The British Finn Association - Finn Sailing in the UK

Ben Cornish secures first British Finn Nationals title

Ben Cornish has won his first British Finn National title after the championship concluded in strong winds and big waves at Hayling Island Sailing Club. Andrew Mills took second while Hector Simpson took third. Race wins went to Simpson and Cornish.6362f7c6-005d-43fb-8908-5f97e6890dd1

Even if the Finn fleet didn't any more character, the final day of the 2015 British Open Championships was character building stuff, with winds of 25 knots sweeping through a knarly Hayling Bay, encouraging half the fleet to stay on shore and watch the fun unfold. While the racing area itself was relatively benign, getting there and back provided the greatest excitement of the day with huge breaking waves across Chichester bar keeping everyone on their toes.

Two races were started after a one hour postponement onshore to wait for a reduction in the wind strength, with start of race 6 resulting in the first general recall of the weekend. After the restart, Andrew Mills led into the windward mark from Hector Simpson and Ben Cornish. The difference between three squad sailors (and ex-squad) and the rest of the fleet was dramatically apparent with the distance gained, with the three sailing well clear of the fleet. Mills still led at the second windward mark, but Simpson passed him downwind to be the only sailor all weekend apart from Cornish to win a race.

With the championship already won. Cornish took the final race from Mills and Simpson to end a fantastic weekend's sailing. Only 24 boats completed the final gruelling race, with a memorable sail downwind back to the beach around Chichester Bar, which had put on a great show for the visiting Finn sailors.

Ben Cornish adds his name to the Sunday Times Gold Cup for the British Championship, alongside some of the greatest names in British sailing history. As a result of the generous sponsorship from GAC Pindar, Zhik, North Sails and Suntouched Sailboats, every other competitor also received a prize and an acknowledgment for a battle well fought.

The event has been covered on Facebook and Twitter.

More galleries on each day including some masthead photos on the Facebook page

Final results after seven races

1 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 6
2 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 13
3 GBR 96 Hector Simpson 14
4 FRA 99 Marc Allain des Beauvais 38
5 GBR 28 Jack Arnell 43
6 GBR 720 Julian Smith 44
7 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 53
8 GBR 679 Neil Robinson 54
9 GBR 9 Tim Tavinor 61
10 GBR 683 Adrian Brunton 66

Final results:


Perfect score for Cornish at UK Nationals

Ben Cornish continues his perfect scoreline at the British Finn National Championships with three more race wins after a near perfect day's sailing at Hayling Island Sailing Club with clearing skies and moderate to strong westerlies providing tasty and testing racing for the 60 strong fleet.4fc57016-5288-422c-9cb9-05e314b9e23c

It is turning into a three horse race with Cornish now unbeaten after five races, but Andrew Mills and Hector Simpson a close second and third, having filled the top three places in all five races so far.

It was a day of two halves on Hayling Bay. The wind had turned 180 degrees overnight and the fleet launched with an overcast sky and a stiff westerly. But after arriving in the start area the wind began to significantly ease, with race 3 starting in just 7-9 knots. Ben Cornish led round the top mark from Marc Allain des Beauvais from France and Simon Percival. Andrew Mills had moved into third by the leeward gate, and then into second on the next upwind. Hector Simpson then took third place on the final downwind. By the final upwind the sky had cleared and wind had increased above 10 knots to allow Oscar to be raised for free pumping on the final downwind.

After that the day just got better with clear blue skies and an increasing wind, which topped out at 16-18 knots with fantastic waves. While the upwinds were hard work, the downwinds were pure, simple fun, with large rolling waves giving the 60 Finn sailors a proper taste of Hayling Bay.

Cornish then led race 4 from start to finish, again from Allain des Beauvais and Simpson at the top mark. Allain des Beauvais held onto second place until the final downwind when he was passed by Simpson and Mills. Into the final race of the day and the increasing wind was shifting around and caused a delay as the race team worked to reset the line. When it finally started Mills initially led from Cornish and Simpson, but Cornish took the lead on the first downwind to lead into the finish. Mills took second with Simpson third. A shout out also to Tim Tavinor for an excellent race and a fourth place finish. The reach home around Chichester Bar was the highlight of the day with huge rolling waves and fantastic surfing back to the beach.7e7104a4-0ba0-4fb0-adab-b9c42e3b04b4

Andrew Mills

10ef8a86-8195-4fff-ac6e-5a8da77c8508Jack Arnell

e3b47b03-06d8-4c3b-be64-7c27c792216fBen Cornish

f71ae5c6-5b67-4b6b-8a96-9bc8dd848b82Hector Simpson

After racing the British Finn Association held its Annual General Meeting. The assembled sailors heard of the strong health of the class in the UK, with increasing numbers, the introduction of several initiatives to encourage further growth as well as the establishment of a youth development fund to support the growing number of juniors in the class.

