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Happy New Year from the Finn Class

by Robert Deaves 1 Jan 15:21 GMT
Happy New Year from the Finn Class © Robert Deaves

Dear Finn sailors, Dear friends,

The International Finn Association wishes you a Happy New Year, with the very real hope that everything will return to normal sometime in 2021.

2020 has been a challenging year for the Finn class in many ways, and while looking back with pride at the few international events that the class managed to hold, a lot more racing was cancelled, leaving a big hole in the calendar. However it was very encouraging to see the enthusiasm and commitment of many of the national associations, determined to run a huge number of events when they were allowed by local regulations. The Finn class is very fortunate to have more than 2,000 active sailors in more than 50 countries across the world, providing an incredibly strong, diverse, and resilient community of like-minded and passionate sailors.

There is much to look forward to in 2021. The European Championship in Hyères, France, in April, will set the scene for an intensive period of racing leading up to the Olympic Games. From Hyères, the fleet travels to Porto, in Portugal, for the Finn Gold Cup, and the final Olympic qualification event ahead of Tokyo, where there is one place for Europe and one for Africa up for grabs.

At the end of May the Finn World Masters returns to highly popular location of Medemblik, in The Netherlands, where there are already nearly 150 entries. In June the Finn Silver Cup returns to Tihany in Hungary, while the European Masters also heads there in September.

However the highlight for the year will be the Tokyo Olympics. Many of those already qualified have been training hard through the various lockdowns, with a large number based in Lanzarote over the winter. Of course, quite a few are also in Auckland as part of various America's Cup teams, managing the delicate balance between Finn training and AC competition.

2020 was envisaged to be a year of evolution and development for the Finn Class, with many new initiatives planned, but the onset of the pandemic meant most of it had to be put on the shelf for a year. However, one thing is for sure, over the coming 12 months, the Finn class will survive and thrive, as it always does.

Throughout its long history one of the perpetual narratives of the Finn class has been that of survival, both as an Olympic class as well as the struggle every Finn sailor knows on the water. When the legs are tired and arms are aching, and it's still a one-mile beat in 25 knots to the finish, a true Finn sailor is able to muster a new energy, a new strategy, a new resolve, and everything remains achievable, however brutal the conditions. It's part of the enduring attraction of the Finn, man against the elements, mastering a powerful boat while overcoming the odds and looking for that perfect wind shift into the finish line.

Nothing in that struggle has changed. The Finn remains timeless.

Thank you for your support through 2020, stay safe, go Finn sailing if you can, and Happy New Year.

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