Flavio Flavini and then Massimo Gherarducci. They all moved onto the America’s Cup. I am really happy to teach the young guys and see them grow in their career. The Finn is the best class of my life. I started at a low level and dreamed a lot. I have never forgotten my father and still now I thank him. He sent me swimming, and made me do physical training every morning. He was an amateur boxer. From him I learned stability. Feet must be stable, even in a boat. This helped me not to capsize.

Valentin Mankin Top left: Valentin Mankin (looking at the camera) working on a boat in 1954. The sailing club is behind Top right: Valentin Mankin racing in 1960 Middle left: Mankin (with black sail) racing on the Dnieper River in 1955 Right: Valentin Mankin racing in about 1968 Photos: Valentin Mankin Archive, Vernon Stratton Archive 70 | 1968 | FEET MUST BE STABLE

Top: Britain’s John Maynard in Acapulco Top right: Typical Finn of the late 1960s with traveller on a bar aft of the thwart, buoyancy bags, cut out centreboard and basic control lines Above: Viktor Kozlov leads Adelchi Pelaschier Right: Finland’s Jan Winquist was sixth in Acapulco Left: Jörg Brecht at the South American Championship in 1968 Photos: Vernon Stratton Archive, Henry Ericsson Archive DOWN IN ACAPULCO | 1968 | 71



he first Finn I saw was sitting on the sandy beach in Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, California. The owner checked me out with a short trip in the channel then let me go. I loved it, especially the physical element. The simplicity of a wedge vang, wooden mast, one sail and one man were a sensation. Not only that but it was beautiful. Not long after, Henry Sprague sold me US 151 which Carter Pyle at Newport Boats had built for, but never delivered to Paul Elvstrøm. The local SoCal fleet was composed of guys in their 20s sailing Carter Pyle’s wonderful version of the Finn and dominated on the water by Henry, Fred Miller and Bob Andre. My crude tactic on the water was “clear air, hike hard and steer”. Up to that time the only schooling in sailing came from my self-taught father who explained tacking and gybing and how to trim the Egyptian cotton sail so there was just a slight flutter in the top; but most importantly and perhaps why he was enjoying a bit of success sailing, “make it feel fast” which was the foundation of my sailing. My technical training was on the water in our local races and reading books. No coach, no outside help, just me having a great time competing against other low budget guys doing the same. Looking back on the reasonable level of success I enjoyed leads me to a couple of opinions. The Finn rewards steering to avoid wave resistance. How does a Finn sailor know or sense he is minimising resistance and maximising speed by doing so consistently? I attribute this to an inner sense or gyro producing what might be called a sense of kinetics, one aside from pumping, ooching and rocking. I believe it is something inborn in you and cannot be taught, perhaps enhanced but not to the level of people with the natural sense. Great Finn sailors have it. Elvstrøm, Bruder, and a long list of more recent Finn champions with ‘it’ have gone on to win in Stars, America’s Cup and other events. How do they make it look so simple? One opinion says it is their inner ability to sense and minimise resistance and maximise speed. In 1971 I met John Bertrand ‘Australia’ at the Midwinters in Tampa Bay, Florida. Later that year he called and asked if he and wife, Rasa, could stay with us and do some training prior to his going home for the Australian trials. I lived a couple of blocks from the St Francis Yacht Club and owned two boats. The first day (Saturday) we sailed on alternate tacks, traded boats and started the process. I recall being faster on either tack and either boat that day. The following week I spent at work while John spent eight hours a day sailing all over the bay and brought himself up to speed. During the evenings, after some wine, we practised leaning over to get our medals. On Saturday we repeated the either tack, either boat programme. John was way faster, proving that time on the water, even if alone, is a winner. John won his trials and I won ours the following year. John’s leaning-over practice almost paid off – fourth in 1972 and a medal in 1976. I was much further back. I think my last Finn regatta was a Midwinters in New Orleans. It was the first time I saw someone sailing by the lee crouching to leeward with the boom beyond a right angle. We were on Lake Pontchartrain and the waves were closely spaced and slow-moving, making staying upright on runs a challenge. John Bertrand’s (USA) agility training gave him the skill to do this. He won a Gold Cup and is the only American to win the European championship. The aspect of Finn sailing most important to me is all the wonderful places we went, but mostly the great guys and their ladies who were part of the scene. Today, I am afraid reaching the top has become so expensive from both time and cost perspectives it may have reduced the time to collect memories. Live on, Finn, and may there always be a big pond for the weekend Finn sailors to play and a beach to enjoy each other’s company. I treasure the memories of faces, lies, capsizes, tales told leaning against a Finn bow and great times together. And that is what the Finn is all about.