The British Championship is sponsored by GAC Pindar, Zhik, North Sails and Suntouched Sailboats. Racing concludes on Sunday with two more races scheduled, with the forecast showing the strongest wind of the event.

Follow the event on Facebook and Twitter

Results after five races

1 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 4
2 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 9
3 GBR 96 Hector Simpson 10
4 FRA 99 Marc Allain des Beauvais 22
5 GBR 28 Jack Arnell 27
6 GBR 679 Neil Robinson 28
7 GBR 720 Julian Smith 33
8 GBR 635 Simon Percival 36
9 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 36
10 GBR 9 Tim Tavinor 45

Photos by Richard Beasley

Report by Robert Deaves


Two bullets for Ben Cornish on first day of UK Finn Nationals

Ben Cornish has got off to a great start at the British Open Finn National Championship at Hayling Island Sailing Club with two race wins in light to moderate winds. Andrew Mills is second and Hector Simpson is third.

The championship has attracted 61 entries from five nations in the biggest UK Finn event in many years. It highlights the growth in the class in recent years and the hard work by the UK committee in promoting the class throughout the UK.

On the beach before racing the day looked set to be a cliché ridden day of glamour and champagne, with brilliant sunshine making Hayling Bay look very inviting. It was everything the fleet had hoped for except the promised 12-14 knots gradually reduced to 8-10 knots with a difficult chop to steer through. The racing, as usual though, remained tight and hard fought.

In race 1 Ben Cornish rounded the top mark just behind one of the overseas visitors, Marc Allain des Beauvais from France, who was the sole OCS of the day. Hector Simpson, fresh from the Silver Cup in Valencia, where he narrowly missed out on a top 10 place, briefly took the lead at the second upwind mark, but Cornish regained the lead downwind for the win. Oscar flag for free pumping remained up for the race. Simpson took second while Andrew Mills, making a return after retiring from competitive Finn sailing last year, crossed in third.373da9d0-efa9-41b0-b87b-0fddcc2ffc1e-1

Cornish then led at every mark in race 2. He led round the first mark from Philippe Lobert from France and Mills. Mills had moved up to second by the gate and held it to the finish with Simpson coming through to third.

Simpson also leads the Junior fleet from Jack Arnell in fourth overall.fd072845-9a81-49fd-aaa1-d9d85579a94d-2

The British Nationals is leg one of the inaugural Trans-Manche Jean-Jacques Godet Trophy 2015, a combined event with the French Finn Nationals which starts in Quiberon on Monday. A number of British sailors, along with the French sailors here will travel to Quiberon after racing on Sunday.

After racing today most iof the the sailors gathered for a sponsored evening with a Jean-Jacques Godet Cognac tasting session, which a selection of four cognacs explained and then sampled. It all ended well.

The British Championship is spopnsored by GAC Pindar, Zhik, North Sails and Suntouched Sailboats. Racing continues to Sunday with the forecast showing an increasing wind over the next two days.

Results after two races

1 GBR 91 Ben Cornish 2
2 GBR 85 Andrew Mills 5
3 GBR 96 Hector Simpson 5
4 GBR 28 Jack Arnell 11
5 GBR 720 Julian Smith 13
6 GBR 2 Allen Burrell 17
7 GBR 679 Neil Robinson 17
8 GBR 635 Simon Percival 18
9 GBR 567 Martin Hughes 21
10 NED 88 Chiel Barends 23

Full results:

