Future venues, the online version of FINNFARE and digital compasses were all high on the agenda at the recent International Finn Association AGM held in Scarlino, Italy.
On Saturday night just before racing got underway at the Finn Europeans, the International Finn Association held its Annual General Meeting, which was very well attended and a number of significant proposals were discussed and agreed. The class President Balazs HAJDU reported on the excellent health of the class with an increasing number of nations taking part, increasing junior numbers and the success of numerous development and marketing initiatives over the past year.
"Finn sailors are true heroes, sailing one of the most tactical and at the same time athletic sailing boats of the present time. There is a huge amount of fraternity, sportsmanship and fun involved in the life of our class. These are values that all contribute to the growing media interest and that is why we have focussed on the sailors' voice because personalities and our own stories are those things that really appeal to the public,"
Dr HAJDU specifically drew attention to the first all colour and the first online FINNFARE (click here to see it
), video footage on the website, the ongoing success of the FIDeS initiative, new production of Finns in Brazil and the ever expanding Masters fleet which has attracted 280 pre-entries to its World Championship, to be held next week in Medemblik.
He summed up by saying, "The Finn class has always managed in the past to successfully combine tradition with state-of-the-art technology. This is one of the key reasons we are still on the Olympic programme. New issues will be dealt with in the same way."
For the future, one of the key decisions was finalising venues for European Championships over the next few years. First, the popular location of Split in Croatia beat three other excellent bids to run the 2010 Europeans and then the 2011 event was assigned to Helsinki in Finland.
Following its unsuccessful bid for the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
(which will be hosted by Perth, Australia), Helsinki put together a new package to attract all the classes of the Olympic events to Finland for an Open European Championships in July 2011. The Finn is one of the first classes to official confirm its inclusion in this major initiative, which is fully backed by the City of Helsinki as part of its "150 years of Organized Sailboat Racing in Helsinki" celebration.
The only major rule change proposed - apart from administrative or editorial amendments - was to allow the introduction of limited function digital compasses from next year. The assembled national representatives also sent a strong signal that they wanted the removal from the required equipment of the bailer and the paddle, a traditional rule harking back to the start of the class in Sweden in 1949 when safety cover was not at the level it is today. Other main decisions included changing the major championship course requirement to remove the final upwind leg and to have an offwind finish.
International Finn Association - www.finnclass.org