Ed Bennett 82 | 1972 | LEANING OVER PRACTICE

Photos: François Richard

OLYMPIC GAMES – KIEL | 1972 | 85

Top: David Howlett sailing a Taylor hull with a Deegan sail at Hyères in 1977 Top right: Peter Malm launches his new Raudaschl Finn D 131 in 1974-5 into icy Danish waters. To the right are two older Elvstrøm boats with wooden masts. Wooden spars were still common in Denmark until 1976-7 when the Needlespar aluminium mast took over Far right: Jørgen Lindhardtsen and Kent Carlsson coming ashore at the Nordic Championship at Hvidovre in 1976. The event was won by Carlsson Right: Andrei Balashov at 1977 Finn World Week in Palamos where he placed fourth Opposite page: Jean-Jacques Grandchamp at Hyères in 1975 Photos: François Richard, David Howlett, Richard Berg-Larsen Archive ICY LAUNCH | 1975-1977 | 101



started sailing the Finn in 1971, one year before the Kiel Olympics. We had Olympic selections but I missed them by one point. I was sailing the OK Dinghy at the same time and still do. I sailed both OK Dinghy and Finns but in 1975 concentrated only on the Finn to prepare and qualify for the 1976 Olympic Games in Kingston. It was a nice experience for me; it was fun to see all the athletes in other disciplines. However, I was pretty new and not competitive enough to win any medal. In the next two Olympics I was the reserve for Lasse Hjortnæs. Lasse had won the Laser Worlds in the late 1970s and suddenly he was very fast in the Finn. He had a super speed. We trained a lot together and also with Peter Vilby, Otto Strandvig and Stefan Myralf in Hellerup. Lasse and I trained well together but were very competitive against each other. At this time we were doing lots of physical preparation, going to the gym, working on our fitness and muscles. I particularly loved racing the Finn in the breeze when it required being fit and strong. I still like these demanding and physical conditions. That’s for me one of the biggest attractions of the Finn. During these years we did not have much choice with equipment. I had a Vanguard hull, a Needlespar mast and North sails plus some I made in 1982 and 1985. Thomas Schmid sailed with a Mader hull and the East Germans sailed their own boats. Wolfgang Gerz won the 1981 Finn Gold Cup in an old Lanaverre, but most Finns around were Vanguards. Needlespar was the only mast builder. Sails were made mostly by North but also by Kent Carlsson, from Sweden. In the 1970s there were also many Musto & Hyde sails, which I used at the 1976 Olympics. My best moments in the Finn are all the tough and windy races where I can perform. It gives me great satisfaction. I like it when it is blowing really hard and I still enjoy it. In the early 1980s I was getting great results at international events winning in Hyères, Medemblik and twice in Palma. I finished third in the Gold Cup in 1984 and twice came second in the Europeans in 1981 and 1985. I was also leading the world ranking in 1983. I was training very hard physically; I was still light at 84 kg but we could use weight jackets then, and that helped in the breeze. You have to be very fit and well trained to race in the Finn and it is also very tactical. I believe people choose the Finn because it provides first class racing in a dinghy. It is the best boat for big strong guys.

