No expiration date in the Finn Class

Published on June 9th, 2024

The 2024 Finn World Masters have proven again that there is life after the Olympics as 284 competitors from 30 nations will vie for the title on June 10-14 in Punta Ala, Italy.

Back in 2011, it was the largest Finn World Masters up to that time at 283 entries. That number was dwarfed several years later, and while there are no records being set this year, it is the largest Finn event post-pandemic, also in fact since 2018, a positive trend given the turmoil in the world and the world Finn sailing over the past six years.

There are Olympic medalists, past world and European champions, several former Masters winners and several hundred wannabes, with the huge fleet racing in four random groups each day. The format includes eight races with the groups decided by bespoke random selection software each and every day, while also ensuring that there can be no ties at end of the week.

World no 1, Laurent Hay, from France, is still looking for his first major title, and though he has come close many times, and won his age category, lifting the Masters Gold Cup is a key goal.

Last year he was denied by Filipe Silva, and the lack of a discard caused by very light winds. Two years ago, he was also second, this time to former Olympian Pieter-Jan Postma’s. Three years ago, fellow French Valerian Lebrun dominated to take the title. Lebrun is back this year and for sure is again a favorite if the breeze materializes.

Also taking part is the 1996 Olympic silver medalist Sebastien Godefroid, 1988 world champion Thomas Schmid, and probably most interestingly, Britain’s multiple world and national champion in many other classes, Nick Craig, who has been gradually getting more Finn time on the water and could be a serious threat if things go his way.

The Finn Masters do favor spectacular venues and this year is no exception. A pine forest alongside a long sandy beach, with the majority of the fleet staying in cabins or mobile homes under the shady trees. It is as hot on land as the competition will be on the water.

There are also age specific categories, with the Grand Masters, Great Grand Masters, Legends and Super Legends. With six Super Legends taking part, all over 80 years old, there is no expiration date in the Finn Class.

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