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11 July 2006, 02:44 pm
50th Gold Cup Opens In Style
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Finn Gold Cup 2006
Split, Croatia

The 50th ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup was declared officially open on Monday night by Zeljko KLARIC on behalf of the Croatian Prime Minister. The opening Ceremony put an end to three days of intensive measurement and final preparation for sailors and organizers gathered in Split.
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International Finn Association (IFA) Chief Measurer, Juri SARASKIN was satisfied with the high level of preparation provided by the Labud Yacht club for the very demanding Finn measurement procedure. The boats and masts are weighted, their centre of gravity checked, the sails are measured and every item recorded and stamped.

'The logistic and manpower provided for the measurement is one of the best I have dealt with for a long time,' declared SARASKIN. 'It is even better that what we had for the Olympics!' Helped by new Finn measurer trainee John DRISCOLL, and a team from the club members, the 97 boats were measured in less than three days.

PERCY Makes A Point

The practice race was the usual affair with half of the fleet taking the start for a lap of practice before heading for the club or for further training. Iain PERCY (GBR) who is making a 'guest star' appearance in his first ISAF Graded Finn regatta since winning the gold medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, has sent a message to the Gold Cup contestants by sailing in the front of the fleet: 'I am back!'

Nine races are scheduled for the championship with two for the starting day, Tuesday 11 July. With light winds predicted in the early part of the day, racing will not start before 1300 local time.

The 2006 IFA Annual General Assembly took place on Sunday in the spectacular Archaeological Museum assembling over 70 participants and 27 voting countries (Finn class decisions are democratically taken on a yearly basis by the countries members of IFA). The Executive Committee members were re-elected with the inclusion of top Swedish sailor, Daniel BIRGMARK in the role of Vice-President Sailing. He is replacing Ali Enver ADAKAN (TUR), who, after committing to the Finn class during many years, has decided to reduce his sailing activities.

Among the decisions taken, the Council voted to adopt the new Olympic Format for the European and Finn Gold Cup, but will include providing racing on the last day for sailors not qualified in the top ten for the Medal Race.

Future Venues

For their last Olympic qualifying event which has to be outside of Europe, the Finn representatives have decided to return to Black Rock Yacht Club, Australia, for the 2008 Finn Gold Cup and chose the newly built Etrusca Marina in Puntone di Scarlino, Italy for the 2008 European Championship.

Representatives from the Moscow Sailing School and Moscow City Sport Management presented the 2007 Junior Finn Championship. To respond to the increasing number of Juniors and with the limitation of entries imposed by ISAF for the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal, the IFA executive committee has proposed to create a separate Junior World Championship every four years (in the year of the ISAF Worlds).

With 100 complete boats available for racing in Moscow, Russia, it was logical to enjoy this opportunity to organize the inaugural Junior event there. Based on the same system as the ISAF Youth Worlds, participants will only have to organize their trip. Accommodation and food will be provided on the premises for all participants for a good rate while the equipment and coach boats will be provided at no cost. 'It is a great development opportunity for the class and sailing generally, the Finn class will organise a clinic to increase the level of junior sailors,' explained IFA President Balazs HAJDU.

Web Based Finn Clinic

Other step towards development includes the 'Web based Finn clinic' elaborated by Gus MILLER and Jane WALKER. All sailing topics will be covered in this tutorial interactive web based tool, where still and motion pictures will be available along with comments and interviews of top athletes and coaches in different languages.

The Finn class welcomed the project and will participate with US$6,000 on an overall estimated budget of US$30,000. This great development tool will be available free of charge to any sailor at the end of 2006 and is predicted to be used not only by Finn sailors but also by other dinghy sailors and coaches.

In order to generate sufficient income to cover the Finn development items, administration, measurement expertise and regatta organisation, IFA has voted in favour of increasing the equipment building fees for boats, masts and sails.

The high demand from sailors to see the football final forced the AGM to be adjourned after the St. Francis Yacht Club bid presentation for the 2009 Finn Gold Cup which received high interest from sailors and will be voted for in 2007 along with other bids. The remaining items in the agenda will be discussed on Tuesday evening.

For all the latest news from the Finn Gold Cup CLICK HERE.

Corinne MCKENZIE (As Amended By ISAF). Image, IFA President Balazs HAJDU at the 50th Gold Cup:© Finn Gold Cup
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