About the Finn


The Finn is currently the heavyweight single-handed dinghy for the Olympics. Designed in 1949, it is now the longest standing of all the Olympic dinghies, and it continues to remain a popular boat around the world.

The class has produced many of the legends of Olympic (and indeed dinghy) sailing - names like Paul Elvstrom and Ben Ainslie will always be considered among the greatest dinghy sailors of all time, along with guys like Russell Coutts, John Bertrand and Iain Percy. All have proved themselves by winning medals (and in the cases of Elvstrom and Ainslie, multiple gold medals) in the Olympics.

Considered by many to be the most physical and most tactical of all single-handed dinghies, sailing the boat well is certainly a real test. The hull has changed very little since it was first designed, with most innovation coming in the form of new spars (first aluminium, now carbon fibre), and sails.

Videos for Finn Sailing

This video is superb. Some fantastic super slow-motion shots of tacking, gybing, pumping and hiking, all performed by Olympic campaigner Oli Twedell:

And if you're a really serious sailor, there's some tips on fitness from Olympic campaigner Andrew Mills here.

Ben Ainslie also took some time out before London 2012 to explain how downwind pumping works:

If you want to learn from the experts then this video is priceless - on board with the best in the world:

These four videos are absolutely fascinating. They are on-board videos from the same race - the Gold Cup Medal Race in 2013, and they offer the opportunity to compare the tacking, gybing, mark-rounding, and so on, of some of the best sailors in the world.

The winner of the event was Jorge Zarif, although he came ninth in the race featured.

The other three videos are linked below and feature (in finishing order for the event):

Perth 2011 Finn Medal Race from Deniss Karpak on Vimeo.

Don't know how useful this video is for learning technique, but it is one of my favourites because these boats are great to watch in a breeze:

The same goes for this video...but this one, with Finns in 50 knots of breeze, has rather less sailing and rather more capsizing.

Books for Finn Sailing

Specific for Finns

FINNatics: The History and Techniques of Finn Sailing by Robert Deaves

FINNtastic Games: The Finn Class at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition by Robert Deaves

Photo FINNish - 60 Years of Finn Sailing by Robert Deaves

Close to the Wind by Ben Ainslie

General Books Useful for Finn Sailors

Coach Yourself to Win by Jon Emmett

Be Your Own Sailing Coach by Jon Emmett

Be Your Own Tactics Coach by Jon Emmett

Start to Win by Eric Twiname

Sail, Race and Win by Eric Twiname

Helming to Win by Nick Craig

High Performance Sailing by Frank Bethwaite

Higher Performance Sailing by Frank Bethwaite

Fast Handling Techniques by Frank Bethwaite

Go for the Gold by Gary Hoyt

The Psychology of Sailing for Dinghies and Keelboats by Ian Brown

Expert Dinghy Racing by Paul Elvstrom

Advanced Racing Tactics by Stuart H. Walker

Winning in One Designs by Dave Perry

Sailing Fitness and Training by Michael Blackburn

Links for Finn Sailors

Class Information

The International Finn Association

The ISAF Finn microsite

The Classic Finn website

Wikipedia page for the Finn

Boat Set-up, Boat Handling and Other Tips

The Finn Sailing Manual - some great information for all aspects of the class - just click through the 'Finn Sailing Manual' tab at the top of the page.

A really good piece on common injuries and fitness requirements

Blogs and Blog Posts

Earwigoagin on the Finn as a boat for big sailors

The Vital Statistics

Suggested sailor weight range: 80-110kg

  • Hull Material GRP (classic boats wood)
  • Year Designed: 1949
  • Hull Length 4.5 metres
  • Beam 1.5 metres
  • Mainsail Area 10.2 square metres
  • Hull Weight 107 kg
  • Advertising Cat C

Who's Who in Finns

Ben Ainslie

Bjorn Allansson

Filippo Baldassari

John Bertrand

Daniel Birgmark

Brendan Casey

Christopher Cook

Jonas Høgh Christensen

Paul Elvstrom

Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic

Deniss Karpak

Thomas Le Breton

Jonathan Lobert

Andrew Mills

Ioannis Mitakis

Tapio Nirkko

Iain Percy

Pieter Jan Postma

Zach Railey

Giles Scott

Dan Slater

Rafael Trujillo

Tomas Vika

Gasper Vincec

Edward Wright

Vasilij Zbogar

Oli Twedell

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