02 Feb 2016
February 2, 2016

From the regatta 2015

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In olden times, Hindus were expected to go through four stages of life—the life of a student, the life of a house-holder, the life of a retired ascetic and the life of a renunciate monk. These stages were prescribed by the scriptures to gradually lead Hindus away from the pursuit of enjoyment to its renunciation in favour of the spiritual world.

In modern times, it has been dictated that Finn sailors go through the stages of life as a student, masters, grandmasters, great grandmasters before finally attaining the ultimate enjoyment and renunciation of piety: the legend.

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50 odd old bullets from 10 countries descended upon the picturesque peninsula of Lake Balaton for the 4th Euro Finn masters regatta to celebrate the renunciation of growing old. The event was held, as usual,  at the excellent facilities of THE (Tihany hajos egylet. ) Early autumn is the best time for racing on Balaton. The water and air temperatures are still warm and the wind starts to rouse from its summer torpor.  The race committee ran  9 excellent races with a few free pumping legs conveniently interspersed with mostly light/medium conditions to allow time for the effects of voltarin to kick in.

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Racing was close and competitive. The top 4 overall had all competed in the Olympics during their “student” phase of life. On Balaton,  there is seldom a very obvious way to go, making it very easy to get a high score. It is common for there to be different influences on each side of the course.  it was better to commit to a side of the course and go for either the shift on the left or the better pressure on the right. Being too conservative up the middle, seldom works.

There was a range of equipment used but, as usual the finn’s longevity allows for many older hulls to do well. Pata, the Hungarian Finn builder/ innovator/ tinkerer/fleet benefactor was responsible for the majority of the hulls and masts in the fleet. There was a range of sails used. The speedy Russian guys used WB sails, as did Tonyo (3rd overall). These are powerful but are able to open the upper leech which is helpful to keep the boat accelerating  when the legs get tired. Also impressive were the Doyle stratis sails. They seemed quick and easy to keep moving fast, which is useful when you have to keep your eyes out of the boat. Taurus was the fastest upwind in the lighter stuff and he used a polyester North sail.

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Despite my dismay (and the wife’s chortling) at having a newly earned GM status, “old” is always 10 years older than your current age. So, when I get old, I aim to have the fitness and shape of of a Jiri Outrata (ggm winner) or Freidich Muller (legend winner). i will achieve this by following  their example of intemperance and continuing to sail a Finn. Probably with an idiotic grin of pleasure on my face.

Ian Ainslie

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