May is going to be a manic month for Finn sailors, with two major
championships in the UK, as well as three other major events including
the final Olympic classes regatta at the Olympic venue in Weymouth.
Around 90 boats are currently gathering in Falmouth, UK for the Open
UK National Championships this coming weekend, to be followed just
five days later by the Finn Gold Cup. Both these events are part of
the JP Morgan Asset Management Finn Festival, which has captured the
imagination of the Falmouth sailing community and will be seen as the
first full test of all the sailors as they prepare for this summer’s
Olympics in Weymouth, a few hours drive to the east.
While the British championship is expected to be a fight between
current world champion Giles Scott and current Olympic champion Ben
Ainslie, Scott has already announced he will not be defending his
world title, preferring instead to focus on the AC45 event in Venice.
This undoubtedly takes a lot of pressure off Ainslie in trying to
secure his sixth world Finn title, as Scott was viewed as his main
threat. However, with the fleet of 95 boats entered so far, it will
not be an easy task and will undoubtedly be a tough week’s racing.
The JP Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup ends on Friday 18 May and
the next day the Finn sailors are getting involved in the Olympic
Torch relay through the town. Then for the really keen sailors, after
just two days off, the Delta Lloyd Regatta starts in Medemblik, the
Netherlands. Though it is the fifth leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup,
it is not expected to attract a big number of boats due to the close
proximity of so many regattas.
Then it’s back to the UK for the Finn World Masters in Pwllheli,
Wales. So far there are 135 entries, which makes it one of the largest
Finn events ever held in the UK. Lots of the favourites will be back
for this as well as some new faces. Pwllheli is one of the most
popular dinghy racing venues in the UK so it promises to be a great
Moving into June, Skandia Sail for Gold in Weymouth starts the same
weekend the Masters concludes. This will be the final major event at
the Olympic venue before the Olympics starts at the end of July and
probably the final showdown between most of the sailors in their
preparations for London 2012.
The Finn Gold Cup is also the final Olympic qualification regatta. At
least six spots on the start line in Weymouth are up for grabs, while
many other countries are also concluding their trials there or at Sail
for Gold. By early June we should have the full Finn line up for the
2012 Olympic Games.
So if you have been counting, that’s five major regattas over the
space of five weeks – 47 Finn races. Manic it may be, but what a lot
of Finn fun.