By Dave Hemenway


The Classic Finn fleet at Thames Yacht Club rigs up on the club’s white sand beach.

Do you like to casually race, but are tired of scrubbing your boat’s bottom or finding crew? Do you like to fiddle with boats, but don’t want yard bills or worrying about boats stored at a marina? Well, if the answer is yes, you might want to consider a classic Finn sailboat.

Finns are 14’ 8” long, weigh about 300 pounds, and are easily stored and transported on a light trailer. They were developed in Europe to race in the Olympics, where they were sailed for sixty years – the longest of any Olympic class. While Finns can be a handful in strong winds, they are great to sail in light and moderate winds. They have all the sail controls that you would expect in a racing boat (mast positioning, downhaul, outhaul, luff tension, Cunningham and boom vang), but you only need to adjust the sails as much as you desire. One of the great aspects of these older boats is that they were built very well to strict one-design requirements that required a strong hull, and many have survived over the years.

Scott Berger sailing his Finn

No Cents, my 1962 Dutch-built Finn, was abandoned for over twenty years, but only needed cosmetic work when I found her on the Connecticut shore. I have found, repaired and rehomed six Finns in the last couple years. Four of these are kept at Thames Yacht Club (TYC) in New London, Connecticut and two more are in the area. We have a loaner Finn at TYC if you would like to try one out.

The Classic Finn Organization is a partner with the USA Finn Association, which is primarily concerned with racing modern Finns. We work together to advance repairing and sailing these great, easily handled sailboats. Used Finns are advertised on the Classic Finn Organization website,, and on the USA Finn Association website at If you know of any older Finns in new of enthusiastic new owners, please contact Dave Hemenway at We will find a good home for them!

Thames Yacht Club has informal races for Force 5s and Finns on Thursday evenings, with four or five short races each evening. There is a separate start for each class. The Spring Series is from May 30 through July 11, and the Summer Series is July 18, 2024 through August 29. You do NOT have to be a member of Thames Yacht Club to enter these events and you can join us for just a race or two or register for the whole series.  These races start at 6:00 pm. The fee for either the Spring or Summer series is $25 or $40 for both series.

For more information: contact me at 860-428-9275 or For Thames Yacht Club registration, log onto There are several great Finn weekend regattas in the Eastern USA this summer. These include:



Wickford Regatta
Wickford, RI, June 8 & 9

The Wickford Regatta is open to several classes of small boats and is conducted off Cold Spring Beach, which is at the end of Beach Street in Wickford. The sailing area will be on the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The venue is open on Friday, June 7 for setup and practice. Racing will be on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9. Skip Whyte is the Principal Race Officer. If you’re reading this, you’re too late for the $90 Wicked Deal registration fee, but Late Registration runs through June 6 ($130, then it’s $145 for the Procrastinator’s Registration. The race website is at

MC/Finn Horserace Regatta
Saratoga Lake Sailing Club, July 6 & 7

Saratoga Lake Sailing Club is a beautiful facility on Saratoga Lake that is a good racing venue and a very social club. Camping is allowed on Club property. Tony Massa, a well-known MC scow sailor, manages this event and does a wonderful job. Tony will make sure you feel welcome at this friendly club and the sailing venue is excellent. For more information, visit

Thames River Finn Championship
Thames Yacht Club, July 12 – 14

A group of TYC sailors started this event in 2022 and have decided to continue it since we had a great time and now have an established classic Finn fleet. All of the Finns in the TYC Finn fleet are over forty years old and have been restored by their owners. This regatta will have a number of races on the Thames River with a mix of short and longer races. While the racing is competitive, the fun is even greater as this is an informal and relaxed regatta. This event is open to all Finn sailors, whether you would like to race or recreationally day sail and enjoy the social aspects of the regatta. For more information, check the Thames Yacht Club website at or contact Dave Hemenway at

55th Annual Finn Toilet Bowl Regatta
Cazenovia, NY, August 3 & 4

This great Finn regatta is hosted by Willow Bank Yacht Club, which is on Cazenovia Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This club has a fleet of Finns that have been active for many years. Bill Smith is the Finn Fleet Captain. I believe camping is allowed on Club property.  This event is known for both great sailing and as a social event. To learn more, visit

Dave Hemenway lives in Eastern Connecticut and sails out of Thames Yacht Club in New London. He’s been sailing and messing about in boats for his whole life and has recreationally sailed Finns on and off since the 1970s. His primary cruising boat is a Dickerson 36 yawl that he has maintained and improved for 35 years. Since his retirement from higher education, he has worked at Cappy’s Boat Shop where he reports to his dog, Cappy.

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