Epic 30 knot Finn footage from Cádiz may break the internet, but not the sailors

In the tradition of strong wind Finn racing that transcends and inspires generation after generation of young sailors, the on-board videos that have been published from the medal race at the 2018 Finn European Championships in Cádiz have held viewers mesmerised and awestruck.

The medal race line up was impressive by any standards. Among the sailors were four world champions, three European champions, two Olympic medallists and an America’s Cup winner. It was exalted company to be in and the conditions provided a supreme test of supreme sailors and athletes.

It was a not only a spectacular show, but a spectacular race with the gold medal changing hands, close boat on boat racing, impressive boat handling skills, and the emotion of defeat and victory

The Finn class fitted each Finn with a stern mounted rack and a GoPro action camera and the results are about as spectacular as any dinghy footage you have ever seen with a social media global reach of already more than a quarter of a million.

The wind speed that day was averaging 24 knots with gusts to 31 knots. Combined with huge 3-4 metre waves, there was no escape. You got it right or you got it wrong. The videos show this inescapably.


Ed Wright, a former Finn World and European champion, who has been at the top of the class since before many of the young sailors in Cádiz even started sailing, has worked harder than anyone in recent years and remains one of the fittest sailors in the world. His third major Finn title is a fantastic reward for all that effort. This video was seen more than 70,000 times in the first few days after posting.

It was sailing at its rawest – tough, exciting, thrilling and challenging – in the best traditions of Elvstrøm, Kuhweide, Mankin, Bertrand, Coutts, Percy and Ainslie. It was everything that young sailors aspire to, and most of all it represents an achievable and relevant goal.

If sailing needs heroes and legends to remain relevant, then here were ten of them – ready made. The Finn is a breeding ground for heroes and legends. If sailing needs better presentation, then it needs heroes and it needs thrilling conditions. The 2018 Finn Europeans in Cádiz provided both in ample measures.


Nicholas Heiner, the relative newcomer, in only his second full season was dominant in the early races during the week, but the Finn is also the great leveller and he found cracks in his repertoire during the medal race that perhaps he didn’t even know were there and which for sure he will be working on in the coming weeks and months, to come back stronger.

If sailing needs more youth participation, then it needs relevant equipment and venues that inspire young sailors.

Of the 90+ sailors at the championship, over one third were under 23 years old. The young sailors of today clearly find the Finn still relevant and attractive. And they are getting better and better and will be the heroes and legends of the future. The Finn educates and matures a sailor’s skills in many ways, and that is why so many top sailors across the world’s major sailing events such as the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race did their time in the Finn. 


Max Salminen, the current world champion and the 2012 Olympic Star class gold medallist is proving to be one of the fastest and most consistent Finn sailors in the world at this time. He needed a result to secure the bronze and despite the extreme conditions he is seen full on racing rather than just surviving. The downwind overtake from 55 seconds in is truly impressive and he even had time to throw in a red flag at the end of the run. From deep at the top mark, he crossed in second place to secure the bronze – a world-class performance.

There is something completely captivating about watching an elite sailor at the top of their game, fighting against the worst the elements can throw at them. These ten Finn sailors are some of the very best sailors in the world, across any class and any genre. They are big, strong and super-fit and undeniably relished the opportunity to challenge themselves and their equipment in such conditions. In doing so they have attracted the respect and admiration of much of the sailing world.


In his first major Finn event since the Rio 2016 Olympics, and since winning the America's Cup, Josh Junior narrowly missed the bronze medal after winning the medal race in these extreme conditions.


Held in what for many would be survival conditions, most of these athletes were still racing full on, looking for any advantage they could. It was no time to be shy and hold back. The only way to dominate the conditions was to dominate the boat.


Ride the rollercoaster downwind in Cádiz with Caleb Paine. Paine placed third in the race to end the week in fifth overall in his first major championship back in the class since taking the bronze medal in Rio. Ride with Caleb from the top mark to the bottom, and hang on...it's going to get rough.

Video highlights have produced for all 10 Finn heroes in the medal race and they can all be found, together with all the other videos from last week, on the Finn class TV channel here: finnclass.org/finn-tv


Winner of the medal race - Josh Junior

Results here 2018.finneuropeans.org