Jørgen Lindhardtsen Top right: Kimo Worthington (US 1066) leads Wolfgang Gerz (G 1573), Andy Pimental (US 1052) and Wolfgang Mayrhofer (OE 199) at the 1982 European Championship in Masnou, Spain Middle right: (left to right) Jørgen Lindhardtsen, Otto Pohlmann, Lasse Hjortnæs at the Europeans in Masnou Bottom right (and top right opposite page): 1983 Gold Cup in Milwaukee Right: Andy Pimental (US 1052) leads Stefan Myralf (D 148) in Masnou Opposite page

Left: 1983 Gold Cup, Milwaukee. Patrick Spängs (S 685) leads Russell Coutts (KZ 226) Right: Pre-Olympics at Long Beach in 1983. Thomas Schmid (G 1793) leads Larry Lemieux (KC 201), Luc Choley (F 100), Lasse Hjortnæs (D 143) and Larry Kleist (KA 181) Photos: IFA Archive, Jørgen Lindhardtsen Archive, François Richard 116 | 1982 | BEST BOAT FOR BIG GUYS

Above: Racing off Long Beach Top right: Coutts gets a typical Kiwi reception after coming ashore from the final race Far right: Russell Coutts Middle: Russell Coutts waits nervously for results of a clothing weigh-in before celebrating. When his clothing was weighed after the final race, he was over the limit by 240 g, the limit then being 20 kg. On the second test his clothing was 100 g over the limit. Then Olympic manager Ralph Roberts and coach Bret de Thier asked for the test to be repeated and arranged the clothing on the line individually. The result was 19.08 kg and Coutts took the gold medal Right: Medal ceremony - Bertrand (silver), Coutts (gold), Terry Neilson (bronze) Photos: François Richard, Peter Montgomery, PPL OLYMPIC GAMES – LONG BEACH | 1984 | 121



he first time I sailed the Finn was in Palamós in the winter of 1976 in a Roga Finn, ESP 105. I was invited by the Spanish Sailing Federation to sail with Joaquín Blanco and José Luis Doreste. I had always admired the Finn class and it was an honour to sail alongside so many legends, but at the time my height and weight were not suitable for such a large and tough boat. My dream was that some day I might sail in the Olympics. In 1980 I almost went as a Soling crew, as beating Blanco and Doreste was unattainable. Then in 1984 I had my chances but my immaturity and inexperience cost me the opportunity. It was then that I realised that my opportunity had passed and I had to forget that dream. So I decided to work teaching sailing. Since 1979 I had been head coach of the Catalan Sailing Federation. One day in 1986 my friend José Luis Doreste called me and suggested that I help him achieve his Olympic dream. I did not want to leave my job but I wanted to help Josele, so we made a plan to work long hours, he as a doctor and I in my job, and the rest of the time we would focus on sailing. We were a perfect team. I had a blind trust in him because he was an exceptional sailor with great control over his mind. He knew that I could help him be better on the water and together we won the 1987 Finn Gold Cup, the 1988 Europeans and the Seoul Olympics. After Seoul my sporting self-esteem was exceptional, since I had already achieved my dream of winning an Olympic gold medal as the Finn coach. After returning I realised that in those two years I had learned a lot, especially from Josele and his rivals and coaches. I had also seen how to win at the Olympic Games and learned all the details, both the good and the not-so-good. I started again with my Roga ESP 105, which I rescued after it had been abandoned at a club. I restored it and realised that I was now sailing much better than before. At that time in Barcelona there were a lot of very good Finn sailors and I was lucky enough to sail with them and improve. In December 1990 a group of friends helped me make a very difficult decision and that was to resign as Finn class coach of the Spanish Sailing Federation. It was a well-considered decision, made together with my good friend (and later coach for Barcelona and Atlanta), Josep Seguer. Again, I made it as natural as possible, so that daily work and training actually worked for me and was fun. I funded my own preparations, which made me independent of the Spanish Sailing Federation. We organised training sessions on the Costa Brava and Barcelona with Stuart Childerley, very quick in strong winds and very methodical; a young Fredrik Lööf, already heading to be a great champion; and Philippe Presti, also very young. Second in the 1991 Europeans and first at the pre-Olympics made me aware of the possibilities a year ahead. But first you have to win a place in the Olympic team and this was hard, very hard. After qualifying for Barcelona I was mentally very tired and almost out of shape, although full of determination. I treated the situation as a test to see if I was ready both technically and mentally, but the lesions in my shoulders would trouble me a lot in the Olympics. The days before the Olympics I had fantastic speed and I had a very clear idea what I had to do. In my head I was constantly saying, “You don’t have to prove anything if you are an Olympic champion.” In the Olympics I was really focused and when the wind was 8-12 knots I never finished lower than third, and with more wind no worse than eighth. I was starting well and very fast offwind. My other constant was “step by step, point by point, so sail with the head and not the heart.” I knew the course area in Barcelona very well and I knew exactly where to go and where not to go, but sometimes my opponents made me go where I knew I shouldn’t. However, this made me appreciate all the risks. By the penultimate day I could be Olympic champion and on that day I could ignore my head and go where I wanted to. I won the race and the gold medal without having to sail the final race. My dream had come true, almost by chance, and from that day my life has truly begun.

