Two classic British Finns have recently been rediscovered, one saved from a life as a ‘potential fishing dinghy’!
British Finn K17 Allegretto has recently re-emerged after being kept in a barn for around 40 years! This Finn was originally bought by Chris Heywood with his brother and sailed in the 1956 Olympic trials after which she was little used.
K17 was one of a batch of ten Finns that were commissioned by Tiny Mitchell for the 1956 Olympic Trials. The hulls were built by Fairey Marine and decked and finished by Wootens off Maidenhead.
In the trials Chris surprised many well known dinghy racers by lying in second place after the first day and creditably finishing 5th OA in the event which was won by Richard Creagh-Osborne, but Chris then started sailing a Jollyboat and put Allegretto into storage.
Allegretto is probably unique in not having been modernised or updated since 1952 and so represents a rare insight into the early development of the Finn.
She has no kicker and sports a wire halyard winch. The controls are very basic (mainsheet, traveller and centreboard up haul) and so sailing the boat, particularly in stronger winds must have been extremely difficult.
British Finn Association Secretary Martin Hughes has brought her down to Warsash and is going to try sailing her pretty much as she is, which will be interesting to see!
Then, having had one long lost Finn turn up, in August a familiar shaped boat appeared on eBay being advertised as a ‘potential fishing dinghy’!
A little bit of record checking showed her to be K19, Elfinn, a Fairey Finn that hadn’t been known of since 1970. She is also in remarkable condition, with two wooden masts and what looks like the original sail, and again no modernised controls.
She also now has a new owner who is intending to restore her then sail her in original state of tune.
Many Classic Finns race in the Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association (CVRDA) events.
In those events they are given a handicap appropriate to their age and condition, so Finns with older rigs which are uncompetitive in modern fleets can race on an even basis.
The British Finn Association also make sure older Finns aren’t left out.
They run two classes for older Finns; Classic Finns which sail with traditional rigs and Classics with Carbon, which sail with a modern rig on a pre-1985 boat.
This has been introduced because the older masts, and the Dacron sails to suit them are becoming scarcer, whereas there is a plentiful supply of modern second-hand sails and older carbon masts at reasonable prices.