“The Finn-dinghy is a hooligan boat sailed by gentlemen,” says Jens Kristian Andersen, chairman of Danish Finn Sailing Club. He told us why we should be looking forward to seeing Finn sailing in the world cup in Aarhus this August.
In other words, the relatively heavy single-hand dinghy is physically and mentally demanding to sail but opens up for many exciting tactical dispositions in competition. This is because a Finn loses very little speed in the turns, and it is therefore worthwhile to take advantage of even very small changes in wind direction. Here, the Finn dinghy is an interesting contrast to the more modern and lightning fast foil boats, which have a greater speed loss during directional switching, and therefore only turn when absolutely necessary.
“You have to have a nose for the very small margins, and be ready for many quick turns,” says Jens Kristian Andersen, when he explains how to get to the top mark in a Finn dinghy.
It is also interesting to watch on downwind, because the sailor, with the wind in the back, both pumps the sail and rocks the boat from side to side to increase the pull in the sail, which gives a great increase in speed compared to static downwind sailing.
This is an interesting video about downwind in a Finn:
In hard winds and waves it is extra hard to throw the boat about like this.
The Finn is the oldest type of dinghy that competes in VM2018. Swedish Rickard Sarby designed it in 1949 to attend the Olympic Games in Helsinki three years later, and the classic boat has been part of the Olympics ever since.
“Almost all top sailors have sailed Finn at some point, because it gives you knowledge and experience about trim, materials development and is physically demanding, requiring strong endurance,” says Jens Kristian Andersen.
The dimensions of the dinghy must be within some tight tolerances, however, they are flexible enough that the individual sailor can tailor the boat to your physical capabilities and sailing technic. To ensure fair competition the Finn is subjected to a test measuring the weight distribution. This happens before the race, since it is here that the marginals are found. The masts are constructed from carbon fibre and the individual sailor uses a lot of time and money finding the right hardness of the mast. Masts have dimensional regulation as well, but no demands regarding suppliers. The same goes for the sails, where you are free to choose sail-maker. As long as you respect the legal dimensions you are free to adjust the depth and the material of the sails.
The sailor himself, like in other boat types at this level, must be highly trained and should weigh around 100kg with as low a bodyfat percentage as possible.
The Finn dinghy weighs about 132kg and has 10.6m2 sails.
Source: Danish Finn Association and Wikipedia