Photos: Richard Beasley

Report by Robert Deaves


Silver Cup - BFA Juniors reflect

Hector Simpson (GBR96) reports on his first Silver Cup.
After moving up into the Finn 9 months ago, this was my first solely Junior event. It was a different experience to the Junior Europeans a couple of months ago when racing was combined with the seniors. This time the fleet was slightly smaller, but by no means low quality with a high number of juniors being full-time and putting in top results at the the senior events. This years silver cup was the first independent Junior worlds to be run on the sea and with Valencia being chosen to host the event, secured the biggest( I think) and probably most competitive entry ever. Valencia is the home of the dinghy academy where most of the foreign sailors spend their time training and as such secured entries from multiple continents.
Before the event, the class ran a rule 42(pumping) clinic for a couple of days where sailors got the chance to get one on one coaching from international jurors so that everyone can understand this subjective rule better. Unfortunately as the details this clinic was released so late, I was unable to rearrange my travel arrangements to get there early enough to take part. Nonetheless there was a summary produced, which I believe the class will be posting online soon. However, the clinic didn’t seem to stop yellow flags being given out left, right and centre as everyone was striving for that extra inch. Perhaps this was due to relative abundance of jurors compared to the size of the fleet. Whilst I, nor the rest of the fleet appreciated the extra attention, it did give us all a chance to have our techniques scrutinised more. The class managed to secure a top quality race officer who was PRO for the Lasers at the London Games, who always ensured fair racing. Food and refreshments were given out every evening after sailing, which provided a nice setting in which to discuss the days racing. c6c76809-1cd9-4a57-b67e-2ed40f4cf5a2-5
After multiple breakages and personally feeling that I had sailed badly, I finished 11th overall. I was quite disappointed with this given that I had finished 5th at the Junior Europeans and 32nd in the open championship. Thankfully I still have 2 more years competing as a junior where I hope to win the gold medal. However despite my performance not being as good as I’d hoped, it is impossible not to enjoy such high quality racing in lovely Mediterranean conditions. I would highly encourage any other juniors whatever ability to come, as they are sure to have a good time.
Hector Simpson
Cameron Tweedle (GBR 98) shares his experiences of the Silver Cup:
Finn Silver Cup 2015
To be honest, the idea of going to the Silver Cup in Valencia only came about after the Finn Class write-up of the Hayling Island Ranker event last October, and thanks to the support of my sponsor Maylarch Environmental, we could just about afford to do it.
My parents decided that the best. We opted to camp in the VW, with a single night in the car park of the Real Club Nautico de Valencia before finding a lovely campsite 4km south of the City, coincidentally at the beach exactly where the race area was. 
First impressions at the Base de Regatta were that all the other competitors seemed so much older than me and that the majority were full time sailors. At this point my parents went into "expectation management mode" as we realised that in all likelihood I'd be plum last, but I was determined to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to learn as much as could from my first International Regatta.
The first learning point I'd make to anyone thinking of doing this kind of event is prior preparation, regarding measurement. Both Dad and I were really nervous about the process but in hindsight there's no big secrets, and other than the technical weighing and spinning, pretty well everything is explained sufficiently in the Class Rules to allow you to make sure all is well with the boat in advance of the event.
On the morning of the first race day I was seriously apprehensive but filled with excitement for what was to come. Dad helped me launch and with only 30 boats in the fleet it was a fairly relaxed process. It certainly helped being part of a GB Team and the bonding and support that Hector, Jack and I had, made things far more mentally manageable than they could have been.
Race 1 saw me finish the first lap in 13th before dropping to 26th by the finish. I was so disappointed by this, especially as I felt I'd sailed better in this than Race 2, where I scored 22nd! The big lesson from Day 1 for me was to not hold on too tight to the inevitable disappointments; thankfully I switched on quickly to this and Dad and I developed a system where he'd help me debrief myself whilst we put the boat to bed, before leaving the sailing compound and going to the pool to meet up with Mum and my girlfriend Becca to relax and unwind.
Most of the races were sailed in the 11-14kt wind range, and it was obvious from early on that I was having to work really hard to keep the boat going at 10/10ths. I certainly felt the lack of physical training I'd done in the last few months whilst doing my GCSEs, and it was only in the last 2 days of the event that I felt I did myself justice with my results, despite being happy with the way I sailed throughout. As the wind became just a tiny bit lighter, I posted a confidence boosting 11th place, and followed this the next day with a 7th!
As we went in to the final race I knew that I'd made up 14 points of a 15 point gap to Oisin McClelland who was in 23rd place overall, so had to beat him in the last race to take the place....At the end of the first lap I was in 3rd and Oisin in 6th, but it was "big decision time" for me as he headed to the right hand side of the beat, whereas I thought the left was favoured. I opted to go with him and this paid off all the way round to the final mark with me just ahead until another competitor came in fast claiming an overlap (dubious in my mind, but aren't they all?) - the resulting manoeuvres allowed Oisin to slip past and end up taking 18th and 22nd Overall, and me the 19th, 2 points behind in 24th.
It was a bit of a shame to finish the Regatta like that, but it's all part of the learning process. I've now raced against some of the very best in the world and indeed some that will be at the Olympics next year, and know that I've shown flashes of potential, being up at the pointed end of the fleet at times. Valencia, both as a sailing venue and a City is magnificent, and provided ample opportunity for the Tweedle family "support crew" to enjoy their time there also; Dad even managed to go sailing a D-Zero with coach Luca Devoti for a few hours!
So what next? Well we're going straight in to the UK Nationals, followed immediately by the French Nats, so I guess this is giving me a quick snapshot of what life would be like as a pro-sailor... and I'm loving it! If I can continue to gain experience and put those lessons into practice then perhaps I can replicate my better results more consistently. There's certainly no rush as I've got another 6 years of being eligible for this event, and the physical side of my racing will come naturally in time, hopefully avoiding the injuries that can come with over-training at my age.
Aside from the racing, I loved the team spirit that we developed in the GB camp, and the respect and camaraderie shown between all the contenders. 
Would I recommend the Silver Cup event to other young Finn sailors? Absolutely, but take it for what it is - one of the toughest competitions in world sailing, but an opportunity to learn so, so much.
With thanks to sponsors Maylarch Environmental, without whom I'd never have had this experience.
Cameron Tweedle

