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19 May 2008, 10:15 am
BUDZIEN Retains Finn Masters Title
The Masters podium
The 2008 Finn Masters podium

Finn World Masters Championship 2008
Medemblik, The Netherlands

Sailing consistently well and unbeatable in the first four races, defending Finn World Masters Champion Andre BUDZIEN of Germany took the 2008 title in Medemblik, The Netherlands.
Andre BUDZIEN (GER) won by a margin of nine points over the seven race series from Mihail KOPANOV (BUL) and by ten points from third-placed Han BERGSMA (NED).

The 229-boat fleet was the largest ever assembled Finn fleet in the 59-year history of the class and underlines the popularity of the boat outside the Olympic circuit. The line up included 11 previous Olympic contenders and countless sailors who had campaigned a Finn at the highest level. The Dutch sailors had prepared well and took nine out of the top 20 places, but they couldn't stop BUDZIEN's domination of the highly competitive Masters fleet.

The final day of racing was split into gold and silver heats and produced conditions similar to previous days. A promising stiff breeze in the morning gave way to a shifty and patchy 5-10 knots during the race. However, it was an exciting race as most of the top 20 already had a high score on the board, so couldn't afford another. As a result of the fitful winds, several sailors who had been top ten all week, suffered in the tricky conditions and dropped a significant number of places.

As usual those who favoured the left hand side dominated the races with the gold fleet race win going to Bas DE WAAL (NED) to place fifth overall, followed by Luuk KUIJPER (NED) which boosted him from tenth to sixth, and third was Mihail KOPANOV (BUL) to maintain his silver medal position. In fact the top five positions remained unchanged after the final race.

The last race prove crucial for Cees SCHEURWATER (NED) who dropped from sixth to 14th, Thierry VAN VIERSON (NED) who dropped from seventh to 12th and Jan Willem KOK (NED) who dropped from eighth to 20th. However after a great final day the only two Americans sailing here both leapfrogged into the top ten. Conrad BROWN (USA) placed fifth to jump to eighth and Phillip RAMMING (USA) placed 12th to jump to ninth.

RAMMING also took the silver in the Grand Masters behind the 1972 Olympic silver medallist Illias HATIPAULIS (GRE) who also finished fourth overall. Luksa CICARELLI (CRO) took the Great Grand Masters title while Walter MAI (GER) was the top Legend sailing here. All ten Finn Legends competing in the event were honoured with a prize.

Next year the Finn World Masters is being held in Maubuisson, France. With more Finn sailors reaching the age of 40 and more ex-Finn sailors coming back to the class, a large fleet is also expected in 2009. The problem facing the event organisers now is finding venues large enough to hold a regatta of this size. It is a problem well worth having.

Finn World Masters Championship - www.finn-masters.nl
Robert Deaves
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