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Improving future for North American Finn Class

Published on April 3rd, 2023

It was February 2021 when Peter Frissell, President of the USA Finn Association and Finn Foundation, made the pitch. “What if you could buy a brand-new, competitive, US-built Finn rather than paying a premium to ship a new Finn from overseas? The Finn Foundation is launching a project to make that a reality.”

The recent growth of the class in the USA was notable, but at that moment, it had mostly relied on cleaning up old used boats. Without a domestic supplier, the ceiling would be reached, so the fundraising mission began to purchase the Lemieux Finn molds and finance a reputable US boat builder’s start-up and development costs.

Two years later, the first boat ably competed at the 2023 Finn North American Masters Championship (above). Here’s an update from Rodion Mazin:

We are almost there! It has taken a lot more work and much longer than many people anticipated to get the new R1 Finn built. Many issues had to be addressed, some beyond just building a boat. A few examples include:

• An efficient means of measurement had to be implemented. This requires having people living close to the builder obtaining Official Measurer status from World Sailing.
• An old Lemieux Finn was purchased and is at Beacon Composites to use as a reference.
• The fit between the old deck molds and the new hull mold required time consuming adjustments.

Although the iconic Lemieux Finn still performs very well when in the right hands, advances in design and construction have been made over the past 30 years. We have worked hard to keep the overall concept of the Lemieux, and incorporate a few modernizations.

The new mold was based upon a computer-generated model of the Lemieux design with small tweaks based upon advanced computer analysis. In addition to showing the effects of design modifications, the computer analysis can show how much can be gained or lost with trim.

Moving your weight fore and aft changes the pitch (bow up or bow down). One degree of pitch is equivalent to 1 ½” at the bow. The change in drag from 17 pounds to the minimum of 15.4 pounds will result in a difference of eight feet every minute of sailing.

We have listened to the input from legends such as Larry Lemieux, Gus Miller, Tim Tavinor, along with many others. Our new builder, Alex Venegas at Beacon Composites, has been an integral part of the project since the beginning and has been very patient throughout all the design, process and schedule changes.

Obviously, the project could not have happened without the financial support of many people. I’m not sure what the final bill will be at this time but all contributions are greatly appreciated. At this point the project is almost completely paid for and needs only a few thousand more to cover some additional costs. All contributions are tax deductible to this PayPal account.

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