José Maria van der Ploeg 142 | 1992 | GREAT SPEED AND A CLEAR HEAD

Right: Andy Zaweija and Jüri Saraskin celebrate with Gus Miller, after Gus won race two at the 1992 Gold Cup in Cadiz Right bottom: Gus Miller (US 975) on his way to winning race two, leading Craig Monk (KZ 237) and Christoph Bergmann (BL 87) Others this page: Finn Gold Cup. Boats pictured include: Lars Bolle (G 13), Mihaly Demeczky (M 104) Gerd Griegel (G 71), Attilla Szilvassy (M 211), Conrad Simpson (IR 11), Z Maythenyi (M 159), François Le Castrec (F 749), Philippe Presti (F 762), Ernesto Diaz (RC 4) Opposite page: The 1992 European Championship was won by Stuart Childerley (K 503 - far right) and sailed in Gdansk. Sailors pictured include: Hans Spitzauer (OE 218), Karlo Kuret (CRO 110), Imre Taveter (EST 8), Othmar Müller von Blumencron (Z 418), Marek Mesi (EST 4), Igor Tkatchuk (SR 47) Photos: IFA Archive

Opposite page: Richard Stenhouse on Chichester Harbour Bar in 1998 • Left: Nenad Viali at Hyères 1999 • Right: Finn Taylor at Hyères 1999 • Photos: Richard Langdon, François Richard

