big pimpin’


Robert Deaves’ new book ‘Photo FINNish – 60 Years of Finn Sailing’ perfectly encapsulates the amazing history and culture of the Finn
class. With a Foreword by Jacques Rogge, there are more than 1,100
colour and black/white photos and more than 60 first hand accounts
from class heroes and legends from the past six decades. The book
takes the reader from the boat’s designer Rickard Sarby launching the
first Finn in Uppsala in Sweden in 1949, full circle through to the
60th anniversary regatta back there in September 2009.

The 224 page book brings together a complete photographic history of
the class, with images from every year since 1949, along with
fascinating and personal stories from contributors such as Paul
Elvstrøm, Paul Henderson, Hans Fogh, Valentin Mankin, John Bertrand,
David Howlett, Peter Harken, Jose Luis Doreste, John Cutler, Jose
Maria van der Ploeg, Henry Sprague, Hubert Raudaschl, Oleg Khoperski,
Stig Westergaard, Jochen Schümann, Cam Lewis, Stuart Childerley,
Xavier Rohart, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Luca Devoti, Iain Percy, Ben
Ainslie, Gilbert Lamboley, Zach Railey and many, many more. Excerts from the book:

Stig Westergaard: It was not until the Gold Cup that year, in
Marstrand, where I ended up seventh, second best Dane, beaten only by
Lasse Hjortnæs who won, that I actually got the feeling that the
pinnacle was not that far away. I wondered about how to beat Lasse,
who was triple world champion. I still did not have any money. Here in
these closed circles I can reveal that I financed that year’s Gold Cup
by filling the car with strong Danish beer, and selling it to the
local Swedes. So with no money to make my case, I instead fell in love
with the ‘Finnster way’.

Oleg Khoperski: In 1984 we went to Cuba just before the Olympic Games
to do some training. Once, a serious storm came through while we were
at sea. Everyone broke masts, ripped their sails, and could barely
come to shore. I had no chance to get safely back to shore except to
go around Varadero. I had to sail 36 km and it took five hours. The
wind was strong, about 20 metres per second, and steep waves some 6
metres high. It was physically hard and dreadful. I could have easily
died at any moment and I had to really concentrate on the waves. At
the end of the peninsula it was very shallow and each wave had a
crest. I had to bear off to a run – this was really terrible. Sailing
at maximum speed, I tried to avoid the waves and it was the only thing
that helped me to survive. By the time I got back, the people on shore
had lost all hope of me surviving. They had even put candles on the
table in memory of me.

Cam Lewis: I sobered up about midnight and went to find out the
results. Sure enough, these two had done me in. The race had been
tossed. Well, I rose to the task, played mental warfare on JB (I’m not
sure if he got involved in the protest) like he played on me. He would
make sure I had to follow him from the beach to start area every day.
I found him reading ‘Inner Game of Tennis’ at 1977 Laser worlds, so I
bought a copy and read it. I had my boat all rigged and covered and
ready by sunrise.

Peter Harken: Enter John Christianson, a world-class measurer and his
jig. John gushed with compliments about the boat, its construction,
finish and workmanship. After completing his task, his expression
became beatific and, looking Peter, Olaf, and Mitch straight in the
eye, he pronounced, “It’s a beautiful boat you’ve got there, truly
magnificent – too bad it’s not a Finn.” The boys were devastated and
didn’t know what to say or do. Fortunately, it was a minor problem and
quickly remedied; but to John, 1 mm out at the bow and it was another
boat. Subsequently, John Bertrand, of Australia, and Bill Allen, of
E-Scow fame, took the first two Vanguard Finns to Southern Yacht Club
for the North American Championships and finished first and second in
the regatta.

Peter Holmberg: I arrived in Pusan a virtual unknown and hoped for a
top ten result. In practice before the Games I had great speed against
the favourites, so I started to feel good about my chances. Then,
while inspecting all my gear a few days before the Games started, I
found a crack in the back of my mast at the deck ring. So I switched
to the one back-up mast I had purchased a few months before, but my
speed was not the same. So the big decision – to go with my damaged
mast and risk failure or go with the back up. I decided to go with the
cracked rig and take my chances. I wanted a medal.

Luca Devoti: He won and I tailed in. The crowd went wild; the big man
was emotional and put his arms around me and told me, “It is your turn
to go and win this time.” I don’t know if it was that moment, if it
was the end of a long path of growth that Finn sailing forced me to go
through, but it really happened; and, like all over my sailing career,
I made friends there that I still have today. The Finn is such a tough
challenge, at times so brutal that you end up respecting your
competitors, and learn about your limits.

Russell Coutts: Robert Deaves has done a terrific job of pulling together some great photos and stories from the Finn class over the past 60 years. It was great fun recently to review the book with PJ Montgomery and former American Finn sailors Scott MacLeod and Cam Lewis. The Finn is such a competitive class and has helped in developing some of the top sailors in our sport including Olympic legend Paul Elvstrom through to most recent Olympic Gold medalist Ben Ainslie. My years in this class were an important chapter in my sailing career and the catalyst for other sailing opportunities. The book does a great job capturing what is so special about the class

This book is a ‘must have’ for anyone who has ever sailed a Finn or
anyone who aspires to sail a Finn, or indeed anyone who ever wondered
what it takes
to be a Finn sailor. In this book you can find out, through the words
of countless Olympic and world champions just what it takes to sail a
Finn at the highest level.

Photo: At the recent World Yacht Racing Forum in Monaco, Kiwi
broadcaster Peter Montgomery presented copies of the book to former
Finn heroes Cam Lewis, Russell Coutts and Scott McCleod.

Order your copy now at www.finnclass.org/finnshop.htm.