|In three areas the Finn class is already ahead of the game.
There are very few classes that actively encourage and cater for sailors from 16 to 86 years old, yet the Finn class not only includes categories in its events for all age ranges, but has active sailors in all of them, from the U23 group, right up to the Legends and Super Legends.
The Finn class offers an all-inclusive sport for life.
Longevity of equipment
The Finn class is already renowned for the longevity of most of its equipment. Finn hulls can remain competitive for many decades. Most famously Ben Ainslie’s ‘Rita’ was used to win three Olympic gold medals. Across the fleet, 20-30 year old boats are still raced successfully. After a period of transition and development in the 1990s, the current carbon masts are also very reliable and have a huge competitive lifespan.
This is not only good for the sailor’s pockets but also for the environment, with very few boats ending in landfill. It is often said, “Once a Finn sailor, always a Finn sailor” but it is also true “Once a Finn, always a Finn.” Some do seem to last forever.
The knock-on effect of this is that much of the equipment maintains up to 75 per cent of its value long after purchase, further reducing campaign costs. Additionally, there is an ample supply of good quality used equipment available at good prices.
Sustainable event strategy
The major expense of an Olympic campaign is not always the purchase of equipment, but the travel and logistics of an increasingly complex and expensive annual circuit of events. While the Finn class is already one of the cheapest of all Olympic dinghy classes to campaign, a sustainable event policy can make a huge difference to the annual campaign costs as well as a significant environmental difference. The event strategy and calendar can also be built while bearing in mind the objective of limiting sets of equipment to one.
For the 2018 European season the Finn class had the opportunity to encourage a circuit that would minimise travel by scheduling its championships between existing events, both in terms of calendar and location. The calendar starts with the European Championships in Cádiz in western Spain and ends up in Aarhus, in northern Europe, for the world championships. By planning in his way, the class estimates it has reduced each sailor’s mileage by at least 2-3,000 km. Multiply that by 100 sailors and that is at least 200,000 km, or around 20,000 litres of fuel, saved.
Most of the objectives above can be achieved through increasing the awareness and education of sailors and stakeholders, as well as providing incentives to change the way everyone operates. It is not complicated stuff, most is just common sense, but it does perhaps sometimes need a bit of a nudge to remember and implement simple, but wide ranging change to maintain and improve the environment in which we as sailors derive so much pleasure.