History, tradition and style are an inseparable part of the Finn class, so it was only fitting that the JP Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup 2012 was opened amid the wonderful exhibition of British Olympic heritage in the stunningly modern and stylish National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Registration and measurement is now concluded and the event is the largest Finn Gold Cup for seven years with 98 boats entered. Around 60 boats today took part in the practice race in beautiful conditions, with a northerly 12-14 knots on the race area. In a break with tradition, one boat actually sailed the full course with Mark Harper (GBR), taking the winner's gun. The forecast for the coming week is for a range of conditions which should give the fleet a challenging week of sailing.
At the opening ceremony tonight, Peter Collett, Commordore of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club said, “This is a wonderful moment, not just because the sun is shining but because we have Finn sailors for the most competitive event in world sailing here, so Finn sailors, thank you for coming to Falmouth.”
“Four years ago this event was in our minds. The late Andy Tyler came and sat in my office and said, “What about doing the Finn Gold Cup?” So it's taken four years of planning to get to this point. Unfortunately Andy passed away last year, but this is his legacy, bringing this event to the best sailing waters in the UK.”
Balazs Hajdu (HUN), President of the International Finn Association replied by saying, “It is a great privilege for us to have our Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth and we would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation and preparation. I hope you all have a great and fair week's sailing and may the best man win.”
Following the speeches by Peter Collett, Counsellor Chris Ridgers, the Portfolio Holder for Economy and Regeneration from Cornwall Council, and Balazs Hajdu, Robin Taylor declared the event officially open.
Blog and tracking
There will be a large media presence throughout the week in Falmouth, which will be complemented by a range of online media options so sailing fans can follow each and every race.
There is a live blog for the event which is now up and running and can be found on the home page of the event website at: http://www.falmouthfinnfestival.com/liveevent/C1. This will include five event specific Twitter feeds and well as the Tweets of many of the sailors competing here in addition to all the photo and video links throughout the championship.
Each day a video of the day's highlights will be posted onto the class’s YouTube Channel, TheFinnChannel at: www.youtube.com/thefinnchannel and also onto the class's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/pages/Finn-Class/110408332633.
In addition, from Sunday, every boat will be tracked online using the TracTrac system which is available through a button on the home page of the event website,
On Friday night the class held its AGM. Amongst a range of proposals, the meeting heard about the developments in the class over the past year and the challenges ahead. As usual the class received a wide range of bids for future championships with La Rochelle, France provisionally selected for the Europeans in 2014 and bids from New Zealand, France, Turkey for the 2015 Finn Gold Cup.
Various working parties led by some of the classes top sailors are also putting together long term strategies for fleet development worldwide, developing new formats for racing and holding development clinics in new nations. The used gear pool is gathering strength and will be used to help build fleets in nations where the Finn currently has no presence.
The online certificate database is now up and running and linked through the class website, while the class also discussed moving to more paperless solutions for its administration and certification processes, including membership checking at regattas. The overriding feeling of the meeting was that the class should adopt electronic processes wherever possible.
There are a lot of complementary activities happening in Falmouth as part of the Falmouth Finn Festival apart from the sailing. Events Square outside the National Maritime Museum Cornwall is the centre for most of the activities, but much of the local community is also getting involved.
- Kernocopia, an explosion of Cornish sporting treasures, explored through words, music, dance and performance, at 2pm in Event Square, free for all.
- The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is hosting the Royal Yachting Association’s Olympic and Paralympic exhibition ‘Our Sporting Life – Sail for Gold’ including a new interactive display, on behalf of Ben Ainslie, triple Olympic gold medallist. Entry charges apply.
- The sailing ship 'Matthew'- a replica of John Cabot's ship that discovered Newfoundland 500 years ago - will be berthed alongside the museum for the week.
- A free end of regatta party will be held in the marquee in Events Square following on from the Closing Ceremony through to 11.30pm with live music from local band Area 51, before the Finn Festival grand finale firework display at 10.00pm, co-sponsored by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners.
- Finn sailors will welcome the Olympic Torch in Falmouth on Saturday 19th May on day one of the Relay around the UK. A host of activities are on offer ashore, many of them free of charge, to really embrace the Olympic spirit of friendship through sport including a 15 feet high replica flame at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, a RNAS Culdrose Sea King helicopter flypast, a display of more than 30 Cornish Gig boats around Custom House Quay, ending with the Falmouth Flame Party on Events Square, with free live music at 7pm.
More details can be found on the event website.
Racing at the JP Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup 2012 is scheduled to begin at 11.00 on Sunday with two races scheduled each day through until Thursday 17 May. On Friday 18 May the event will conclude with the medal race for the top 10 and the 11th race for everyone else.