Finn youth gather in Anzio to battle for U23 World Championship

The 21st Finn Silver Cup, the U23 Finn World Championship, begins this weekend in Anzio, Italy. There are 28 sailors from 16 countries entered, including nine sailors under 19 years old.

Anzio has a long history in Finn sailing, having hosted the Finn Gold Cup in 1972 and 1984, the Europeans in 1991 and several Italian Championships, as well as the Roma Sail Week that ran for many years. Many of the older sailors, and now coaches, in the class remember sailing in Anzio’s great conditions in the 1980s and 1990s, but it has been many decades since the class held a major event there so it is long overdue.

The host club is the Circolo della Vela di Roma, which was founded in Anzio in 1949, and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. It has a great location overlooking the Bay of Antium.

The line up includes most of the best young Finn sailors in the world, many of whom are still seeking national and personal qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. However that will take a back seat next week as they vie to be the best U23 Finn sailor in the world, though it is still at the front of all their training and thinking.

The top sailor from last year’s Silver Cup is Joan Cardona, from Spain. He narrowly lost to Ondrej Teply, from Czech Republic, in 2018 but Teply is now too old to defend. Since last year’s event in Koper, Slovenia, Cardona has picked up the bronze medal at the World Cup Series event in Genoa, adding to his confidence as he tries to qualify for Tokyo.

The 2017 U23 World Champion, Oskari Muhonen, from Finland, placed fifth last year, so will be looking to do better this year. He medalled at the World Cup event in Miami and is also still chasing an Olympic spot in Tokyo. One sailor who got really close to qualifying for Tokyo was Nils Theuninck, of Switzerland, who failed to secure a place after being disqualified from the final race at the European championship following a protest.

Many other sailors in the line up have had career best seasons so far. Favourites could include Guillaume Boisard, of France, eighth last year and who just won the French Finn Championship, James Skulczuk, of Britain, who just won the British National Championship, Jock Calvert from Australia, who won the medal race in Genoa, Johannes Pettersson, from Sweden, who is improving all the time, or Taavi Valter Taveter, from Estonia, who placed 11th last year. There are also a lot more sailors who will challenge the front

With so many rising stars in the Finn fleet it is sure to be a tough fight and great competition in the waters off Anzio. The event opens on Sunday 14 July, and after the practice race on Monday 15 July, a series of 11 fleet races is scheduled from Tuesday 16 July to Saturday 20 July.