Please select your home edition
McConaghy Boats 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Celebrating 50 years of the Finn Masters with 'NOT the 50th Finn World Masters'

by Robert Deaves 1 Jun 2020 20:55 BST
2008 Finn World Masters in Medemblik © Robert Deaves

This week should have been the 2020 Finn World Masters in Port Zelanda, in The Netherlands. Entries were approaching 250 when the decision was made to cancel back in March, with more than 300 Finns expected to turn up.

Across the sport of sailing many major events have been postponed or cancelled, but for the Finn Masters the cancellation of this year's event was especially poignant as it was the 50th Anniversary Finn World Masters.

Fifty years ago, a group of aging Finn sailors gathered on the Silvaplana See, close to St. Moritz in Switzerland, to sail the first ever Veteran Gold Cup, as it was then called. Over the past half a century that inaugural event, attracting just 18 entries, has evolved into the colossus that is today known as the Finn World Masters.

Today, Monday 1 June, around 300 Finn Masters should have been sailing the first races of the 2020 Finn World Masters at Port Zelande in The Netherlands. Sadly, they are not, but during this week, the spirit of the Finn Masters is being kept alive with online activities and events. To follow these activities, head over to the Finn Masters website at NOT the 50th Finn World Masters or the Masters Facebook page.

The 2020 Finn World Masters should have been a great party, celebrating 50 years of the Finn Masters, half a century of Finn sailors not being able to give up Finn sailing, but that will now have to wait until next year when the 2021 Finn World Masters is scheduled to take place in Medemblik.

However until then it might be interesting to look at some data from the events over the past 50 years.

The Best sailors

It would be interesting to look at the best sailors at the Finn World Masters over the 50 years. The top is surprisingly close. In total 69 sailors have taken a top three place overall, with Michael Maier, from the Czech Republic, picking up six wins as the best sailor by one point from André Budzien, from Germany, who only won three, but was second seven times. In third place is Larry Lemieux from Canada, who took five victories.

The full table of all 69 sailors can be found here


The first suggestion for a special Finn Veteran Gold Cup for sailors over 40 years of age was presented by Dr. Fred and Heidi Auer at the 1969 IFA AGM in Bermuda. The first Veteran Gold Cup was held on the Silvaplana See and even the Finn's designer, Rickard Sarby, sailed in that first regatta.

For the first 12 years, the fleet was around 30-50 boats, kept alive by a group of enthusiasts and generally sailed in central Europe or Port Camargue in France. Then in 1984 it went to Lago di Caldero in Italy and suddenly there were more than 100 entries, needing the fleet to be sailed in groups for the first time.

In those days it was the custom for the winner to decide the venue for the following year, but by then some of the professionals from the senior fleet were starting to show their face and walk away with the title.

Age categories were introduced with Masters, Grand Masters and Grand Grand Masters. Later Legends were also added and more recently Super Legends (over 80 years old) were also included. During this time, the rule to limit racing in winds of under 20 knots was introduced.

By 1990, things were getting more organised and the Masters started to organise their own AGM each year and changed the name to the Finn World Masters. It has twice been sailed in conjunction with the Finn Gold Cup, in 1996 in La Rochelle and 2000 in Weymouth.

The numbers kept growing, hovered around 130 for a few years and then went past 200 and now on two occasions it has passed 350. Before the current world crisis it was fully expected to break through 400 boats in the next few years. We might now have to wait a little longer for that milestone.

NOT the 50th Finn World Masters

All this week the Masters are keeping the spirit of the event alive. Everything will be posted on the Finn World Masters website and the Finn Masters Facebook page.

There will be several key announcements and events during the week. The 'NOT the Opening Ceremony' was held Sunday evening, while the drinks party and Annual Masters Meeting will follow on Wednesday.

Join us in helping to celebrate 50 Years of the Finn World Masters.

Related Articles

Muller takes 6th at 2021 Finn Gold Cup
A career-best at the highest level of Finn competition Team USA Tokyo 2020 Finn Class Representative Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) placed 6th out of 59 boats at the 2021 Finn Gold Cup, the class's World Championship event. Posted today at 3:04 am
Finn Gold Cup Overall: Maloney sweeps to victory
Spain's Cardona takes silver while fellow NZ sailor Junior collects bronze in Porto It took more than 60 years for a New Zealand sailor to win the Finn Gold Cup, and now two have come along in a row. Andy Maloney has led the 2021 Finn Gold Cup since Day 1 and on Wednesday, though he briefly lost the lead Posted today at 2:53 am
Finn Cup Cup: Two kiwis on podium in Porto
Andy Maloney became NZ's second winner of the Finn Gold Cup in Porto, Portugal The Finn Gold Cup had proved elusive to New Zealand sailors for so long but today Andy Maloney became the second Kiwi in 18 months to get his hands on the prestigious trophy. Posted on 12 May
Scott vows to rally for Tokyo after Finn Gold Cup
Wetherell bows out on a high Giles Scott says he will "regroup" for the upcoming Olympic Games after a "disappointing" ninth-place finish at the Finn world championships. Posted on 12 May
Maloney and Junior near the front at Finn Gold Cup
Andy Maloney and Josh Junior make the top of the table at the Finn Gold Cup a Kiwi-dominated affair. It's one of the most prized trophies in Olympic class sailing and both Andy Maloney and Josh Junior are well placed to get their hands on it heading into the final day of the Finn Gold Cup tonight (NZ time). Posted on 12 May
Finn Gold Cup Day 4: Maloney & Junior run the show
New Zealand's Andy Maloney has extended his lead in Porto New Zealand's Andy Maloney has extended his lead at the 2021 Finn Gold Cup in Porto, Portugal, to take a five-point lead into the final day on Wednesday, with three races possible. Posted on 11 May
Finn Gold Cup Day 3: No racing possible
Second lost day following very unstable conditions at the Finn Gold Cup in Porto Whilst different storms rage elsewhere in the sailing world, for the second day running, no racing was possible at the 2021 Finn Gold Cup after offshore Atlantic storms brought very unstable conditions to Porto. Posted on 10 May
Finn Gold Cup Day 2: Nature wins the day
World's best young sailors speak out Racing was cancelled on the second day of the 2021 Finn Gold Cup in Porto, Portugal, with huge waves battering the harbour entrance in the afternoon and a complete lack of wind in the morning, following overnight storms. Posted on 9 May
Finn Gold Cup Day 1: Maloney leads in Porto
New Zealand's Andy Maloney has grabbed the early lead after three races New Zealand's Andy Maloney has grabbed the early lead at the Finn Gold Cup in Porto, Portugal, after three races on Saturday, the first day of racing. Posted on 8 May
Finn Gold Cup: Two Kiwis in top five after Day 1
Two of the Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup winning crew lie in the top five overall Two of the Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup winning crew lie in the top five overall, in the Finn Gold Cup, after the first day of sailing in Porto, Portugal. Posted on 8 May