The physiology and physicality of Finn sailing is a major focus of the extended November 2016 edition of FINNFARE, which also features a complete round up from the Olympic regatta in Rio, along with extensive photo galleries.
Reflecting on his Games experience, gold medalist Giles Scott said, “Rio was an intense place to be. Off the water I spent all my time before the regatta desperate to be on it. On the water it was a dogfight and a place to keep a cool head. The racing was predictably tricky, however as a class I think we had a really good week of racing on the whole.”
In the interview he also talks about his future at the Olympics and his thoughts on the future of the Olympics. “I think that Olympic sailing has to be careful not to play around with its identity too much. It’s never going to be like the AC or big ocean races and shouldn’t try to be. It’s Olympic sailing and should hold its core values and image close.” There are also interviews with silver medalist, Vasilij Zbogar and bronze medalist, Caleb Paine.
In the first of three in-depth articles about the physiology and physicality of Finn sailors, regular contributor, Ross Hamilton, discusses the physical determinants of a successful Finn sailor. He writes, "The Finn has always had a reputation as a physical class but physicality can also be argued for the other classes. The question is what sets the Finn apart from the others.”
“Looking very subjectively at the anthropometrics and physical demands of the Finn, the sailors must be of elite level. They cannot be average and will generally sit in the high percentile of most physical measures. They will be taller, heavier, stronger and fitter than the majority of the population, other athletes included. The challenge presented by the Finn deservedly attracts athletes of elite physical standards.”
Mikko Brummer, from WB-Sails, then looks at the physical revolution that free pumping has brought to Finn sailing, focussing on endurance and the acrobatics of the technique, while making am interesting comparison with horsepower. “A Finn sailor is worth a third of a horse.”
He states, “The Finn has always been the most physical of the Olympic classes. In the old days, the physicality used to be associated more with upwind sailing. With free pumping in more than 10 knots of wind, introduced in 2010, downwind has become the most physical part of sailing.”
“Sailing the Finn is probably the purest athletic experience in world class sailing.”
The third feature story relates to an extensive of morphological study of elite Finn sailors carried out at the 2015 European Championship in Split, Croatia, by the Faculty of Kinesiology in Split. This article is limited to the U23 sailors tested in 2015.
Luka Pezelj, who conducted the study writes, “The fact that we can’t predict or control the weather is convoluted enough but when we add unpredictable opponents on a race course, we have absolute chaos. This chaos makes sailing the most unpredictable Olympic sport.”
“But is there something measurable that can clarify the foundations of their speed and is it achievable for all the sailors who are not fast enough? That is something that sport science should find the answer for.”
“I hope that the results of this article and the ones that follow will be valuable enough to thank the athletes, coaches and Finn class board for without them, this kind of research wouldn’t be possible.”
With the conclusion of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, so the younger generation are already looking ahead to the next Olympiad as they await their chance to play on the biggest sporting stage in the world. As well as a report on the U23 World Championship in Aarhus in July, we look at some of the hopefuls for 2020, some of who have already started their campaigns, and beginning to focus on the 2018 Sailing World Championships, the first qualifier, now only 22 months away.
One of those could be Nicholas Heiner, who writes about his first Finn event in glowing terms. “All I can say is what a great experience on my first Finn event. The Finn is a real man’s boat, it will put a smile on your face and you will come back for more.”
There are reports from nine member countries of the Finn community, showcasing the diversity of Finn sailing around the world and its continuing attraction to sailors of all ages, from the growing number of U23 sailors to the elite Olympic athletes, to the Master. Finn sailing really is a sport for life, which is all hinged around, and based on, its Olympic history and tradition.
Bronze medalist Caleb Paine, put it best. “The Olympics was an event I will remember for the rest of my life. Over 200 countries competed at the Olympic Games and the fact sport can bring them all together in the name of sport and compete peacefully on the World stage is something truly magical. I personally have grown from the experience and will encourage young athletes to follow their dreams of going to the Games.”