1998-1999 | 169



y first year in the Finn class was 2005. I was very excited to start sailing the Finn as there have been so many legends that have come from the class and it seemed like the right time to start sailing the ultimate singlehander. But I had no idea how rewarding it could be sailing the Finn. In all my years of sailing I had looked up to these guys who are able to race these boats well. The attraction for me was to finally start racing against big, powerful guys – real men. Most other Olympic classes are underpowered, but I cannot say that about the Finn. It is a boat that rewards strength and power and at the same time finesse and feeling combined with great tactical racing. The technical aspect opened up a whole new game and allowed me to be competitive by choosing a rig to suit my weight. Coming from a background of having to be plus or minus 1 kg it was great to see a difference of 20 kg or more in body weights with little detriment to performance across all wind conditions. The other attractions were bigger fleets, bigger courses, more reaching and racing out at sea where the land influences are minimal. At this time I noticed there was a transition in downwind sailing in the fleet. A few more nimble sailors were able to soak down on the run and still maintain their speed, so reducing the distance sailed. When the wind was not so shifty there were huge gains to be made. Not having the physical attributes to be fast upwind yet, I decided to develop these downwind techniques further, devoting many hours focused on passing boats downwind. In January 2005, when a lot of the British guys were busy with the America’s Cup or earning money, Chris Cook, with his coach Larry Lemieux from Canada became a great help getting me started. It was great to have a fast-track training programme in place to get us ready for the season. I arrived for the Miami OCR and stayed for a couple of months training. Chris had organised an awesome training base in Fort Lauderdale and all I had to do was show up and train with him and the others. These included Zach Railey, who was also new to the class, and Aaron O’Grady with his powerful Hit-D2 combo that made me suffer a great deal if I ever chose to start beneath him on a rabbit run. It didn’t matter how hard I hiked or for how long, he always rolled me. I needed to put on mass quickly if I was to have any chance of being competitive so in true Finn style I found the cheapest protein in town, just around the corner in the Boston Market. So it was chicken and veg every night after the gym - low quality food, but lots of it. I managed some good finishes in Hyères and Medemblik, but unfortunately Cook put his shoulder out at the end of the training and did not compete. I could only imagine what he was thinking as the scores came in after beating us all winter. Fortunately he returned to medal at the end of the year at the Gold Cup on a lake in Moscow. It was an interesting choice of venue and, apart from the dodgy stomachs that we couldn’t avoid, it was a well run and fun event. The racing in 2005 was significant as it made me realise what it takes to win in the Finn. So that winter I returned to Florida and trained incredibly hard with more direction and the next season I was rewarded by winning the European Championship and a bronze at the Gold Cup. Cook was there again, training with me, and he mentioned this attitude and training regime his predecessors had used – three sports per day. I loved it and adopted it with a passion. There was no time to waste – sailing, golf, gym, cycling, football – anything that was competitive and would push the body and mind to its limits. This cross training left us crashed out every night and then we did it all again the next day. The Finn community is like no other. Maybe it’s because you have to help each other load boats but the guys are real, genuine, positive people who really want to help if you’re in a squeeze. It’s still a pleasure to be a part of this class.

Ed Wright 194 | 2005 | FLORIDA TRAINING

This page: Holland Regatta. Ismael Bruno (FRA 972), Pieter Jan Postma (NED 842), Riccardo Cordovani (ITA 101), Rafal Szukiel (POL 7), Wietze Zetzema (NED 64) Above: Chris Brittle (GBR 541) Left: Aleksiy Borysov (UKR 1) Opposite page: The 2005 Finn Gold Cup was sailed on Pestovskoe Lake in Moscow, where Ben Ainslie won his fourth title Photos: Holland Regatta, Leonid Dubeykowski

Philippe Kahn and Craig Monk enjoy the conditions off Diamond Head in Hawaii • Photos: Philippe Kahn Archive

