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Finn World Masters gets a Finntastic Danish welcome in Skovshoved

by Robert Deaves 10 Jun 06:00 BST 9-14 June 2019
Jonas Høgh-Christensen and Anders Myralf receive the Finn Masters Flag from Andy Dension as the Finn World Masters in Skovshoved open © Robert Deaves

"These waters are the home of legends and what better way to celebrate it than by hosting the biggest regatta for legends - the Finn World Masters." With these words, Olympic medalist and former world champion, Jonas Høgh-Christensen welcomed around 250 Finn sailors to the 2019 Finn World Masters in Skovshoved, Denmark, hosted by the Royal Danish Yacht Club.

The event has taken over almost the entire harbour with Finns, trailers, camper vans and tents covering virtually all the available space. Lines of Finns start at one end of the harbour and snake along the quaysides to the other end. There are Finns everywhere you look, and Finn sailors making preparations, talking, renewing friendships, telling stories. It is a melting pot of Finn culture.

The 2019 Finn World Masters was opened tonight in Skovshoved, Denmark, with Høgh-Christensen the guest of honour, along with many former and current Finn sailors from Denmark and overseas.

Anders Myralf, CEO of the Royal Danish Yacht Club opened proceedings. "It is a privilege, on behalf of the Royal Danish Yacht Club to welcome you all here. It has been tough road but now we are here."

"In Denmark we have a long tradition with Finn sailing. As well as Paul Elvstrøm, there is Lasse Hjortnaes here, Stig Westergaard, and of course Jonas."

"We hope you will have a fantastic week."

Høgh-Christensen said to the assembled sailors, "These waters represent the birthplace of almost all great Finn sailors to come out of Denmark. On these waters Paul Elvstrøm did all of his training and most of his racing; his house was just 2 kilometers from here facing the water and he still sailed his Finn 20 years ago when I got into the Finn."

"Lasse Hjortnæs started his winning streak by training and racing here and so did Stig Westergaard. I am not sure what it is that has done it, if it is something in the water or just the weather changing all the time. Or maybe it is just the camaraderie and willingness to push each other to become the best one can be."

"What is more important is that this is a gathering of friends competing at a high level, but with a high respect for each other and for the event itself. I will always be a Finn Sailor, it is in my DNA as it is in yours and I am truly grateful to be a part of this great class."

"I, as most of you, have friends from all over the world because of my time in the Finn and I have the outmost respect for the people I have raced against.

"It is important to cherish these friendships and the respect shown to each other as these are the foundation and strength of the class. Remember to extend these values towards all the volunteers and helpers as they are here to help you and guide you, so you can have the best event possible."

"I am truly honored that the Royal Danish Yacht club has been given the opportunity to host this event. I hope you will have a great week with some fantastic sailing. I wish I was old enough to have competed against you all. I hope I get the chance in the future."

Sunday started with a competitor's briefing, while the wind howled outside. After a short delay for the wind to abate, the practice race was finally held in a gradually diminishing breeze, but allowed the sailors to get familiar with the huge start line and course area. All boats are racing on one course areas so there are Finns as far as you can see.

The brief Danish summer lasted three days at the end of last week, before unsettled and cooler weather has moved in. It hasn't tempered the enthusiasm of the sailors though with great camaraderie and tall tales being told everything. There will no doubt be a lot more by the end of the week.

To close the opening ceremony and declare the event officially open, World Masters President, Andy Denison presented the Finn Masters flag to Anders Myralf.

He welcomed sailors from around the world, "The bar is now open, serving some of the finest beer in the world...probably. The 2019 Finn World Masters is now officially open."

Racing commences on Monday with two races scheduled from 12.00.

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