Finn fleet continues to grow on Cazenovia Lake

Willow Bank Yacht Club and Cazenovia Lake will be host to the Central New York Sailing Association Annual Regatta, the weekend of July 9 and 10. The event will bring participants from 30 sailing clubs across the state to partake in races.

In the coming weeks, a series of articles about the various fleets that can be seen competing will be featured.

For many years, Art Diefendorf could be seen racing his Finn on Cazenovia Lake. Unfortunately, at the time he was the only Finn sailor.

He would start with the Lasers and would always give a good race. After several years under Diefendorf's persistence, the Finn fleet at Willow Bank Yacht Club grew to at least 12 boats.

The Finn also grew in popularity around the nation, and today is one of the largest fleets in the United States. Under Diefendorf's watchful eye, Finns continue to be a fun and competitive fleet on Cazenovia Lake.

More than 60 years of Finn sailing

In 2009 the Finn became 60 years old. For over a half-century this thoroughbred single-handed dinghy has had an incalculable influence on the sailing world; being a blend of a popular club boat, Olympic legend and teacher of many top sailors. The dinghy that began life in the mind of a Swedish canoe designer has come of age.

The Finn is one of the survivors of the sailing world. It has survived 13 re-selections as an Olympic class and 60 years of technical development, from the wooden hulls, wooden masts and cotton sails of the 1950s to the GRP hulls, carbon masts and Kevlar sails of the 1990s. It has sustained criticism over the years for being hard to sail and expensive to campaign but it has always pulled through.

In spite of all this, it has strengthened its position as the world's premier dinghy for tactical as well as technical single-handed sailing. It is perhaps no coincidence that the only two helmsmen to wrench the America's cup away from America are both Finn Olympic medal winners: John Bertrand (AUS) who won the Bronze medal 1976 and Russell Coutts (NZL) who won the Gold medal in 1984.

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