The 65th Finn Gold Cup opens in Porto, Portugal, this week with around 60 sailors from 33 nations taking part.
It is the first time that the whole fleet will race together since the 2019 Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne, Australia, and the event also offers the final opportunities for nations to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, with one European place and one African place on offer.
With the rejection of the Finn/Europe submission for the tenth event at the Paris 2024 Games by World Sailing, it seems that the Tokyo Games really will be the final appearance of the Finn class in the Olympics.
While the Finn class has become collateral damage in the IOC quest for gender equality and TV/Internet rights income.
Poor forward planning and failure to produce a realistic competitive structure for sailing as a world class sport by the governing body has taken sailing on a steady downward path.
The Finn made its first appearance at the Olympic Games back in 1952 in Helsinki, and Tokyo is the 18th time it will be used.
In 1956 the Finn Gold Cup was introduced to bring the best sailors in the world together for a week of racing. It is still doing that and there is little doubt next week’s battle on the ocean off Porto should be epic.
There is no doubt the coming week will be a tough challenge to defend. Defender Josh Junior, from New Zealand will be up against Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary, who successfully defended his European title last month in Vilamoura.
As well as 2016 Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott, from Britain, who was runner-up in Vilamoura. In the arc into Rio 2016 Scott was unbeatable, but during this cycle he has split his time more with the America’s Cup as tactician on the UK boat.
However, as is usual at this point in the Olympic cycle, everyone is on form, with a huge depth of talent and dedication to Olympic sailing permeating the fleet with the ultimate prize within reach for the world’s best sailors.
Registration and measurement run from Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 May, followed by a 10 race series from 8-12 May.