HAWAII | 2005 | 197



hat a year! Not only was it my best year result-wise, but what really stands out for me was the road leading to the success of myself and my friends. My story in the Finn is a story of great friendship, hard work and a lot of fun, both on and off the water. Unifying all my years in the Finn is a story of great teamwork in an individual sport. When I started sailing Finns, a group of guys, including myself, all with ambitions of going to the Olympics, decided to make a training collaboration with two common goals and one rule: our goals were to get as good as possible fast and have as much fun doing it as possible. The only rule was that we shared all technology, insight, coaches, etc. We did this to minimise costs and maximize our potential. The year 2006 was the culmination of this team that had grown from four to six people. They were Ed Wright, Chris Cook, Zach Railey, Aaron O’Grady, Wietze Zetzema and myself. In October 2006 we were ranked 1, 2, 3, 13, 15 and 18 in the world. All these sailors had a maximum of five years experience in the boat. It was also the first year the medal race was introduced. The first-ever medal race sailed in the Finn was conducted at Miami OCR in a super-strong north-westerly, probably 25-30 knots. The race was tight and the only thing that sprang to mind after the race was that I needed to get in better shape. Rafa Trujillo won that regatta after a close fight with Chris Cook in second place and myself in third. The season went on with different winners at all major regattas – a true testament to the strength of the class which made the racing fierce and closer than ever. I went on to win Palma, Ed Wright won Hyeres, Emilios Papathanasiou won the Holland Regatta and Dan Slater won Kiel. These regattas brought me up to my very best achievement in sailing. The Gold Cup was held in Split, in Croatia. In the end it came down to a very difficult race. The crazy Bora was blowing, but the racecourse was so close to land that there was anything from 8-30 knots. I had a five point lead over Rafa, who was second going into the last race, but both Emilios (eight points back) and Ed (ten points back) were in the running to be top honcho. I stayed close to Rafa, but both Ed and Emilios decided to hit the right hard together with a group of about 10 other boats, while the majority of the fleet moved up the middle left of the race course. Two-thirds of the way up the first beat I had good control over the majority of the fleet including Rafa but had no idea where Emilios and Ed were. They were so far right that I could hardly see them. Suddenly a big change in direction and force hit the race course and in the window of my sail, as I was leading the middle left back towards the windward mark, I could see 10 to 15 boats powersurfing on a reach towards the windward mark, way ahead of anyone else. Of course, that was Ed and Emilios in first and second. Pushing as hard as I could, I managed to move from 15th to eighth during that race, which ultimately won me the Gold Cup. Other things I learned the hard way that year were that you should never race Ed Wright at a spinning class, never get in an argument with Wietze Zetzema and never, ever bet money with Chris Cook. I hope that the spirit of friendship that has defined our class will never be overshadowed by egoism to win.

Jonas Høgh-Christensen

198 | 2006 | THE ROAD TO SUCCESS


Mark Andrews (GBR 88), Chris Cook (CAN 41), Aaron O’Grady (IRL 10), Marin Misura (CRO 25), Peer Moberg (NOR 1) • Photos: Robert Deaves


Chris Cook (CAN), Ben Ainslie (GBR), Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE), Zach Railey (USA), Dan Slater (NZL), Rafael Trujillo (ESP), Rafal Szukiel (POL)




