It has been eight years since the monumental 2015 Finn World Masters took place in Kavala, Greece, but next week the event makes a very welcome return to the same club, albeit in a new location.
Around 150 Finns from 30 nations are descending on the small town of Nea Iraklitsa, just west of Kavala for what promises to be a fascinating and beautiful week of racing. It is a perfect venue for the Finn Masters with the boat park along the waterfront overlooking the azure ocean, an idyllic sandy beach just a few steps away and a mesmerising range of bars and restaurants to choose from each night. It is nothing short of a Finn Masters paradise. Those who have arrived early have been spellbound by the beauty of the place and have enjoyed some good days of training in warm sea breezes.
The World No. 1, Laurent Hay, from France, is definitely on form, having picked up the silver medal at the European Championship in Csopak, Hungary, just last week after a near flaweless week of sailing. While he has won his age category in the Masters several times, he has yet to win the overall title. This year could be his best chance yet.
However, the competition will be fierce with eight of out the top 10 of the world ranking list taking part as well as many others. These include last year’s third placed, Peter Peet and the World no. 3, Bas de Waal, from the Netherlands, European Masters Champion, Giacomo Giovanelli, from Italy, David Terol from Spain, Karl Purdie from New Zealand, Filipe Silva from Portugal, Christoph Burger from Switzerland and Pedro Lodovici from Brazil. In addition, there are a number of new faces this year including British Masters Champion, Nick Craig.
For many sailors the Finn World Masters remains a bucket list event with a lot of former sailors coming back to relive their youth or just to prove they still have it. One of those this year is Juan Maegli, from Guatemala, who sailed three Olympic Games from 1976 to 1984. Thirty-nine years later he is back and still filled with enthusiasm for the Finn.
Interestingly the joint largest entries are from Australia and Great Britain with 13 boats entered. All eyes will be on the Masters Annual Meeting on Wednesday as the Australians try to convince the fleet to take the event there in 2026, for the first time ever.
The Masters is different from many events with all the age groups racing together is one mass fleet and 150 boats on the start line is going to be a lot of fun. With many sailors taking part in their first major championship post covid, it is also a chance for renewing old friendships, as well as making new ones. The number of Legends here (those over 70) is also the largest for many years with 21 on the entry list, including two Super Legends (those over 80).
Measurement and registration takes place from 26-28 May followed by eight races over five days from 29 May to 2 June.
Nea Iraklitsa is all set. The boats, beach and bars are all ready for the 2023 Finn World Masters to begin.

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