The Classic Finn Organization
This is a website about classic Finn sailboats that were built more than thirty years ago- more or less. It is about wood and fiberglass hulls with older spars that are fitted with dacron sails. We enjoy working on, and sailing, our good old boats that are fun to sail, but are not the latest, fastest racing boats like modern Finns. A major reason behind developing this website is to provide an avenue for like minded individuals to learn from each other. We will also have notices of Classic Finn gatherings and races where all Finns will be welcomed.
We look forward to collaborating with the US Finn Association, of which I am a member. While their emphasis is on racing Finns, the Classic Finn Organization's goal is to facilitate the enjoyment of classic Finns and facilitating events for both classic and modern Finns.
The Story Behind the Classic Finn Organization
One evening toward the end of May I was perusing Craig’s list for interesting boats and found an free old Finn in a nearby town. Finns are a single-handed catboats that were sailed in the Olympics for seventy plus years. While they can be difficult boats to sail because of their tall mast, 22’, large sail area, 114 square feet, and a relatively narrow 14.8’ long hull, they are also a delight to sail in light or medium winds. I have had a number of them over the years and have enjoyed them. They are fun boats to sail because they have many sail adjustments and are sailed single-handed. So, there are no crew challenges.
This Finn was made and bought in Holland in 1962 by the original owner who sailed her in Europe and brought her home to Connecticut about fifty years ago. As the owner aged she was left under a tree and was neglected. When the family sold the property, the old Finn had to be destroyed or rehomed. She was missing her rudder and centerboard while the rig and sail were in poor condition. I couldn’t resist helping the old girl. So off she went to Cappy’s Boat Shop which is the name of my shop behind my house. The picture below shows her as I found her in May 2022.
I built her a new rudder and tiller, reglued the old wooden mast, replaced the cockpit floor, repaired the flaking gel coat, and found her another centerboard. I communicated with some fine people in the USA Finn class and they encouraged me to bring her to a regatta at the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club in upstate New York held at the end of July. I agreed to do so as long as they didn’t mind an old, uncompetitive Finn sailing with their newer, faster boats. Since they wanted to see what an original 1962 Finn looked like with its original equipment, I repaired the basics and kept all the hardware as she was originally equipped in 1962. They were very impressed with this old boat that I named No Cents because I didn’t pay anything for her and it makes no sense for an older guy like me to sail such a sporty boat.
The group was so impressed that the Finn USA regional fleet captain offered me a newer polymer North sail and the Finn USA president offered me an older carbon mast. These were both provided at a very reasonable price- a couple hundred dollars. They also presented me an award for bringing this old Finn back to life. I was very pleased with all they had done for me and had a great time at this regatta even though No Cents and I came in last!
While accepting this award, I mentioned that I would like to get a fleet of classic Finns sailing at Thames Yacht Club next year. They all thought this was a great idea and said they would do what they could to make this happen. A few weeks later, I got a call from a Rhode Island Finn sailor and he asked me to stop by the next time I was in the area. He had a surprise for me! It turns out that the Finn sailors on Cazenovia Lake, where there is a large Finn fleet, wanted me to have an old Finn sailboat that needed some work to begin building the Connecticut fleet. I repaired this Finn and she is now a boat that I loan to anyone who wants to sail a Finn. In honor of her Cazenovia Lake roots, I named her Cazzy.
After we completed our sailing, a group of us sat around the TYC clubhouse discussing our classic Finns and how much we enjoyed talking about them and sailing them. We all decided we should get together again next year and have some more Finn events. The Classic Finn Organization is a product of this discussion and I have developed this website to advance this new organization.