glance through the pages of this book illustrates not only the changing nature of the Finn over the past 60 years but also the changing nature of photography. Inexpensive colour film and latterly the digital age brought with them a profusion of images to choose from, while photographs from 60 years ago were much harder to come by and generally existed only as small prints or poor copies. However, the call for images to illustrate this book was answered by hundreds of people across the world, as well as by the generosity and helpfulness of many of the world’s greatest yachting photographers, so thank-you to everyone who sent photographs or supplied leads to follow up. Countless sailors have dug into their archives to bring you this unique collection, and hopefully the final selection does adequate justice to the history of this great class. For every photo included in this book, there were ten others that wouldn’t fit in, and probably ten more sitting in an archive that couldn’t be acquired, either through lack of information or reasons of cost. This book was initially inspired by the desire to share some of the huge collection of photographs sitting in the IFA archives, which consists of thousands of images from all periods of the past 60 years. Thanks to the dedication of previous FINNFARE editors, these images have been carefully preserved and a good number have been selected for this book. The early days of the Finn, and especially the work of Rickard Sarby, are particularly close to the hearts of Finn sailors, and grateful thanks are due to his nephew Bert Sarby for researching and contributing an insightful collection of photos that make up the early chapters of this work. Notable thanks are also due to François Richard for exhaustive research through his archive covering some 40 years; to Peter Bentley for permission to use his work extensively throughout the book; to Ralph Roberts for providing most of the New Zealand photos; to Peter Montgomery for his photos and help with the chapters for 1980 and 1984; to Paul Elvstrøm for permission to reproduce many of his photos; to Peter Danby for many unpublished photos from the 1950s and 1960s; to Vernon Stratton for access to his immense archive; and to Vasiliy Kravchenko for organising most of the photos and interviews with Russian sailors. An attempt has been made to label each photo as fully as possible using the information available at the time of publication, but there are many unknown images, so hopefully you will recognise yourself in some of them. Although the book’s content was made as broad as possible, ultimately, it could only include material that was supplied. At the risk of missing someone out, grateful thanks are also offered to the following for supplying materials, help and encouragement during the mammoth process of collecting and finding suitable photos and stories: Alexander Chuchelov, Alistair Deaves, André Nelis, Andrei Balashov, Andrzej Zaweija, Antal Gábor, Anthony Nossiter, Apolinary Pastuszko, August Miller, Balazs Hajdu, Barry Pickthall, Ben Ainslie, Bernd Mahr, Bob Ross, Bonnie Unsworth, Brownie Lewis, Cam Lewis, Christophe Launay, Claudia Casiello, Corinne McKenzie, David Henshall, David Howlett, David O’Brien, Derek Mess, Dick Pratt, Didier Poissant, Ed Bennett, Ed Wright, Esko Rechardt, Fiona Rogers, Fons van Gent, Frank Newton, Frans Hin, Gerardo Seeliger, Gilbert Lamboley, Gordon Currey, Hans Fogh, Hans Lehmann, Hans Spitzauer, Henry Ericsson, Henry Sprague, Hubert Raudaschl, Iain Percy, Ian Ainslie, Imre Taveter, Jacques Rogge, Jan van der Horst, Jeff Allen, Jeff Crow, Joaquín Blanco, Jochen Schümann, John Bertrand, John Cutler, John Driscoll, John Shallvey, Jonas HøghChristensen, Jonathan Rogers, Jørgen Lindhardtsen, José Luis Doreste, José Maria van der Ploeg, Josje Hofland, Karenza Morton, Kathy Weishampel, Lars Stenfeldt Hansen, Leonid


Dubeykowski, Louie Nady, Luca Devoti, Magnus Olin, Manfred Schreiber, Marco Buglielli, Mark Hooper, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Michael Kastner, Michael Kurtz, Michele Marchesini, Mikael Brandt, Nigel Milligan, Oleg Khoperski, Pat Pocock, Paul Henderson, Peter Barton, Peter Harken, Peter Holmberg, Philippe Kahn, Piotr Masur, Piotr Pajor, Riccardo and Ugo Grande, Richard Berg-Larsen, Richard Langdon, Ross Lillistone, Russell Coutts, Søren Krause, Sten Waldo, Steve Arkley, Stig Westergaard, Stuart Childerley, Suzanne van der Horst, Sven Almqvist, Tim Jeffrey, Torsten Jarnstam, Tosca Zambra, Uwe Neumann, Valentin Mankin, Vasiliy Kravchenko, Walter Mai, Walter Riosa, Wendy Vertz, Willy Kuhweide, Wolfgang Gerz, Xavier Rohart and Zach Railey, as well as the many hundreds of others who provided leads to track down people and photos from right across the world. This book has been a class-wide effort. Sailors from the past and present have contributed to this book in more ways than can be mentioned here. Thank-you to everyone. Finally, a big thanks to the sponsors: Devoti Sailing, HiTech Sailing, HIT Masts, Pantaenius, Pata Boats and WB-Sails.

The Finn was designed in 1949 by Rickard Sarby of Sweden and was first used at the Olympic Games in 1952. Throughout the past 60 years this popular class has made a unique contribution to the sport of sailing and has produced countless heroes and legends out of its sailors. This photographic reflection is accompanied by stories and memories from many of the sailors who have passed through the class over the past six decades. It is a celebration of the Finn, a modern classic and a great ambassador for Olympic sailing at its best.

ISBN 978-0-9559001-1-2

9 780955 900112

Profile for Robert Deaves

Photo FINNish - sample pages  

60 Years of Finn sailing

Photo FINNish - sample pages  

60 Years of Finn sailing

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