2015 Calendar update

The RYA has changed the dates of the Autumn Ranker Series - see the updated Calendar here:



The BFA congratulates our new World Champion!

I am sure all members of the BFA would like to congratulate Giles and Ed on two more outstanding performances at the Finn Gold Cup in Santander, Spain.

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The British Finn Association has had a remarkable record at the Gold Cup in recent years, providing the winner in 9 out of the last 13 Championships and have been on the podium 11 times in the same period.

Giles Scott sailed a hugely impressive series to claim his second Gold Cup title and the consistent Ed Wright made the podium for the fifth year in a row. Whilst Giles only had to complete the medal race safely to secure his win, Ed grabbed the bronze in a close tussle with Jonathan Lobert (FRA) on the last beat by choosing the right side, moving up from ninth to third in better pressure than the French Olympic bronze medallist.

Well-done guys and the battle for the Rio 2016 selection now look even closer!

See the photo gallery from Robert Deaves in the Santander final day report, or if you missed the excellent BBC1 Sailing World Championships Highlights programme yesterday (Saturday27th), catch it now on iPlayer. A great insight with indepth comment from Shirley Roberston, Iain Percy and Paul Goodison.


The BFA Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson memorial fundraiser.

I am sure all BFA members will be aware of the Bart’s Bash! race that was run in aid of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation on the 21st September. This global sailing race and fundraising event has been designed to join together thousands of sailors worldwide in a race to set a new Guinness World Record, raise money for the Foundation, inspire the next generation and to remember Bart - a great Finn sailor, friend and inspiration to many BFA members.

The BFA Committee has been considering how we can best support the event and rather than try to create a national Finn race that might conflict with existing local races, it was decided to support the Foundation directly by raising funds from the sale of an exclusive Bart Simpson memorial shirt and cap, featuring Bart’s personal Finn sail number GBR 6.

Many thanks to those of you that have already bought shirts and caps. Your orders have raised over £500 for the Foundation which has now been passed to the ASSF, with a futher donation to come from the second order.

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Order forms are available at the bottom of this article *We are now putting together a second order so still time to buy your shirts and caps for this worthy cause. They will continue to be available whilst there is demand.

As with Bart’s great mate Ben Ainslie who has now made his Finn sail number an integral part of his America’s Cup brand, we thought it best to honour Bart’s memory and mark his time as one of Britain’s top Finn sailors by withdrawing the personal sail number from further use by members in the same way GBR 3 is now permanently reserved for Ben. The only time the BFA would release the GBR 6 number in the future would be if either of Bart’s sons; Freddie or Hamish ever takes up the Finn. The Committee would like to thank Dave Walker for kindly agreeing to give up the use of PN 6 for this worthy cause.

Read more: The BFA Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson memorial fundraiser.


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