| What of the form? |
The defending champion is Vladimir Krutskikh, who was also the winner in 2015. He won in 2017 after a drama filled medal race in Barbados to overcome Rafa Trujillo, who is unable to sail the Masters this year because of his coaching commitments for the Australian Finn team. Krutskikh is also the defending Masters category champion, and will be up against last year’s medal race finalists, Christoph Burger and Piet Eckert, as well as one of the finalists in 2015, Thierry Van Vierssen.
The defending champion in the Grand Masters is Laurent Hay and he will have a tough challenge against 141 other Finns. His main adversaries will be the record six time Finn World Masters champion Michael Maier and the three time Finn World Masters champion Andre Budzien. Also in this category are the 1996 Olympian Paul McKenzie, the 1988 Finn World Champion Thomas Schmid, and regular medal race finalist, Allen Burrell.
However perhaps the greatest interest will be in the Grand Grand Masters category where two former Finn Gold Cup winners have entered this year for the first time. Joaquin Blanco Roca won the Europeans and the Finn Gold Cup in 1977 and went on to finish fourth at the 1984 Olympics. Jose Luis Doreste won the Europeans in 1987 and the Finn Gold Cup and Olympic Gold in 1988. These two jumped back into the Finn last year and have been training hard for this championship. Also in contention could be the 2012 Grand Masters champion, and last year’s runner-up Rob Coutts. Last year’s winner, Marc Allain des Beauvais has yet to commit.
The extraordinary Henry Sprague will be fighting for his third Legend title. World champion back in 1974, he is often outspoken and often out the front of the fleet. He will have a lot of competition this year, especially if there are light winds. Finn sailors may get old, but they do not get slow. Three-time Legend champion Howard Sellars is back, as well as two-time champion Richard Hart and the 2013 champion Friedrich Müller. Of the rest, well it often comes down to who finds that extra something to hike the extra mile.
The Legends normally get the biggest cheer at the prizegiving, but they are also an inspiration for every other Finn sailor. Who doesn’t want to be fit enough to keep sailing Finns into their seventies?..Or their eighties?
And then there are the Super Legends, those for whom time means nothing. For the last two years the event only had one. This year there are five octogenarians mixing it on the race-course with Finn sailors half their age. Both previous winners are back, Pedro Jimenez-Meifren and Gerd Bohnsack, but the biggest challenge is likely to come from the oldest sailor in the fleet, Gus Miller, in a rare appearance at the Masters.
While the age categories provide some interest, everyone races in one fleet to provide an incredible festival of Finn sailing. This year the fleet will be split into four groups racing on two course areas, with random assignments each day.
The 2018 Finn World Masters begins on Friday 18 May with registration and measurement. A series of seven races is scheduled from Monday 21 May to Thursday 24 May with the final race and a medal race, on Friday 25 May.
All news and links to the entry list, documents and results can be found here.